This was originally going to be a compilation of my new inspirations from 2016 across several social media sites, but my list turned into something more of a YouTube sponsor! That isn’t what this is of course, but I’ve tuned into YouTube more than any other medium this past year, with favorites covering everything from fashion, fitness, food, and travel. I’ll only list the channels touching on Japanese culture here, but feel free to suggest any of your own favorite YouTube channels, podcasts, or blogs you think I should check out.
Texan in Tokyo starts the list, though it should be noted that Grace and Ryousuke Mineda have actually retired from YouTube and are currently on a year hiatus from Twitter and other social accounts. I started watching them a little over a year ago, but really became invested in their lives after they left Tokyo for the countryside. Their genuine love for each other and exploring the world around them jumped out from the screen. Vloggers always talk about how they feel like their followers are a part of the family, but I never felt truer than when I was experiencing one of the Mineda’s “Day in the Life” videos and reading Grace’s comics. With them, I brushed up on my knowledge of Japanese culture, both in the city and in the country, I visited lesser known cultural sites, and I walked through a small town as if it were my own. I respect their decision to leave YouTube and try to start a family, and wish them all the best for the future whether or not they reconnect with the public.
Another married couple I only recently discovered are Simon and Martina. They grew up in Canada and currently live in Japan, but have a substantial amount of material from their time in Korea. Obviously since they live in Japan, much of their content is Japanese; the same is true for when they lived in Korea. They travel to so many other places, always graciously including their fans on their adventures in some way or form. I ended up both subscribing to them on YouTube and following them on Instagram. Maybe it’s because I’m married now, but I feel more invested in following couples than I used to–before I just followed beauty videos. Simon and Martina cover a huge range of videos, the majority of which include in some way or form food and travel, which are my favorite. I absolutely adore watching the way they eat since they easily express their myriad of emotions with every bite.
A very, very new find is Taylor R, another Japanese resident originally from Canada who does a lot of daily vlogging. I can’t really mention her without bringing up some of the other YouTube creators who frequently appear on her videos, like Sharla in Japan and Kim Dao, whom I also follow. Lately I’ve been really enjoying Taylor’s videos since she has such an engaging personality that makes you feel like you’re actually hanging out and goofing off with her. She also has an almost unparalleled love for Christmas, and her Vlogmas videos have been a daily treat during this holiday season. Much of her content includes fashion since she is a model, shopping, and eating healthy.
I subscribe to a fair number of podcasts, mostly through NPR, but I do keep up with Anime World Order’s almost monthly schedule. They are currently the only anime podcast I listen to, though past subscriptions included Random Curiosity and The Tangles, both of whom stopped airing the previous year. The hosts of AWO have an impressive knowledge of anime I cannot hope to challenge, and balance well their individual strengths and interests. I don’t always agree with their opinions, such as on Gerald’s and Daryl’s review of Initial D, but I do always value the time they put into their work.
Shame on me for adding hardly any new anime blogs on my feed! 2017, I endeavor to read more and hopefully find some great new and existing bloggers. I do follow a fair number of bloggers, but I have been horrible about actually commenting on posts. I am guilty! I also vow to comment on every post I fully read starting now.