Tag Archive | YouTube

J-Vlogger Spotlight – Chris Broad

As much as I love sarcastic humor, I can’t be as sarcastic as I’d like while writing here. The issue with sarcasm isn’t that it comes off as being bitter and possibly resentful, but that the written word isn’t always understood to be sarcasm.

However, if you want some spoken sarcasm, and you’re into watching videos about Japan, let me steer you towards Chris Broad of Abroad In Japan.

When he started his videos, they were basically like sending a letter home to say that he was still alive and doing well. After a while, he started having some fun, teaching profane English words to Japanese people and walking through love hotels. More recently, he’s been focusing on the area of Tohoku, where he currently lives and where he wants to boost tourism.

I barely think I need to do an entry about Abroad In Japan. Quite a few of his videos have been shared by other websites. He has also popped up on other channels, alongside Rachel And Jun for example, and has been featured on Odigo Travel.

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, Chris has a few videos with tips to help you improve your skills with the language. Based on his recommendations, I tried Memrise as one of the many tools I use to learn Japanese, and I have Anki on my computer though I really haven’t used it.

If your interests are about the sights of Japan, then he has you covered. Want to see a robot restaurant, with flashing lights and a stunning floor show? How about an early morning stroll through a market that sells fresh food, where you can get fried chicken for breakfast? Do you want to see the final burial spot of Jesus Christ? I wish I was kidding about anything he has on his channel, but some of these things exist.

Oh, and he does have two videos about love hotels, and a video about an owl cafe, and yet another video about a sake vending machine. All of the normal things are covered.

If you want to see Chris interact with Japanese people, that does happen in most of his videos. However, I do recommend the video where he teaches swear words to Japanese people. Play that video in a room full of people who have no issues with profanity, and you’ll get a few laughs. He also has a few videos where he has Japanese people try British or other foreign foods, such as Marmite and international chocolate. Why he subjected someone, anyone, to eating Hershey’s chocolate is beyond me, because their chocolate candy bars have an awful texture and are only good for s’mores, but that’s my opinion.

Recently he participated in a TED Talk about being a YouTube vlogger and living in Tohoku. If there was one thing to take away from that, it would be to just pick up a camera and show something awesome about where you live. Give people a reason to visit your area. Chris has found so many amazing things just in the Tohoku area, and says that it would drive up tourism if more people knew about what the area has to offer.

Lately there haven’t been many updates to the channel, with a new video about once a month or so.

However, Chris is supposedly working on something special with his friend Natsuki, and it should be interesting when that’s finished. Natsuki is… a character, for lack of a better description. If a video has Natsuki in it, the video will be far from serious. Natsuki is often involved when Chris is showing something from another country. The special project that Chris is working on will involve Natsuki running around the United Kingdom, and his reactions to things that are mundane to the rest of us should be interesting.

Chris also has another channel that rarely gets updated, called Abroad Perspective. It was started with the intention of continuing some of his reaction-type videos and being less about travel and tourism. I recommend subscribing to it just the same, if you do enjoy his videos.

I also recommend following his Instagram. If you’re aware of what many people are like on Instagram, especially with the Instagram Stories feature, then following Chris’ Instagram will be entertaining. He is his sarcastic self, starting his Instagram Stories by saying, “Yay, Instagram Stories!” He then finds something that’s not worthy of being talked about, and talks about it. One of his early Instagram Stories was a sandwich he randomly picked up at a convenience store, and he barely knew what was in the sandwich. It was worthy of a snicker, in the way it parodied anyone’s “amazing” food that they bought.

Time for all the links that are fit to print!

Are there any other links that would be relevant?

And were you expecting me to spotlight someone I’ve already mentioned in other entries? I’m getting there, don’t worry. But if you want me to check out any other YouTube J-vloggers, or even any Japanese blogs, leave a comment below, and I might spotlight them soon!

J-Vlogger Spotlight – CharlesTALK

Okay, I’ve talked about Victor (Gimmeabreakman, Gimmeaflakeman) twice now. He’s not the only thing I watch on YouTube, either.

I started thinking about it, and I’ve only started watching certain YouTube channels because YouTube recommended them to me. If there was one thing I really wanted, it would be a list of people living in Japan, who do videos of Japan or their life in Japan. But then, would I watch them all because Japan? What should I watch for entertainment and what should I watch if I want to learn about society and culture?

