Top 5 J-Vloggers to Keep up With

Top 5 J-Vloggers to Keep up With

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.

1. Abroad in Japan

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

2. Rachel and Jun

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.

What’s more, Jun has his very own cooking channel while Rachel has a pretty rockin’ collection of personally designed Sakura accessories that she sells online. Check ’em both out.

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

3. SharmanderSharla in Japan

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

4. That Japanese Man Yuta

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

5. Find Your Love in Japan

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


6. The Anime Man

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

A Part of a List of Never-ending Goals


If there is anything that makes me happier than knowing I could sleep in or that the latest season of one of my favourite TV shows is out (Suits, anyone? I know. I’m generally very easy to please), it’s having a goal to work towards.

Now, the goals I’m going to talk about are stuff that are almost completely outside of work. I see them as hobbies to fill my time with. If they so happen to assist me in my career, all the better.

I’m just the sort of person who has to have a hobby, and as it turns out, learning is one of them 😀

Achieve fluency in Japanese

The same goes for Mandarin, but I have a greater love for Japanese. It’s amazing how much the language is tied to the culture, and honestly, achieving a native or even advanced level of fluency in it would be incredible. Of course, I’m aware that I’ve yet to tackle the toughest hurdle -the oh-so-dreaded Kanji– but that has yet to deter me. It’s intimidating, but… best to think positively about it.

It’s just one of the many obstacles standing in the way to fluency.

And really, I’ve never been happier than when I’m in class or when I’m studying the language on my own.  The sense of achievement I get whenever I successfully complete a stage is something I’d like to keep pursuing. So yeah, come on, Kanji.

To make things even better, I’ll be receiving my first Japanese certificate after next week! I’ll have to take an exam, of course, but it’s a step towards realising my dream. Guess I’ll be hard at work studying till this coming Saturday then!

Learn more languages

I’ve always known that I love studying English. What I didn’t know is that that love can extend to other languages as well. So long as I find the culture interesting or there is plenty of good quality media to go around, it’s very likely I’d be drawn to it.

For example, with English, I actually taught myself the language before I entered school. I received next to no help from my parents, and that was fine with me. I was happy to hole myself up in my room with piles of Peter and Jane and Enid Blyton books, haha.

Now that I’m older, I’ve discovered that this isn’t limited to English. In fact, I have a list of languages I’d like to learn after settling my Japanese and Mandarin.

First one is Korean. After that, it’s hard to say, but I have an interest in learning Thai, Portuguese, Spanish and Cantonese. Which ones I’ll definitely take is a mystery due to time constraints, but yeah, those would be cool.

We’ll see what happens in a couple of years.

Participate in a language exchange program

This isn’t as huge of a deal as it sounds. It’s essentially a program available on certain language learning apps where people are able to find native speakers of the language they’re studying and practice what they’ve learned thus far through conversation. This can be done via text messages, audio messages and video calls.

Of course, they have to teach a language in return. Hence the term “language exchange program”.

Hone my photography skills

This one might seem a bit random, but I’ve thought about it and I think it’s a good skill to have, especially considering the field that I’m in.

It’s not something I’d like to solely dedicate myself to, but again, it would be good to have. Plus it also means I can pretty up my blog with much better pictures, haha.

That being said, I’ve already looked up a class I can sign myself up for. Just gotta wait for the next batch to start, and hopefully, it’ll work out with my schedule.

Travel to Japan

This one’s a no-brainer. Japan is such a beautiful country that is rich in culture. How could I not want to go?

Thankfully enough, this one seems to be pretty much in reach. My family and I are planning to visit the country once my brother and I are more fluent in the language. Earliest would be sometime at the end of next year or one of the following years, if all goes well. Goodness knows it’s hard enough for us to find time when we’re all free, so who even knows when it’ll happen.

Improve my drawing skills

This one’s been up there for a long while now, and because it’s more of an idle side interest than anything else, I wonder if it’ll even happen. But yeah, when I was younger, I used to want to become a comic book artist.

It seems very silly when I think about it now, how I used to draw pages and pages of comics to sell and how I was successful at it too. Parents even called in to complain because their kids were buying too many of it! HAHAHA. That was a funny time.

Even though I’ve lost interest in becoming an artist, drawing still remains a small hobby of mine. It would be nice to have it taken to the next level.

Insert more skill acquisition here

Graphic design, more in depth Adobe Photoshop skills, more and more certificates… Even thinking about these things makes me wonder if I’ll even have the time or energy for the majority of them. It’s not as though I’m a student anymore, but that’s alright. At least this means I have stuff to look forward to after work.

