In these short, entertaining videos, Mike-san tries his best to navigate the ambiguous Japanese cultural and language-related situations he finds himself in working at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA)! 

Latest Episode

Episode 6:

In this special Halloween edition of Ganbare Mike-San!, Lena-san invites Mike-san to JFLA's "Spooktacular" Tea Time event on Tuesday, October 29th.

Season 3:

Episode 5:

JFLA Intern Saya Kato (University of Tsukuba; Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) and Mike-San chat while watching the news and discover the similarities between Japanese and English terms related to typhoons.

Episode 4:

Mike-san is at first taken aback by mask-clad Hana Kakita (JFLA Intern and student of Meiji University, Japan). Luckily, everything is smoothed over once Hana-san explains the tradition of wearing face masks in Japan.

Episode 3:

Lena-san and Mike-san demonstrate the right way and the WRONG way to exchange business cards in Japanese culture!

Episode 2:

Mike-san has just gotten back from the Mori no Ike Japanese immersion summer camp in Northern Minnesota, and he is inspired to try speaking only Japanese for a whole day.

Episode 1:

Mike-san returns from his business trip in Washington D.C. and once again tries to remember his keigo when speaking to Hara-shocho.

Season 2:

Episode 14:  (Season FInale)

Mike has to remember his keigo (honorific Japanese) before leaving on an important business trip (shuccho / しゅっちょう).

Episode 13: "Let's Read Manga!"

JFLA has a historical manga (Japanese comics) exhibition coming up, so Mike-san decides to familiarize himself with it beforehand. However, there is a learning curve.

Episode 12: "B̶i̶t̶e̶ Blow Your Nose"

Mike-san is feeling a bit sick and receives some practical advice from JFLA Director Hara. However, the gaps in Mike-san's Japanese vocabulary become apparent.

Episode 11: "The Minute Game"

Mike-san tries his hardest on the brand new JFLA game show called The Minute Game! JFLA Interns Saki Okanishi and Yurika Oda quiz Mike on the correct way to count minutes.

Episode 10: "Revenge!"

Mike-san becomes alarmed when he hears JFLA Intern Masa Yamashita say a phrase which is derived from English, but means something different in Japanese.

Episode 9: "Snappy!"

Mike-san uses a gesture that the JFLA interns...misinterpret.

Episode 8: "Nosey"

Mike-san learns a new Japanese gesture!

Episode 7: "Business Phone Call"

Mike-san tries his best to handle a business phone call in polite Japanese ("keigo"). He gets a little tongue-tied, but hey...don't we all sometimes?

Episode 6: "IKEBANA"

Mike-san, alarmed at first by Hara-shochou, learns that ikebana is more than just "flower arranging".

Episode 5: "(O)ISHII!"

At the 2018 JFLA Bonenkai (year-end party), Mike-san learns a thing or two about when and when not to use the honorific prefix "O"/お.

Episode 4: "JUU-HACHI-BAN/#18"

In this episode, Mike-san gets a bit too literal when Yasuko-san asks him a question about his shamisen playing. Do YOU know the meaning of the Japanese expression "juuhachiban"?

Episode 3: "RUNNING LATE!"

Overslept before? It happens.  Watch Mike-san’s experience and maybe pick up some new vocabulary words/たんご!

Episode 2: "KAMIZUMO"

Mike-san hears what sounds like JFLA Director Hara (A.K.A. H2/Shocho/The Boss) and Derek-san squaring off in a sumo match, but that couldn't be...could it?

Episode 1: "YAPPARI"

(Continued from Season 1, #10) 
Will Mike-san be fired? 
Yappari, mita hou ga ii yo!/やっぱり、みたほうがいいよ!

 

Season 1

Episode 10: "What Will Tappen to Mike-San?" (Season Finale)

In this season finale, Mike-san learns about an ominous phrase in Japanese which just might foreshadow the end of his tenure at JFLA!

Episode 9: "TOKYO Before/After"

JFLA Intern/Dancer Extraordinaire Kentaro Sakita from Kansai University and Mike-san get inspired by a series of “Levitation” photos (Natsumi Hayashi) on display at JFLA’s “TOKYO Before/After” photo exhibition. The exhibition is free to view at JFLA through September 29th, 2018!

Episode 8: "Post-It Ghosts"

Mike-san hits on the idea of using Post-It notes to help him memorize Nihongo vocab. Sadly, his plan is upended by mysterious occurrences while he is away from his desk.

Episode 7: "Kaki-Jun"

Mike gets a lesson in the basics of Japanese handwriting. Yappari, kakijun ha daiji desu ne!

Episode 6: "Daijoubu?"

Mike-san makes a bit of a rookie error with a versatile vocab word, but hey - he's not chickening out of learning Japanese! Ganbarou!

Episode 5: "Katakana De..."

Mike-san takes his office manager Yasuko-san's advice a bit too literally.

Episode 4: "Can't Handle It"

When coworkers Yasuko-san and Mamiko-san try to communicate via body language, Mike-san isn't quite sure how to react.

Episode 3: "To See or Not to See"

Mike-san is eager to show his coworkers Derek-san, Yasuko-san, and Director Hara a special article he finds in his inbox.
He asks them in Japanese to take a look at the article and adjusts his speech accordingly. (みる/ごらん)
Alas, we don’t always get what we want in life.:)

Episode 2: "Tea from the Top Down"

In Japanese culture, there's more to serving tea than first meets the eye.

Episode 1: "Quittin' Time"

Mike-san is ready to finish work and head home for the day, but he has trouble remembering what to say to his coworkers before he leaves.