So you know what? I’m going to try and review the YouTube channels I watch, or at least the Japanese ones. Starting with… Charles!

If you’re ever on my Instagram, you’ll see it’s nearly devoid of selfies. I have more pictures of Japanese food, especially whatever I’ve attempted to cook, than I have of pictures of myself. Every so often, someone subscribes to me who I don’t know. Usually it’s an actor who seems to be struggling in Hollywood, and their likes and subscriptions are their way of getting me to notice them and their work. And hey, if I watch the show they’re in, it’ll remain on the air and they’ll still have a job, and it all works out. But I don’t do the whole “influencer” thing, so I don’t follow back unless they seem interesting.

So one day I had someone follow me who has a YouTube channel, and his Instagram screen name is Charusharu. I looked over the pics in the Instagram, and I was like, “…okay.” So I followed him back and subscribed to his YouTube channel. Sometime after that, he released a video thanking his first 100 subscribers, and I was in disbelief. I never checked his subscriber count, or how long his channel had been around, and I was one of his first one hundred subscribers.

So what’s he like?

If anime and video games are things that interest you about Japan, then you’ll like Charles. His Instagram has a lot of Nintendo-related pictures, such as Pokemon, Legend Of Zelda and some Mario. Some of his pictures and videos reference various anime titles, between classics like Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon, and more recent titles such as Spice And Wolf. I think I post more food than he does, but he’s actually posting from Japan so he gets to post more authentic foods and things that can’t or just aren’t imported over here.

His channel CharlesTALK has the majority of his videos, but he also has a second YouTube channel, Charusharu. On the main channel, he doesn’t have too many videos yet, so if you start watching him now, you won’t be overwhelmed with where to begin or how many hours of your life you’re going to lose just trying to catch up. Make sure that captions are turned on, because he often speaks Japanese in his videos. Sometimes he switches to English, but not always.

If you want to see what he’s like before you check out his other videos, I recommend starting with his two videos about the ten things he loves about Japan. On one hand, it gets into his interests, but at the same time he’s talking about some of the best things that are either in Japan or that came out of Japan. No, it’s not all video games, anime, and Pokemon! He talks about the bullet trains, the vending machines, school culture, and…. well, I won’t spoil it, but his list might make you interested in visiting Japan if you weren’t already interested.

His alternate channel only has three videos so far. Of those, I recommend the video showing the Japanese cosplayers at Nipponbashi, which is related to a video on his main channel where he interviewed some of the cosplayers.

I do recommend subscribing to his YouTube channels, and also following him on Instagram. I won’t say he’s good at interacting with his fans, but I will say he does actively give “likes” to Instagram posts and will also read and leave comments. “Interacting with his fans” sounds like I’m putting him up on a pedestal, and while this entire entry is already doing just that, I don’t really feel like there’s much distance between Charles and those who watch him. Maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t seem like a celebrity, he just seems like a nice guy who shares some of my interests (and possibly your interests as well). When I start to discuss other YouTube channels that talk about life in Japan, I’ll point out how it became more of a business venture instead of just posting videos for fun, and you’ll understand why I’m highlighting Charles now.

I suppose it would help if I added a few links.

He also has a Twitter account… so do I, but I don’t use my Twitter unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also, I don’t like being limited to 120 characters, as you can tell.

Go forth and enjoy his videos!

Meanwhile, before I get to some of the other YouTube channels I watch, I’d like to know if you already watch some Japanese YouTube channels or read any Japan-based blogs. I know I have a follower on here who IS a Japan-related blog, maybe I have more than one. Regardless, leave me a comment and tell me what vlogs and blogs I should look at next!

War Of The Roses That She’s Not Getting

I’m not sure, but I think I started a fight between my friend and her insignificant other.

We were on the topic of Valentine’s Day being the next day, and I was trying to see if he had anything planned for her. He gave every excuse he could, because either things cost money they didn’t have (she said he could have skimmed some from their joint account), or her favorite flowers aren’t in season and only last a single day (lousy reason to not bother getting flowers), or every other excuse you could think of.