Ah, well. I think that’s about it for now. There are more things I could add to this list, but right now, my Japanese textbooks are waiting for me.

Till next!

Beauty Review: Estelle & Thild’s Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum

Hello, everyone! As you may have noticed, I bleeped out of existence for a while there- real life reasons, most of which had to do with work and to an extent, studying. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to my thus far unsuccessful one-post-a-week schedule this time around. Go me?

I’m going to have to make up for lost time by posting a bit more, but anyway…

On to today’s post! I’ll be reviewing an anti-aging serum by Estelle & Thild called Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum (RM243). It’s something that I can’t help but to have mixed feelings about, because while I’m ecstatic that I can now try a wider range of skincare products, it’s also depressing to know I’m actually old enough to use anti-aging stuff.

Clearly, passing the 25 year old mark is one of the more depressing milestones in life. For now.

But I digress.

What is it?


Back to the subject. In an effort to promote a more youthful appearance, Estelle & Thild pairs science and nature together to concoct the perfect anti-aging serum. The result? Biodefense Multi-Action Youth Serum is born.

Neatly squeezed into a slim bottle with the brand name printed in a charming, girly font on the exterior, this formula is essentially an organic potion that is packed to the punch with Superberries and White Tea. This formula is supposed to both reduce as well as prevent the first signs of aging while bringing in the added benefit of boosting radiance and hydration.

All in all, a pretty good deal. Especially for those who have dry skin.

What is it like?

The serum itself is a watery, gel-like light brown substance that is easily absorbed into the skin. Surprisingly enough, it carries an herbal, almost woody scent that is a bit on the strong side. Now, scented products aren’t exactly something I’m a fan of, but because of how easy it is to slab this on, I’m not going to complain. In any case, the smell fades pretty quickly, which in turn gives me less reason to grouse about it.

To further add on to its positive qualities, the serum doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue, nor does it turn my skin into an oil slick. The latter is always a plus in my books! This makes applying makeup on top of it A-OK.



There are few complaints to be had regarding the packaging this serum comes in. Easy to use, its pump does well in distributing product evenly- a great trait to avoid wastage. We all know how expensive serums can be.

And how quickly they run out too.

As for the bottle itself, its slim, rounded design makes it comfortable to hold while its frosted glass makes it easy to monitor just how much product you have left. Needless to say, I’m quite happy on the packaging front. 🙂

End result

After using this serum for a few days, I saw an improvement in the texture of my skin. It was smoother and more youthful-looking- undoubtedly definite pluses all around, however.

Now, this is a big however, because the side effect of using this manifested the concern that’s present every time I try something new.

I was plagued with breakouts. Not those small pimples with whiteheads that will eventually pop on their own, no. The ones I was lambasted with were those dreaded deep, angry, painful pustules without whiteheads. Cry.

At first, I thought maybe it wasn’t the serum, so to be extra sure before I start pointing fingers, I phased it out of my skincare routine for a few weeks. Alas, when the time to give it a try rolled by, I received the same result.

And to be extra, extra, extra sure, I repeated the process. Same thing. 🙁 Sighs. I guess it’s just not meant to be.

Where can I find it?



  • Product rating: 2.5/5
  • Packaging rating: 4/5

Despite the improved texture of my skin, I’m going to forgo buying this in the future. I already have acne-prone skin; I don’t need help with moving things along, thank you very much.

Don’t let this discourage you from giving this a try, though. Some products just don’t work on certain people, be it because of skin type or other genetic factors. Something to bear in mind before making a new purchase.

As implied earlier, this might work better for those who have dry skin.


Aqua, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Glycerin, Saccaride Isomerate, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Gluconolactone, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ficus Carica Fruit Extract, Palmitic Acid, Tocopherol, Cetearyl Olivate,sclerotium Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Maltodextrin, Sorbitan Olivate, Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Sodium Gluconate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid. Ingredient From Organic Farming. Made Using Organic Ingredients.

Texting 101: Common Malaysian Text Misunderstandings

Anger, hurt, confusion, anxiety. All over a simple text or lack of. Do any of these seemingly over the top reactions sound familiar to you?

With the convenience of texting, face-to-face communication has taken a bit of a backseat in our society. Just how many times have misunderstandings occurred because of this little technological advancement? More often than not, texting is infinitely easier than actually calling someone. This holds especially true when you’re in a rush or just can’t talk at the time.

Sometimes, it’s necessary. Other times, not so much.

