Today I updated my podcasts page to better reflect the state of my podcasting reality. Somehow I’ve wound up being a podcaster again with two wildly diverse shows, Don’t Nihongo It Alone and and Dismazed.

After the early demise of Haberdashery, I fully intended to make an enjoyable interview podcast with Speaking of That, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t get past episode one (which is really interesting, by the way, thanks to Norm Cohen). I kind of lazed into being a former podcaster, and that was fine. Talking just for the sake of talking is always a bad idea. But eventually a couple project ideas kept bumping up against my retirement resolve, and I’m once again actively talking into a box for other people to listen to.

One thing I wanted to do for fun and my own motivation is to talk about my process of re-learning (and expanding my knowledge of) Japanese. When I lived in Japan, I never really learned kanji, so I’m finally remedying that. In addition, I’m refreshing and upgrading my vocabulary knowledge. Since I learned to speak it as a kid, I really can’t converse appropriately with adults (especially in a business context) without sounding rude. It’s a different kind of thing, as manner of speech varies greatly depending on social context. And then, finally, I am also just dragging words and ways of thinking out of the deep recesses of my brain. It’s amazing how much is still in there – always learn another language as a kid, and go live in the country whose language you’re learning if you can, it’ll embed itself more deeply into the neural paths.

Out of that comes Don’t Nihongo It Alone. It’s a podcast about the process of learning Japanese. It’s not meant to teach Japanese, it’s meant to provide resources and encouragement to people who are in the process of learning the language. My co-host is Jeff Ruberg, and it would not be the same without him – he brings so much to the program in terms of perspective, ideas and strategies, and lots of great information. He also created the wonderful title and artwork. I would enjoy doing this podcast anyway, but with Jeff involved it’s entirely at another level.

The second podcast comes from a simpler motivation: I missed having regular conversations with Peter Nikolaidis. He’s an intelligent man with a great sense of humor, and yammering on about things with him makes my life better. Hence, the birth of Dismazed.

Dismazed is basically our way of having fun with the mind-bending realities of being human. We do talk about things that are kind of serious sounding, even including political topics at times, but the intent is to keep it lighthearted and laugh at it and ourselves. I think the main overriding theme is always going to be that people can only improve themselves if they’re willing to learn and change their minds about things when they need to.

I’m not good at self-promotion or marketing. I don’t have any ego attached to being a podcaster or to specific podcasts of mine. This might be detrimental to getting listeners, but the goal is for those who do listen to enjoy them and find something worth thinking about while doing so rather than us just being another source of background noise.