I suggested that he could go to Lush and spend a couple bucks to get a massage bar, then give her a massage. That, too, was too much money (the massage bars are about $5). Candlelight dinner, running to the store for two taper candles, and I’d take the kids out for dinner so they could be alone together. My friend actually said she’d rather have dinner with her/their kids than to have dinner with him. What about a card? I suggested using the art supplies that are everywhere in the house, but he said his art skills are nonexistent, and my friend said that he just doesn’t want to put in the effort.

There was some screaming, thankfully none of it was directed at me.

I happened to recall a time when I tried to encourage him to do something romantic for her for her birthday. I had to pull up that conversation to see how it went, only to find it was from 2009 and included him saying the words, “our inevitable breakup.” For about eight years, he’s been staying with her past their “inevitable breakup.” I’ve witnessed a few shouting matches between them, and I’ve also sat in on family therapy meetings which also addressed their relationship to try and work on improving things. At this point, I just want my friend to be happy, whether that means acknowledging her relationship as being dissolved or if it means trying to get the guy to do something romantic.

At one point in the discussion, he asked what she had done for him, or was doing for him. It was his birthday on the 12th, and she spent two days making and decorating a cake for both him and their older son. But I also mentioned that no one would keep giving something to a person if the other person didn’t reciprocate.

Valentine’s Day in Japan wasn’t my first thought, but I did mention it, as girls make chocolates for the guys in whom they’re interested and then the guys do something for the girls on March 14, White Day. The idea wasn’t about putting my friend on the spot, it was about getting the guy to be all manly and romantic.

The morning of Valentine’s Day, I woke up to a reply to my message, which included links to a few different love songs. I felt like the way to my heart was through my headphones, as I was dreamily smiling throughout the day. There was more than just the YouTube links, but that much is personal.

I asked my friend what her guy had done. Nothing. He bought a card for their kids to sign, but that was the extent of it all. Even though he had to run to the store after we listed so many suggestions, he didn’t act on any of them.

I can understand his thinking if he worried that she would act like it was expected, like if she scoffed at him and sarcastically remarked, “was that so hard?” If he had done something and that was her reaction, then I’d side with him for her ungrateful behavior. If he did something romantic that we actually hadn’t suggested, and she liked it, then I would be glad that we managed to light a fire under him.

But he did nothing.

And I spent the day in a state of bliss because of an e-mail. A string of characters, of words on the screen, the cost of which was mostly time. A thought was passed along to me, not chocolates which would add to my waistline or flowers which would perish sooner than I’d like. A few paragraphs which chased away my demons of self-doubt and made me feel loved, and even if I spent a moment thinking it was a ruse, I soon told myself that he wouldn’t have spent the time if he didn’t care about me.

Because about an hour after the first message was sent, another one was sent with more YouTube links to music videos. So he didn’t just send the first message and clear the thought of me from his mind, he spent another hour looking at music videos to send to me.

How did my friends spend their day?

My friend played World Of Warcraft, and her guy made dinner for everyone. And even though we all discussed having spaghetti earlier in the day, complete with my friend asking for a loaf of bread from a bakery she liked, dinner was tacos because he wanted tacos.

I might have felt worse for them than I did. The problem was, she expected to get nothing from him, and she got exactly that. I don’t think that was right, but that this point in their relationship, maybe what’s broken can’t be fixed. All I could do was shrug off their situation and go back to feeling damned lucky and thankful for what I had in my own life.

I’m not in the group of people who says that Valentine’s Day has anything to do with buying things for your partner. I’m not someone who says the day has to be all about what the guy does for the girl. I wish everyone could feel loved on Valentine’s Day, and I wish people knew that it doesn’t cost a thing to express that love to another person. You don’t always need to use your own words, sometimes poetry and songs convey the message you can’t seem to let flow from your heart. What matters is that your favorite person knows that you are eternally grateful for their presence in your life, a sentiment that shouldn’t be saved for Valentine’s Day but made known throughout the year.

The Valentine Conundrum

All of my best stories start with the words, “So, there’s this guy…”

So, there’s this guy… and I like him, and he seems to like me. That’s a good start, I think.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. What do I do?

