In this episode, Tokyo Podcast’s host Anthony Joh discusses his move back to Canada, how it will impact the show, and some recommended Japanese Youtubers to tide viewers over until the next episode.
Why Anthony is leaving Japan (Again)
Originally, Anthony had returned to Japan to work with start-up tourism businesses in lieu of the 2020 Olympics tourist boom. When the coronavirus pandemic put global tourism on hold, Anthony made plans to return to Canada before Japan’s infamous broiling summer hit in full force. Due to border closures on both sides, Anthony has been in Japan for longer than he originally planned. He recently did manage to find a flight back to Canada. While he hasn’t received any specific information about Canadian quarantine procedures, Anthony believes he may be unable to record for the next couple of weeks as he settles in. Once things have quieted down, he fully intends to continue recording and posting content until he can hopefully return to Japan in the spring of 2021.
Anthony’s favorite Japan-centered Youtubers
Anthony has never been a fan of the done-to-death genki J-vloggers that abound on Youtube, but he does have some other recommended channels relating to Japan that Tokyo Podcast listeners may enjoy. While not all these channels are physically based in Japan, they are each informative and full of good Japanese content. If you’re like Anthony and find yourself physically away from Japan, these Youtubers are a good chance to see The Land of the Rising Sun from a distance.
An Australian travel blogger currently based in Osaka, Hannah does fit into the genre of J-vlogging. It might seem that Anthony is contradicting himself when he recommends her. However, while Currently Hannah has posted a few of the classic My Japanese Apartment Tour videos, her content is professional quality and not soaked in that overly genki vibe mentioned earlier. Hannah manages to maintain a genuine persona while delivering informative and well-shot videos about Japan. Anthony especially likes the fact that Hannah calls out social media influencer culture on how synthesized and overly-perfect many online personas and content have become.
Tokyo Street View
According to their About Page, Tokyo Street View exists to give people “a bias-free experience of Japan.” They’re a travel vlog without a host on the screen, offering viewers high-quality, natural shots of different areas around Japan. If you’re itching to visit Japan but are stuck at home like most of the world, Tokyo Street View is the channel for you. Their raw footage of intimate Japanese scenery is both relaxing and inspiring. It’s also free for you to embed, so long as the video will not be used for commercial purposes. Anthony’s one critique of the channel is that their videos are quite short, typically limited to five or six minutes each. But there is little else that can be said in criticism of this channel. They offer 4k and even 8k content if you have the system to manage it. Check out this channel for a deep dive into Japanese scenery and life.
Nippon Wandering TV
Similar in genre to Tokyo Street View, Nippon Wandering TV centers around POV-style videos and ASMR experiences of daily life in Japan. If you’re feeling nostalgic for a personal experience of Japan, this is the channel for you. Nippon Wandering TV’s content is much longer than Tokyo Street View’s, with most cinematic videos hitting at least forty-five minutes each. They also focus more on city life than their counterpart, but the quality of the content is just as stunning. Nippon Wandering TV is perfect if you want something calming and beautiful on in the background while you plan that perfect post-pandemic trip to Japan.
If you have ever visited or lived in Japan, Japan Guide is probably a well-known name to you already. This Youtube channel complements their travel content online. The videos tend to be a bit more instructional than the last two channels mentioned and do also have a host on-screen. Japan Guide posts content with excellent quality and provides helpful lifestyle and travel tips. If you want inspiration for a future trip to Japan, Japan Guide has a plethora of information for you to explore.
Monocle Films is not so much a Japanese Youtube channel as it is a general travel and lifestyle channel. They prefer to stick to a more traditional sense of media not inundated with social platforms. This is something that Anthony likes about Monocle Films. They don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or other such profiles, but they are active publishers of podcast content (which they call Monocle Radio), Youtube videos, and a monthly magazine. Monocle Films also publishes guidebooks and has a café in Shibuya, Japan. Their collection of videos about Japan has such a high standard of quality that it feels more like a short film series. If you’re looking for sophisticated content on Japan, check out Monocle Films and their various resources on the country, as well as many others.
Although the name of this channel may suggest the image of a man raising llamas in Tokyo, Tokyo Llama is actually even more interesting. Jaya is an Australian native who vlogs about purchasing and renovating an abandoned farmhouse in Ibaraki. The issue of abandoned houses is an big one for the Japanese government. As the population shrinks and younger people move into the cities to find work, more and more rural homes are being abandoned for nature to reclaim. Anthony is unsure of the details, but what seems to happen is that when the owners pass away, their younger surviving relatives may procrastinate on dealing with the home their loved ones left behind. The Japanese government faces a pile of paperwork needed to tear down the homes. Ultimately, the houses fall into disrepair and are left alone. Such houses are even free to those who offer to remodel and repair; at worst, they are dirt cheap. Jaya documents his experience of taking one such home and turning it into his own. This sort of project looks inspiring on the screen, but it would be a lot of work to tackle. Why not just watch it on Youtube? Give Tokyo Llama a look to watch Jaya’s work and understand this process better.
Japanese Domestic Market Masters, or JDM Masters for short, is a car-specific channel; if that’s not your cup of tea, feel free to move on to our next suggestion! Anthony, however, has a real love for cars…especially Japan’s golden stretch of car manufacturing between the late 1980s to early 2000’s. Anthony offers a sneak peek at the many traditions and subcultures that helped shape Japan’s car industry at the time, including the “gentlemen’s agreement” amongst car manufacturers that no one would make a car with an engine more powerful than 280 horsepower. Of course, everyone secretly did just that. It was a sports car era, after all. While many of the cars made in this decade were officially listed at 280 horsepower, car enthusiasts who went the extra mile to test run the vehicles often discovered the numbers were much higher. This is the sort of in-depth look at Japan’s car industry you can expect to find at JDM Masters’ channel. They are professionals in the car industry and post raw, well-made content from around the country. If you like Japanese cars, this is the channel for you.
Van Girl Yuka
Although this channel is based in Canada, its host Yuka is 100% Japanese. She’s also 100% the odd one out in her mountain biking niche, which is predominated by young white men. Anthony has discussed his love of mountain biking in a previous episode of this podcast, so it should be no surprise that Yuka’s channel appeals to him. Yuka and her partner travel around North America, living in a van and documenting their mountain biking and outdoor adventures. Even though Yuka is physically small, she dominates the mountain biking scene. She’s incredibly skilled at what she does, and her channel is a fun look into a Japanese person living their best life abroad. Check it out!
The last Youtuber on this list is Ghib Ojisan, a Japanese Youtuber living and working in Singapore. Ghib keeps the tone of his content comedic yet informative, often comparing life in Japan to life in Singapore. For example, the two countries have vastly different working environments, which Ghib seems to enjoy poking fun at. His videos are subtitled in both Japanese and English, which makes them approachable learning resources. Ghib also has a food-themed Youtube channel called “Taberu Ojisan,” as well as a tourism website about Singapore. If you’re a former or current expat and find yourself comparing Japanese culture to your own, Ghib’s channel might be a refreshing watch.
What’s next for Tokyo Podcast?
That’s it for Anthony’s recommended Youtube channels. He expects to be off-air for some time while he finishes quarantine and settles down in Canada. He is still unsure about an exact date for when he can recommence recording shows but promises at least one more episode that he’s put a lot of time and work into. This is an episode Anthony is excited to air and will include several great interviews that he’s put together. Until then, thanks for listening in on Anthony’s favorite Japanese Youtubers! Remember to check out all the cool channels in this article.