Whether you want to learn about Japan, or you are preparing for a trip
YouTube is a great resource to find a video to help you find that weird vending machine or the best steps on how to learn Japanese or the things you’ll need to know before taking a trip to Japan.
One of the first YouTubers I started to watch was TokyoCooney about 8-10 years ago, but he left the platform several years back which made me have to find new ways to entertain and inform myself on all things Japan.
Why I watch these YouTubers will differ from your reasons, so I tried to come up with a summary of each channel to help you decide on who best reflects what you’re looking for. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the YouTubers doing content on Japan, but the list below does cover a vast majority of YouTubers who are traveling to, living in, or can help you learn more about Japan…. while being funny, like really funny.
1. Abroad in Japan
Who: A British bloke living in Sendai, Japan.
YouTube channel(s):Abroad in Japan
Chris Broad or if you want to make it easier on you to remember, try remembering “Chris A’Broad.” Chris is a Brit that lives and works in Sendai, Japan, and as one commenter said, he looks like the love child between Johnny Depp and Frankie Munoz.
You should watch because the cat he had added to his background in his vid, and if accents amuse you, he’s your man. I watch the channel because he has a bloody good sense of humor, and his videos are very well done (yea, and no, no time-lapse, EDM, Helvetica bold or whatever font that Casey Neistat uses). Instead, his style is a style that I think is reflected in his aspirations to be in film which is why I think this channel is up a couple of notches above the rest. Although, like all popular shows/movies, it’s the characters that make a channel what it is, and Chris has his two buds Natsuki and Ryotaro do that (I don’t think I’ve ever seen them appear together). To top it all off, toss in a little hip-hop, Pitbull lyric every once in a while and we good… hotel, motel, Holiday Inn.
Keywords: how to look slimmer, funny, traveling and living in Japan, North Korean missiles, eating, food, Pitbull, eating out, drinking, alcohol, traveling, etiquette, English teacher, culture, you like to laugh vs. cry, mr. snuggles, Sendai, being a pirate, British, want to lose weight, you have a belly, humor, sarcasm, country side, smug face, Daniel Perez, and go fuck yourself (joking, not joking).
2. Simon and Martina
Two Canadians who had lived in Korea for seven years and are now living in Japan (about a year in so far).
The reason I follow the channel is that they both love food and drinking which are two of my favorite things, so I often picture myself doing the same things in their vids, but I’m probably eating something not as good, by myself, and crying.
There are many other reasons to watch such as seeing a successful marriage #relationshipgoals, to anybody with a debilitating disease. Martina lives with a chronic illness called EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) which creates a crippling pain in her joints, and just hearing about how they met, or to both of their backgrounds will get you hooked.
Content keywords/phrases: married couple, Canadian, teachers, Korea, kim chi, eating, loves to eat, highballs, peacocking, tattoo’s, colored hair, beards, man buns, otaku, anime, pets, cats, traveling, drinking, living in Japan, living in Korea, Korea compared to Japan, k-pop, j-pop, EDS, depression, disability, physical and mental pain, cooking, chronic pain, spudgy, meemers.
3. Sharla in Japan
When it comes to useful, fun happy channels, Chris (“Abroad in Japan”) and Sharla’s are just a few of the top channels about Japan where you’ll get a range of videos on a number of topics.
Sharla’s videos are great if you plan to visit, live, or want to learn about Japan although, like the other channels I follow, she doesn’t drink (well she drinks water/tea, but not drink that other vital liquid of life). Top that all if that she’s a vegan, she just recently got married (to a Korean dude, and like me, he likes to be on the DL), and she loves big dogs, and is fluently bi-lingual (translator).
Content keywords/phrases: Canadian female, bi-lingual, nihongo, eigo, cats, animals, jobs, working, gachapon, otaku, korea, travel, onsen, loves horror movies, shopping, vegan food, Victoria BC, heavy metal, neopets, gaming, languages, vlog, pokemon go, cultural differences, korean husband, translator, moving to korea, homestay, sweets, desserts, living in Japan.
4. Venus Angelic
Who: a Swiss German living in Japan.
YouTube channel(s): VenusAngelic
Subscribers: 1.6 million
Super quirky cute funny 20 yo who has a talent for languages because she speaks seven languages (Japanese, English, Swiss/German, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Korean).
Some of her also follow her because of her “living doll” kawaii (cute) look, or they might be watching because of her and the controversy that surrounds her tumultuous relationship with her mom.
Whatever the reason people follow her, I found her to be talented and amusing in a funny “haha” way.
Content keywords/phrases: cute, kawaii, Japan, living in Japan, cosplay, eating, food, spicy foods, candy, make-up, language, living in multiple countries, multilingual, swiss german, korean, eating, spicy food, candy, boyfriend, contreversy with her mom, boyfriend, dating, and running away from home.
