When people visit or move to a different country, they usually find it’s different from the image they’ve conjured up in their heads. Fortunately for those interested in Japan, there are quite a few channels on YouTube devoted to bringing you a real glimpse at everyday life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
In one recent video, three prominent bloggers from the Japan vlogging community met up last week to introduce three myths that people abroad often believe about Japan.
Myth 1: Japanese subculture fashion in Tokyo
Sharla from Sharla in Japan:
“I’ve seen lots of comments of people saying, ‘It’s so cool how you can wear whatever you want in Japan! …So I think people have this image that maybe everywhere you go in Tokyo you’ll see people dressed up like lolita, visual kei, or gyaru style. But I feel like it’s confined to smaller areas…”
That would certainly be the case! These kinds of fashions are almost exclusively worn around Shibuya and Harajuku. If you head over to Nerima district (northern Tokyo), it’s very unlikely you’ll see a group of lolita or other different fashion subcultures.
Myth 2: Japanese food is healthy
Chris from A Broad in Japan:
“Before I came [to Japan] everyone was like, ‘Ah yeah, you’ll lose so much weight there!’ …If anything, I put on more weight.”
Yep, there’s no magic spell in Japan that makes you thinner when you arrive! Maybe compared to other countries a traditional Japanese diet is healthier overall, but Japan also has its share of of delicious, bad-for-you food as well, and hardly anyone eats nothing but true “Japanese” food anymore, so if you don’t watch what you eat you’ll gain weight. That convenience store chicken sure is good, though.
Myth 3: Japan is so weird
Rachel from Rachel & Jun:
“…Most of the stuff that’s weird here is going to be weird to Japanese people, too. It’s not like Japanese watch this stuff [weird commercials, anime, or TV shows] and think, ‘Oh, well it’s just another day in Japan.’”
This writer and our Japanese reporter Yayoi have to agree; even with its fair share of weird stuff, most of Japan is pretty normal. At least we think so…
Even though you might see a lot of strange Japanese products and commercials on overseas websites, try to keep in mind that these are only a part of Japan. We at RocketNews24 love to celebrate all things funny and bizarre from Japan and Asia, but at the end of the day it’s our job to find this stuff to share with you, and most Japanese would be just as surprised or amused by the stuff we feature on these here pages as we are, so there’s plenty in this video that we can agree with.
With almost 120,000 views to date, it looks like the message is getting out there. Some commenters attribute these myths to anime or manga presenting an alternate version of Japan, while others say the popularity of fashion and other Japanese “weirdness” is just a form of escapism from daily life. Do any you have your own ideas? We’d love to hear them!