I’m sure you’re familiar with at least a few of the following

  1. The ever infamous Malaysian timing


You think Malaysian timing only applies for actual meet ups? Think again! This habit of ours extends to text messaging too and while it seems innocent enough, it can lead to misunderstandings.

Whether the person you texted takes an hour, a day or much longer to reply, self-doubt can occur. Questions like “Does he hate me?” or “Am I not worth a minute to reply to?” must have run through your mind at least once.

Even if you understand there’s a possibility that they might just be too busy or tired to.

  1. Forgot to Reply!


It’s normal. You receive a message and out of curiosity, you open it even if you don’t have time to respond. You then pocket your cellphone, telling yourself that you’ll reply later.

Later. You’ll reply later.

Of course, that later doesn’t come. Usually because you forgot.

If you’re lucky, the sender is a chill person who’d just shrug it off. If that’s not the case, you might have to prepare yourself for the cold shoulder.

  1. Why are you yelling at me?


Via text, granted. That is, however, how your text translates to if you type it all out in caps.

Like it or not, that is how it is. Don’t be surprised if you’re met with disapproving looks the next time you meet your friend.

  1. Are you being sarcastic?


Here’s the thing about sarcasm. It’s something that often requires tone of voice, facial expression and at times, body language to understand. Even then, face-to-face communication doesn’t always guarantee this.

Now imagine sarcasm being taken to text. You can’t see or hear the person that sent it; all you have to judge is a bunch of words on a screen. Are they being sarcastic or not? You wonder about it or maybe their intention flies over your head entirely.

Worst case scenario, they weren’t being sarcastic at all and you got mad at them for absolutely no reason. Oops. Maybe you can belanja them makan?

  1. Short messages vs long messages


Here’s another doozy. You send a long, meaningful message to your loved one and all you receive in return is a simple one-liner. Or worse, just a “K”.

What the heckie?

You didn’t just spend 20 precious minutes for that kind of response! How insulting.

Okay, maybe they’re busy but still. Ugh.

  1. Lost in translation

ZcfqBkqCSoeGmTSftrgo_Confused Joey Friends

Living in a multicultural country is amazing. You get to eat all sorts of food, celebrate lots of different holidays and have the pleasure of learning different languages a lot more easily!

Of course, most of us end up learning a couple of words here and there. Rare it is to find anyone fluent in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. So with the different levels of proficiency out there, someone is bound to be lost in translation sooner or later.

Usually because they’ll mistake one word for another in a different language.

Cat? Cat as in paint or cat as in feline? Anyone?


  1. Oh no. Wrong person!


Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a part of being human. So don’t be surprised if one of these days you accidentally send a message to the wrong person.

It’s all too easy to, especially when certain names are way too close to one another. Exactly how many Fatimahs do you have in your phonebook?

Hopefully you don’t send anything too embarrassing! Imagine meaning to text your girlfriend and accidentally sending that loving message to her father instead. Yikes.

  1. The unsent message


Let’s say you’ve done your part as the ever reliable friend. You responded to that message in a timely manner, and now all you have to do is sit back and wait for a reply.

And you wait. And you wait.

And you wait.

Wahlao, how long is this fella going to take?

You then check your cellphone and to your horror, you realise your message was not delivered! On top of that, you’re late to meet your friends. Darn it. Time to hustle.

  1. Punctuation, where art thou?


It might seem troublesome but the use or lack of punctuation can make all the difference in the world.

For instance, it can mean the difference between being interested in cooking and dogs, or cooking dogs. The difference between – yes, you’ve guessed it – inviting your grandfather to eat, or eating your grandfather.

Like dayum son.

So, what do you think? Have you committed any of these blunders? Or have you ever been a recipient of any of them?

Share your experiences below!

TV Series Review: Skip Beat!

Starring: Ivy Chen, Choi Siwon, Lee Donghae

Genre: Romance/Humour

Rating: 8/10

There are very few romance-oriented films and tv series that I can say that I’m very fond of, and even less so for -pardon this unintentionally snobbish tone- Asian ones. This is mostly due to the fact that I was brought up watching, reading and listening to English materials. That, coupled with my distaste for the romance genre, and you have a woman who lacks familiarity with Asian live-action entertainment.

There is just something off-putting about films that depict two people who declare that they’ve found The One after five minutes of knowing each other, and follow it up with a declaration of undying love barely a week later. And for what? The amount of time they spent together can hardly justify one partner giving up their (for example) life and career for a person they’ve spent a few fleeting conversations and smiles with. Is there something especially extraordinary about this person? I’d really like to know.

It’s just incredibly unrealistic to me.