5. Rachel & Jun’s Adventures
An American who was with the U.S. Air Force (Rachel) and a Japanese teacher (Jun) who met when he was her RA (Resident Assistant). Now, they are a married couple living in Japan, “traveling places, bothering their cats, and doing dumb for your enjoyment!”
Dammn, dude has some knife skills, and I didn’t think “JunsKitchen” was going to be anything as good as their primary channel, but these vids on this channel are good enough to pick up several videos with several million views per video. They mainly focus on him cooking to cooking for his cat.
Content keywords/phrases: married, Japanese, American, muliti-cultural, places to visit, ROTC, military, airforce, officer, sightseeing, cats, relationship, Jun is not a douchebag, animals, red-head, couples, cats, cooking, travel, culture, married life, couples, daily life, dating, squat toilets, idiots guide, habits, customs, and some more cats.
6. Gareth Leonard, Travel Deeper
Who: an American and world traveller who had traveled to Japan.
YouTube channel(s): Travel Deeper Japan
A dude who loved to party in his college years that grew up in a small town called Hilton, NY who had an apple picking job for his first job. That position gave him his work ethic, and a study abroad program exposed him to new cultures early on although a successful entrepreneurial endeavor with a couple of his buddies in college got him thinking of what he wanted to do. So what did he do? He moved to Buenos Aire’s where he immersed himself in having to learn the culture and the language with no previous knowledge or study of it.
So, if you’re thinking “is this the type of d’bag you would see drunkenly chanting U.S.A in a Roppongi bar or running around throwing poke balls?” Well, that’s not Gareth, well that I know of which is why you should watch because it appears he is rep’n us Muuricans the right way, so for that reason, I got to say “U.S.A, U.S.A, U.S.A!”
Content keywords/phrases: small town, American, usa, immersive, open-minded, not a douchebag, New Yorker, South American, world traveler, knows a lot about apples, college, textbooks, loves basketball, buenos aires, South American, eating, food, things to do, things to see, sightseeing, airbnb, italy, Brazil, Portugal, Thailand, travel on a budget, travel advice.
7. Alex Meyers
Who: he makes cartoons and video essays about movies and TV shows.
YouTube channel(s): Alex Meyers
An eighteen-year-old from Iowa that decided to move to Japan with $500 in his pocket, and now 12 years later (since 2006), he can use chopsticks, ride a bike without no handlebars, and speak nihongo, wuhhhhhhh, no waaay *mind blown*!?!?!
Although the thing I love is that he is not only opinionated, but he has got some great commentary that I see eye-to-eye on about the TSA to general videos that contrast his experiences between Japan and the USA.
Content keywords/phrases: cartoons, video essays, movies, tv and cable shows, anime, dating, how Nestle is evil, living on your own, about Amy Schumer, Iowa, murica, expat, weeb, otaku, an American living abroad, middle child, religious family, Christian family, cognitive thought, funny, politics, commentary.
EDIT (added 5/1/2018): 8. LeSweetpea パリス
Who: She is a college student in LA that makes vids on beauty to Japanese culture.
YouTube channel(s): LeSweetpea
Who is “Le Sweet Pea,” well I’ll let her tell you that in her own words, not due to me being lazy “Hi, I’m Paris from LA! ♡ I create weekly videos about college, Japan, beauty & curly hair! I’m currently a 4th year Japanese language & culture major at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), and I studied Communications for my A.A. degree.”
Content keywords/phrases: japanese, language, beauty, UCLA, black, african american, tokyocreative.jp, college life, dorms, nigerian, nihongo, learning, beauty tips.
These are a few channels that often have or are focused on Japan that you might find useful. There is only one channel that has a substantial amount of content on it, but the main guy has the most obnoxious face when he eats which is the type I’d want to punch in the face. So as to not promote violence, you’ll have to find that one on your own.
Micaela’s Japanese Life
Who: a Canadian living in Fukuoka prefecture which is in Southern Japan, and she’s been there for 12+ years.
Who: Yuyu, who is a Canadian (surprise, surprise) who moved to Tokyo from SF, CA in August 2016.
Texan in Tokyo
Who: This account is no longer active (they quit 1 year ago to focus on family life) although they still have a lot of good content about a Japanese husband and an American wife from Texas.
Who: a Kiwi/New Zealander living in Japan since 2009.
Who: for the fashion challenged, this dude covers the fashion trends in Japan and elsewhere.
Life Where I’m From
Who: a family of four who are a Canadian and Japanese married couple, and the videos revolve around their two kids everyday life who are 7 and 4.