I started my YouTube channel "Abroad in Japan" because...
I started the channel
back in August 2012 about a month after I'd moved to Japan. I only really planned to use Abroad in Japan
as a way of showing my family and friends back home that I was still alive at the time. Also, as a wannabe filmmaker
, living in Japan gave me an excuse to produce videos, as I came across so many interesting things in everyday life and I knew I had to share them somehow.
My Japan is...
My dry sense of British humor
Sarcasm in Japan seems to work about as well as donkeys in space. Henceforth, I tend to avoid using it in everyday life.
The appeal of the Odigo47 project
Carpool karaoke with Odigo47 — Photo via Youtube on the Odigo Travel
Abroad in Japan and Odigo have the same aim: to promote Japan. I dedicate a lot of my time trying to promote Tohoku
these days as I believe it's Japan's best-kept secret. When the chance to promote Tohoku came up, I thought it was a great opportunity for Odigo and Abroad in Japan to work together.
Discovery & simplicity
I like to see things visualized on a map
—maps excite me, as they conjure up thoughts of adventure and discovery. I think Odigo is an excellent planning tool because the site is based around this concept. You have a nice big map of Japan you can scroll around, find somewhere new, add to your itinerary, hit a button to turn it into a slick PDF and away you go. It's that sense of discovery and simplicity that makes the site so fun to use.
Yearning for Yamagata
I actually really enjoyed exploring Yamagata
, the prefecture I called home for three years, as we visited two places I'd always wanted to go: Ginzan Onsen
Next up, Niigata
I wish we could have seen more of Niigata
—we only had time to visit the city and Sado Island
. Unfortunately, we made the accident of spending too much time on Sado Island, which was beautiful, but a bit too cold to visit in March (when we went).
Beef that can bankrupt you
Digging into some Yonezawa steak in Yamagata — Photo via Youtube on the Odigo Travel
was probably the (food) highlight of the trip for me, as I'm a steak lover and this was some of the best steak I've ever had. It's so well-marbled and the fat quite literally melted in my mouth (as it melts at a low temperature). I'd eat Yonezawa beef every week if doing so wouldn't make me bankrupt.
When the weather isn't your friend
The weather was a bit annoying. I don't recommend traveling Japan in March as it's quite cold. There's occasional snow, but it's all a bit cold and damp. It meant we couldn't show some of the locations—like Sado Island
—in the best light.
Take a car, if you can
Going for a ride in the Japanese countryside — Photo via Youtube on the Abroadin Japan
Seeing Japan by car
is the best way to travel—it's the kind of country where getting lost in the countryside is strongly advised, and car is the best way to do that.
Vending machines that sell sake?!
Every picture tells a story
I'd take more photos. I often take so much time filming things, that I forget to take pictures. It'd be fun to create a photo album to go along with each trip and share it below the videos.
(Not) the art of noise
Don't be too noisy in public spaces such as trains or in the street. It's important to be more aware of your surroundings in Japan and the effect your behavior may have on others. There's a real emphasis on putting those around you before yourself that I wish we had more of in the West.
Learning the local lingo
What do you recommend?
Osusume wa nan desu ka?
This phrase is very useful if you're in a restaurant or bar and you want to know what the best dish/drink may be; particularly if you can't read the menu if it's all in Japanese characters.
Follow in Abroad in Japan's footsteps. Plan your unforgettable trip to Japan!