Chocolate is out of the question. I don’t live close enough to get it to him. Should I have thought of that sooner, and then possibly shipped it to him? I did think of that. Unfortunately, when I had the time, I was uncertain of what I even felt for him and what he felt for me. So that rules out not only chocolate, but also anything handmade.

I could write something, like a story. But I decided against that.

Instead, I decided I would record a video and put it on YouTube.

My first thought was to record myself talking. Let’s face it, I’m nothing special to gaze upon, my speaking voice isn’t the greatest, and I’m otherwise boring when it comes to things to say. With my luck, I would even make dumb jokes and laugh at myself, or I would use so many filler words and awkward silences that it would be difficult to watch. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, if he’s interested in me, he might ignore all the flaws and think it’s the sweetest video ever.

Personally, I don’t really want to stare at myself as I replay the video, because I’m going to criticize everything about myself before I decide I wasted some amount of my life trying to make something nice.

Instead, I decided to aim my computer’s built-in webcam at the television screen. I opened up SingStar on my Playstation 4, then complained about the distinct lack of music in SingStar’s SingStore before complaining about my very limited library of songs to choose from.

Before recording anything, I performed the one song that I decided would be acceptable to record. I ended with the top score, beating out my previous scores. I wasn’t too thrilled, because that would mean I had to work harder to beat that score. Of course, it wasn’t the score I was really going for, it was the performance.

I pressed the button on my computer to record the video, then started to play the song. I sang as naturally as I could manage, not trying to adjust my pitch to hit certain notes. When the song ended, it tallied up my score, and I ended with a score that topped my previous attempt. I stuck my head into the video recording and grinned widely, proud of what I had achieved, and then I stopped the recording.

I uploaded the video to YouTube, marking it as unlisted because it’s not meant for anyone else and I especially don’t want to deal with copyright claims. Once it was uploaded and processed, I watched the video for the first time. The lighting wasn’t the best, as the television screen was coming in too brightly and nothing on the screen could be seen. My singing was better than I had feared, but still worse than how I always think it sounds. And then I looked like an idiot when my head popped onto the screen. At least I was the only person in the house at the time, because I think I would have been the butt of a number of jokes for about a half hour after my recording session.

My next trick is sending him the link. That’s as good as done.

But then, what if it’s not as special as I think I’m trying to be? What if he raises an eyebrow and thinks I’m weird? What if the feelings aren’t reciprocated?

On the other hand, what if I do nothing and he hoped to get something from me? What if he thinks I was being too casual while he feels something more?

But… what if it works out just right? What if the meaning isn’t lost to him? What if he has something more amazing in mind for me?

What am I even worried about? Haven’t I already learned that if things are awkward, it’s not meant to be? Haven’t I learned that if the feelings aren’t reciprocated, it’s no reason to worry because someone else out there might be a better fit? Haven’t I learned anything?

I am calm, I assure you. I won’t lose sleep over this. Well, I might lose sleep if things work out too well, because I’ll ask myself what I did to deserve something so wonderful.

But if it’s all a fantasy in my mind, if I’ve exaggerated things and fell in love with my hopes and dreams, then it’s been fun but I need to return to reality. But not today! Today, I’ll celebrate love and romance. I will not be depressed because I’m single, but I’ll rejoice in my perseverance to find love, and I will give myself the love I deserve. And if my valentine becomes a new relationship, then everything would have been worth it. If things don’t go in that direction, then I’m prepared to let go.

Am I prepared to let go? Is anyone prepared for that? No, I don’t want to let go, at least not to what I feel for him. I want to let go of the thoughts that tell me this won’t work out, that he doesn’t feel that strongly for me, every thought that would sabotage a perfectly good thing. Haven’t I had these thoughts before? What do I really fear?

No, we will boldly go forth, and we will let things happen as they will. Because if things don’t work out, so what? One day, there will be another, and I’ll make a fool of myself again. And if things do work out, then maybe I don’t need to worry about finding love in the future.

Also, if things do work out, then I won’t have this internal monologue of self-doubt and confidence, I might just have the confidence.

Isn’t it fun to fall in love have the emotional roller coaster?

Why Still Single? What Should You Change About Yourself?

