Ah, Japan. It is one of those countries that has made itself perfectly at home on many “To Visit” travel lists, yet remains one of the most untouchable due to budget concerns. But really, thanks to the power of the internet, you can find out all you need to know about this country right beneath your fingertips. From its rich history to budget travel tips, everything is laid out for you. This is especially true when you search for information via Google or YouTube, the latter being an increasingly popular choice as of late.
With the number of YouTubers trying to get their shot at fame or who are just eager to share their work with the world, the slew of videos you can go through is incredible. The problem is, though, what channels should you follow? There are so many to choose from!
After spending hours, days, weeks, months watching videos about Japan, I decided to compile a list of my favourite J-Vloggers. So if you’d like to travel to Japan, live there or would simply like to learn more about the culture, read on.
Run by a British man and former JET teacher named Chris, Abroad in Japan is easily my favourite J-channel on YouTube. This may be due to my love for dry, sarcastic humour or how, despite his grouchy exterior, Chris has a deep appreciation for everything Japanese and wishes to share what he has learned with the world. It really is charming; his unique blend of unsmiling grumpiness and genuine warmth is something that easily draws you in. And you will notice, once you’ve spent enough time on YouTube, that it is hard to find when most vloggers are full of smiles and positive energy.
Yet, paradoxically, he is no less welcoming than they are.
But what else is it about him that is appealing? Aside from his wit, Chris’ videos are always chockful of information without that dreaded sense of tediousness educational videos tend to come with. Really, with the entertaining way he frames his content, one can easily lose themselves on his channel. The fact that he shows real potential in hosting a television travel program certainly doesn’t hurt either.
If the video above isn’t enough to encapsulate the sheer essence that is Chris’ ughwhatisitnow attitude, then his reaction to Being Rudely Awoken by a North Korean Missile is the one to go for.
There is just something amusing about a British man basically going “Fuck off” at a missile siren warning and going back to sleep.
Subjects to expect on this channel: Travel, culture, language learning tips and lifestyle
This international couple owns one of the, if not the, most subscribed to YouTube channel about Japan. Comprising of Rachel and Jun, who are American and Japanese respectively, this lovable pair spends their time outside of work filming videos about Japanese culture, lifestyle, travel and language learning tips, and occasionally, the challenges that come with their international marriage. Skits crop up on their channel too; not as often as the aforementioned, but certainly no less entertaining.
If you’d really like to learn more about Japanese culture as well as how it compares to America’s, this channel is a safe bet. With Rachel’s bright, chatty personality and Jun’s quiet yet friendly aura, it’s difficult not to be endeared by these two.
Seriously, if I had the extra cash I’d buy Rachel’s Sakura collection.
Subjects to expect on this channel: Culture, lifestyle, language learning tips, travel and a dash of skits
Sweet and even-tempered, Sharmander is yet another popular J-Vlogger on YouTube. With two J-channels under her belt, both of which she maintains regularly, she has amassed quite a collection of videos to browse through.
Most of which are wonderful for gaining a general idea of what the country is like. From culture to travel to lifestyle, Sharla has a bit of everything to cater to everyone. And thanks to her lengthy stay in Japan, she is able to share accounts of her student life right up to the present as a working adult. Something that would no doubt intrigue those who are interested in staying there for a couple of years.
So roll on over for some wholesome fun! She has even documented festivals and unusual events for your viewing pleasure.
Subjects to expect on these channels: Travel (especially as of late), beauty, culture and lifestyle
That Japanese Man Yuta is run by, you guessed it, a Japanese man named Yuta. Ever eager to learn more about the world and the people around him, Yuta goes out of his way to conduct interviews with random people on the street. This is at times successful, and at others, as you may well witness in one or two of his videos, not so much. Understandable, as some may not have the time or even have the desire to be in front of the camera.
But I digress. What exactly does Yuta talk about on his channel?
A variety of things. Largely informative videos that consist of popular everyday social topics and at times, culture. A thoughtful, intelligent man, Yuta gives the impression that he genuinely wishes to learn about the way other people think, as well as share these opinions with outsiders.
This channel may not be what you’re looking for if you’re interested in travelling to Japan. It is more of a site for those who are interested in hearing the thoughts of the Japanese.
He also teaches Japanese for free right here.
Subjects to expect on this channel: Lifestyle, culture and language learning tips
Passionate and not afraid to speak his mind, Nobita of Find Your Love in Japan has made it his life’s mission to encourage foreigners to date in Japan. He believes that it is an experience people shouldn’t be afraid to try, cultural barriers be damned, and so works diligently to ensure this message is delivered.
He does this by conducting numerous street interviews as well as recording himself giving motivational speeches, which happens to be rather frequent. A feat to consider seeing that he has a full-time job and the amount of time between each video is a few days instead of the standard week.
With the amount of enthusiasm he puts into his work, one cannot help but to feel reassured and more motivated by what he has to say.
Of course, if you’re not interested in seeking romance in Japan, Nobita has plenty of other videos showcasing different social and cultural aspects of Japan. Language learning tips can be expected as well.
For Japanese lessons from Nobita, click here.
Subjects to expect on this channel: Lifestyle (particularly dating), culture and language learning tips
BONUS J-VLOGGER… sort of
Now, as the channel name suggests, The Anime Man (Joey) mostly talks about nearly anything and everything to do with anime, and therefore isn’t exactly a J-channel. However, this Australian-Japanese has touched upon the subject of Japan enough times to warrant a mention.
You see, when Joey isn’t ranting or raving about anime, he’s dishing out nuggets of wisdom about Japan. Be it the culture, the country or the language itself, he is familiar enough with his Japanese heritage to provide insightful sneak peeks into it. Expect videos addressing common topics such as the above, as well as a few that are more unheard of ie the existence of tsundere maid cafes and his experience going into one. Honestly speaking, if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have known such a place exists.
So, yeah. The Anime Man is definitely worth a look around.
Subjects to expect on this channel: Anime, language learning tips and bits of culture