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Narrator in Japan perplexed by Halloween

Japanese voice over jack-o-lantern Halloween in Japan

By Yoshie, voice over talent at www.japanesevoiceover.jp

When I was a child, I’ve never heard of Halloween. Maybe it was when I was a university student in the late1990s I saw cute orange pumpkin goods at a Sanrio shop (variety stores which sells Hello Kitty goods etc.) in Kyoto. I didn’t understand why Kitty had converted to Satan. But before too long, I found Japanese were accepting the new event “Halloween”.

About 10 years ago I saw a dozen kids were walking around the street and I heard them shouting something in front of my next-door neighbor’s house. I noticed that that was Halloween “ trick or treat” as they were dressed in monster costumes. I was so scared as they might attack my house and I was thinking about how I should behave when they knocked my door. I would be embarrassed to tackle those kids and I didn’t even have any sweets for them. I saw my next-door neighbor gave some treats to them and then the weird kids passed by my house and went somewhere. I was relieved as I didn’t have to treat them to glasses of tap water.

After then I noticed it was just a school activity and the houses they visited had been all decided, which was each student’s home. But it was the first time and the last time I’ve seen kid’s “trick or treat” event in Japan. I guess kids are also embarrassed as they are too shy to do such a thing.

Yet there will be lots of Halloween parties held at pubs here in Kyoto. You can see drunken girls dressed in sexy black and orange costume who are waiting for cute princes to pick them up in the streets at night. And next day those pumpkin girls would be rolling into work suffering from hungover.

Pumpkin is a symbol connected to Halloween. But pumpkin is actually good for health. On the winter solstice day in the middle of December, at some temples in my hometown Kyoto, they distribute Kabocha no nimoto (boiled pumpkin with soy sauce, sake, and sugar) dish to visitors to the temple for free. This event is called Kabocha-kuyou which literally means “pumping memorial service”. I don’t know why they call it “memorial service” but it is more enjoyable service. Anyway they provide Kabocha dish to pray for visitors’ perfect health. Yes, pumpkin is rich in carotene and makes your body warm.

I’d rather enjoy having hot Kabocha no nimono than becoming a pumpkin.

How to select a Japanese voice over talent

It can be a challenge to find voice over talent in a language that is foreign to you. How can you tell whether or not a voice over is good or even accurate when you can’t understand what is being said?

A lot of global voice over productions require voice talents who speak Japanese as their first language.

There are several things that you will want to keep in mind when you are seeking a native Japanese voice over talent for your production.

Try to find someone who is experienced, sounds authentic, and uses the Standard Japanese dialect in their voice work.

It is crucial that you hire a professional Japanese voice over artist. Many freelancers are amateurs who offer voice over on the sole basis that they can speak Japanese.

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You may be able to stumble upon a native Japanese speaker in your area who has experience in radio or TV.  Otherwise you are totally dependent on a voice casting agent.

Consider too that if your Japanese voice talent lives outside of Japan, he or she may even speak Japanese with a bit of the local accent picked up by being immersed in their non-native language.

On the opposite end of the spectrum it is possible to get a professional freelance Japanese voice over talent who lives in Japan to send you an audio file over the Internet. This is known as “net narration” in Japan, and these voice over recordings are created in the performers’ own home studios in Japan.

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But wherever the Japanese voice over artist resides, you still need to be careful about their voice over quality. The talent’s voice demos might impress you with famous brand names and the audio will sound great. The voice talent may have a good voice. But the audio quality might be deceptive. You see, the Japanese voice demos they put on voice-casting sites in Japan (and other voice-casting sites everywhere, really) are the best works by the talents. The Japanese voice over for those TV commercials is recorded in high-tech, full-service studios with audio mastering experts at the controls. The voice talent recorded the voice over and went home, leaving the audio editing and mastering to the professionals.

A freelance voice talent records in a home studio and needs to have audio editing skills in order to “clean up”  recordings before submitting them to clients. In other words, the Japanese voice samples you hear online on voice-casting sites may not represent the real audio quality of the talent’s home studio.

To be sure about audio quality, the  Japanese voice talent’s information online should indicate that the audio sample was recorded in the talent’s home studio. You could also request a voice demo that was recorded in their home studio.

You can hire with confidence a voice actor who lives in Japan. The key is trust. You need to be able to rely on the voice over talent or on the voice over talent’s agent or manager.

 

Freelance Japanese professional voice over talents based in Japan offer voice over worldwide

Japanese voice talents in Japan who can record voice overs in their home studios in Japan can now be hired for global voice over via Mark Weitzman at http://www.japanesevoiceover.jp.


Male and female Japanese voice over talents in Japan are now offering Japanese voice over services from Japan. The professional Japanese voice over artists are managed by Mark Weitzman, an American voice over talent in Tokyo.

Weitzman has been performing English-language narration and voice over in Japan since 1993. He does voice over for TV and radio commercials, game trailers, business videos, company news and other types of voice over, for use in Japan and for worldwide usage. Continue reading

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