So here we have Skip Beat!, the Taiwanese live-action adaptation of one of my two favourite shoujo mangas of all time. Needless to say when I saw the DVD in stores, I was torn. I wasn’t familiar with the quality of Asian dramas and I certainly didn’t want to shell out $$$ for something I might not like.

But then it was Skip Beat!.

And then there was Choi Siwon and not to mention, Lee Donghae, members of the legendary kpop group, Super Junior.

The fact that they, especially Siwon, were in it sealed the deal for me.

Memories of my highschool years flooding my mind, I snatched the DVD right up and I have absolutely no regrets about it ever since.

What’s it like?

Given that this is the Taiwanese version of Yoshiki Nakamura’s beloved Skip Beat!, there are several differences to be expected. For example, because the entire storyline is Taiwan-centric, the language spoken is Taiwanese, the Japanese names of the characters are changed to Taiwanese versions and the country this takes place in is Taiwan. You get my drift.

While this might be a deal-breaker for some -and I certainly hope not!- it isn’t for me, because the plot of Skip Beat! is something that can be recreated into many different versions and it’d still be watchable. Amazing, even. I’d happily watch an American version of Skip Beat! if they ever make one. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, British- of course, Japanese. I’m a Skip Beat! junkie.

That, and the strong, stellar plot is just that flexible.

So onto the review.

Skip Beat! centers around the life of Gong Xi (Original: Mogami Kyoko), a 16 year old girl who soon discovers that her childhood friend and love interest, Bu Po Shang/Shang Jieyong (Original: Fuwa Sho/Fuwa Shotaro), has been using her as his maid and source of income while trying to make a name for himself as a singer in Taiwan. Furious and heartbroken, she vows to exact revenge by one day beating him in show business. That oughta do it!

But just how will she achieve this?

Turns out that this drab, plain girl has what it takes to make it in this unforgiving world, thanks to her staunch determination and unexpected talent in acting. Not that Shang’s rival, Dun He Lian (Original: Tsuruga Ren), is going to make this easy for her. What the heck is his problem?

What’s there to like? And not to?

For those who are worried, the live-action version stays extremely faithful to the original plot, save for a few very minor creative liberties. However, once you get over these liberties and aforementioned differences, you’ll find yourself enjoying the series.

For instance, I was a bit surprised that they did not change Siwon’s look to match that of Ren’s in the manga, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel he is made for the role. From his appearance, to the way he “speaks” (you’ll find out the reason for this in a bit, haha), to his behaviour, Choi Siwon is basically the living, breathing version of Tsuruga Ren Dun He Lian. His delivery as the gentlemanly Mr Lian has just the right amount of strict dignity and gentility that the character is known for.

So much that I wouldn’t trade him for any other actor to play Lian.

The same can be said about Gong Xi and Bu Po Shang (though his appearance is pretty spot on, in my opinion). In fact, Skip Beat!‘s crowning glory has to be its main actress and actors. Their chemistry and acting skills effectively brought the characters to life, and that is saying something because finding someone to act as Gong Xi can’t be easy.

Energetic and full of hatred, the cheerful, normally kind-hearted Gong Xi might be a tall order to ask of someone to portray, especially in an entirely lovable sense. Yet Ivy Chen manages this seamlessly, and certainly not without hilarity thrown into the mix! Her performance makes her more than worthy of this hefty role, and her interactions with her co-stars a delight. Her bond with Shang is tense and heartbreaking, and her ties with Lian full of humorous, and at times exasperating ups and downs.

But is there anything to dislike about the series? There are, though none of the faults are so terrible that they render it unwatchable.

The dubbing issue with Siwon, for one. When I realised that his entire dialogue was dubbed, I laughed. Goodness, there were parts where the dub did not match when he spoke. Why insist on hiring him when he can’t speak the language? Honestly, I was more amused than anything else because despite this flaw, he more than makes up for this with his acting. He remained the ever enigmatic Lian in my eyes.

Then there is the matter of the special effects. This aspect of the series is mediocre at best, and terrible at its very worst. Thankfully, Skip Beat! doesn’t take itself too seriously and therefore doesn’t fall flat on its face whenever these effects pop up.

See, these mistakes are forgivable- it’s the last one that really hurts.

This is because the series ends with a cliffhanger, with no season two in sight. That’s right.

The live-action drama remains without a conclusion, yet for all the frustration this causes when I think of it, I’m glad to have watched it all the same. This is coming many years late, but Skip Beat! deserves a watch and a second season.

Thank you, guys, for bringing my favourite glacial slow shoujo manga to life.