I was watching videos on YouTube earlier today, when I came across one from a channel called Find Your Love In Japan. Well okay, I won’t rule out finding love in Japan, and I’ve watched a few videos from that channel which have given me hope that I could find love over there. But the one video in particular was titled, “Why Do You Think I’m Still Single?” It was the owner of the channel doing his normal street interviews, but he was asking people what he could change about himself to become more attractive to the opposite gender.

In the video, people asked Nobita about his personality, and they cited various things about his appearance and such. As someone who knows as much about him as everyone who met him on the street, I have to say I wouldn’t change a thing about him. Let me tell you why.

People could tell you to go to the gym, either to lose weight or to bulk up your muscles. There will always be people who like chubbier people or less muscular guys.

People could tell you to dress more nicely, either to wear a nice suit or dress or just to not wear sneakers. You never know when you might need to get a little dirty or you might need to run or climb for the sake of helping the one who’s caught your eye.

People can tell you to change your sense of humor, to be less sarcastic or bitter or something. You could bore your partner if they’re holding back because they don’t think you’d appreciate their sarcasm.

You can cut your hair short, but there will be someone looking for long haired partners.

You can hide your interests, perhaps going so far as to sell every comic book or video game or figurine that you own. True love might have walked in to the nerd convention that you decided not to attend.

Maybe you’re sensing a trend. If not, here’s the secret: no matter what you change about yourself, there will always be someone who wants a person like how you used to be.

“But what if there’s something I really have to change about myself?” you ask. That’s a good question. Start with your last relationship. If you’ve never had a relationship, I highly recommend jumping into one. You might have to lower your standards a bit, and that might be part of your issue (looking for absolute perfection and expecting to find it without getting to know a person). After your relationship comes to an end, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Now you have a starting point to figure out what it is you need to change, because now you’ll know that something didn’t work and you’ll know what it is. If it’s something you can change, then you probably should try to change that.

If you just want to change something for the sake of being a new person, then take cooking classes, or learn how to do basic maintenance on a car, or learn massage therapy, some kind of skill that might be useful later on. To start, any classes you take will put you around people also trying to learn the same things, which means you have a chance to ask someone out on a date to “practice what you’re learning.” Whether or not you use it as an opportunity to practice your new skills is up to you. If your classes are filled with people who are absolutely not your type, it’s not an issue. When you finish the class, you’ll know how to make something better than blue-box macaroni and cheese, or you’ll be able to change the oil in a car, or you can work on achy muscles, or you’ll have learned some useful skill. Then when you do meet the right person, you can impress them with your cooking, fix their car when they’re in a bind, take care of their neck muscles after they slept in a weird position, or whatever else you learned.

But of course, everything comes down to one thing: how confident are you?

Confidence is your ace in the hole. You need to be confident enough that you have a genuine smile on your face. Shyness will only get you so far, as it’s one thing to be shy because you’re nervous but chronic shyness will keep you from everything. If you’re not comfortable in the clothes you’re wearing, or the way your hair looks, or the shoes you’re wearing, then change and wear something that will make you feel comfortable and confident. Decide for yourself if you want to find someone who likes you for you, or if you want someone who likes people who are everything you aren’t. Also understand that you could still attract a person whose type is usually all of the things that don’t equate to being you, and they might find you charming as you are.

Ruling out negative personality aspects, if you’re still single, it’s not you but rather just timing. You will find love eventually, and whatever dry spell you’re facing exists only to make you appreciate love when it comes. Just be the best, most honest version of yourself that you can be, and things will eventually fall into place. If your heart pulls you towards a certain location, try traveling there and see what happens. Even a failed relationship gives you an opportunity to learn about yourself and what you need to change, if anything. Don’t be afraid to fall in love, and don’t deny your feelings to yourself.

And denying your feelings works both ways. If you’re into a person, but things don’t look right in theory, give it a shot regardless. If you’re not into a person but can’t figure out why not, give it a shot but keep one foot outside in case you need to run.

Beyond that, if you’re still single, tell yourself that a significant other would just hold you back from your real destiny, then focus your time and energy on your passions. Who knows? You might be a writer of some sort, who would channel your emotions into a song or a poem or a full novel.

But go forth confidently, and become the person you believe is deserving of love. (Here’s a hint: you are already deserving of love, you just need to find it)