Making the decision to move to Japan can be a tough one, and once finally biting the bullet, you begin preparing for the unexpected. But that needn’t always be the case. As the popularity of YouTube increases, so does the wealth of knowledge about different cultures. Japan ceases to be a mystery – we now have answers to all of our questions through the internet’s infinite possibilities.
A quick hunt on your favorite search engine can determine what the food is like, how to rent an apartment and tips to learning Japanese. However, hearing from the horse’s mouth — or a YouTuber’s camera — gives you a uniquely honest insight unrivaled by a Wikipedia page.
Here is a selection of popular English-speaking YouTubers (or J-vloggers) who can help you transition to life in Japan:
Abroad In Japan
Chris Broad uploaded his first video shortly after coming to Japan in 2012. His sarcastic, witty humor and numerous original skits have fast propelled him to one of the most subscribed J-vloggers on the platform. Starting out on the JET program, he has taken us through his adventures in Japan: from learning Japanese to his hilarious weight-loss saga. He is never far from his sidekick, Natsuki, a punk-rock loving Japanese man with limited English skills. This comedy duo are the stars of their own documentary where Natsuki takes a pilgrimage to England to pay his respects to famous British anarchist Sid Vicious.
That Japanese Man Yuta
Gaining an insight into Japanese culture is sometimes best done from a Japanese perspective. Yuta Aoki is most well-known for his street interviews where he encourages Tokyo’s citizens to answer questions that plague foreigners’ minds. In other videos he explains, in an intimate straight-to-camera style, the philosophy behind his country’s decisions. He does not shy away from controversies, as seen by his response to the infamous Logan Paul video that has been viewed over two million times.
Rachel and Jun
The Posh and Becks of the J-vlogger world, this much loved Japanese-American couple boasts a total of three channels: Rachel and Jun, Rachel and Jun Adventures and Jun’s Kitchen. Watching a loving couple navigate the intricacies of marriage, all while running their own YouTube channels, is the definition of wholesome. Covering almost every topic you can think of, Rachel and Jun Yoshizuki combine both a cheery disposition and inquisitive nature towards the differences that separate Japan from other countries.
Life Where I’m From
Giving you a sneak peek into family life in Japan, Greg Lam makes wonderfully detailed video essays that occasionally feature his wife and two adorable kids. They usually exceed the 15-minute mark, but don’t let that dissuade you. His works are expertly researched and full of fascinating facts, showing an immense talent and undeniable passion for Japan.
Lyz Kelly brings an honesty and freshness that has been missing in the YouTube community. She does not shy away from the tough topics, such as homesickness, dating, language and visa struggles. Kelly unabashedly shows us her tears, displaying vulnerability and ultimately making her more relatable. We all remember that Christmas spent away from our families and so does she. Her series, Girl Abroad, is a candid look on life in Japan and worth the click.
Watching bilingual YouTubers is a great way to learn a new language; especially when they use subtitles in their videos. Loretta Scott is an American-born expat currently studying and working in Japan. She discusses a variety of topics, but her tips and tricks for learning Japanese are some of her most impressive videos.
A married couple from Canada, Simon and Martina Stawski started in South Korea with the channel EatYourKimchi. Simon and Martina’s humorous observations about Korean food and culture earned them a devoted base as well as brand sponsorships, the establishment of their own studio – even their own café and clothing line. Now living in Tokyo the couple make weekly videos all about delicious food, travel guides, how-to recipes and general adventures.