- In a very special edition of Tokyo podcast, Anthony speaks to Scott Akerman, a huge inspiration for him when contemplating the move to Japan. Scott runs the popular YouTube channel Unrested which offers informative and engaging videos that detail Japanese culture.
- His videos range from life advice, FAQ to reviews. He deals with all aspects of life in Japan – not just the bright, the shiny and the fun anecdotes but also information that goes beyond the basic.
In the realm of Supercomputers
Supercomputers are unlike your average desktop computer. It’s the size of a refrigerator filling up a giant room and is used by universities and institutions for calculations like predicting an earthquake. Fujitsu now takes the lead in producing the fastest computers which can do some serious calculations. Some even claim that this is close to the calculation potential of the human brain! We won’t be carrying that large size of machine but the technology used in it eventually trickles down to laptops and cellphones people use every day.
Into robots? Check out the International Robot Exhibition happening at Tokyo Exhibition Center on November 9-12. With the theme Making the Future with Robots, there are booth displays featuring the role of robots in manufacturing large scale machines like cars to small items like vacuums.
Unrested in Japan
On the show is a gentleman who goes by the name Unrested on his popular YouTube channel. He made all sorts of videos on his life in Osaka and about Japan. In fact, his channel inspired Anthony to move to Japan!
Scott was a Public School Art Teacher in the US. When the school closed, he wanted to continue teaching and learn another language, so he searched what it would be like to teach in another country. He figured out that if he went to Japan, he would be forced to learn the language, immerse in its culture, and teach at the same time.
Information on the internet was out of date and was mostly on the bubble burst. Most of it also came from programs that brought people over to teach English such as the JET program and eikaiwa or language schools.
They say that the honeymoon period of living in Japan is around the first 3 months followed by the reality of dealing with life. It would also be hard to fit in Japanese society unless one studied extensively or went to college. After 2-3 months upon arrival in Japan, many of Scott’s colleagues were sent back and thus losing friends. Anthony also shared that he was similarly advised by his Japanese friends in Thailand to nail the language and make Japanese friends. The great thing in Japan though, people can be relied on and they would even be excited to help.
Scott would advise that when coming to Japan under a company, it would be better to investigate it as thoroughly as possible. If one can stay away from eikaiwa route as much as possible and if one is brave and have money, come to Japan because there is so much to select from. Many gaijins went home after the quake and they left many jobs in Tokyo and Osaka. The process can be intimidating, but it also might be a better route.
Unrested is often asked if people can come to Japan and get a job other than teaching. If you went to college and studied Japanese with it, it would be an advantage. In learning the language, one should worry more about speaking than the grammar taught in books. Listening is a lot harder since one cannot predict people’s answers to their questions. Just hang on and speak as much as you can.
As one of Unrested’s video featured, keeping the harmony in the workplace is notable in Japanese culture. Suggesting changes or losing one’s temper can make Japanese people uncomfortable, although there are avenues and certain ways to express oneself’s views and opinions. This may therefore contradict gaijins who leave their own country to make their own life only to find out that in Japan, they would need to conform.
The shoganai or “nothing can be done” attitude is also still prevalent. One may encounter a lot of contradiction and stubbornness that prompt others to say that Japan lives in the future and the past at the same time!
Medical services in Japan?
Despite the advanced technology Japan is associated with, Scott and his wife’s experience of giving birth to a baby in the country did not live up to their expectations. Their some mishaps at a women’s clinic until they went to another doctor and hospital. A takeaway from their experience is that one should get a 2nd or 3rd opinion if in doubt and solicit recommendations on which doctors and hospitals to go.
Living Abroad and Coming Back
A brief trip back to America after several years made Scott realize he was already a little more comfortable in Japan. He attributes this to being able to speak a language not many can speak and the privacy it entails. He wishes he had more time to make Unrested videos but he will continue to make them as long as he can.
So if you’re coming to Japan, check out his videos to see what life in Japan is back then and right now. To join close to 10,000 other subscribers, head over to Unrested on YouTube.