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When you walk into a bakery, what kind of delicious baked goods do you expect to find?
Donuts perhaps, baguettes, maybe a decadent apple pie, I ask this because today I walk past a bakery
in a major Japanese train station, and there was a sign out front advertising all the mouth-watering goods on sale within.
I say mouth-watering, it wasn't really, because the goods on sale apparently included...
Rape fruit!
Man bread!
Custardpudding!
All right, maybe not that one, but rape fruit and man bread, honestly, how did it get to this?
I suppose, a lack of proofreading, if ever there was a better advert for the power of proofreading, it is the...
Just rape fruit and man bread, isn't it?
I mean, we could only hope that these food items are actually just grape free and non bread.
I don't know, I didn't want to go in the shop
I didn't particularly want to find out, anyway that was only the second most important thing to happen this week,
because ladies and gentlemen, we've finally hit 1 million subscribers, right here, on the Abroad in Japan channel.
Oh my God... I...
I instantly regret firing this thing.
That is a... That's a solid 20 minute cleaning up operation, right there.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who has followed the Abroad in Japan channel the last six years, watched the videos and subscribed
It's a double whammy of celebration because as well as getting 1 million subscribers, it is my 6 year anniversary, this month.
Six years since I arrived right here and started working as a teacher, with that in mind, to celebrate this milestone,
and having almost 3 times the number of subscribers as Simply Red.
I thought today, I would share with you 6 invaluable life lessons that I've learned,
whilst living in Japan, life lessons that I've learned whilst working as an English teacher,
whilst working as a Youtuber and whilst just being a bumbling fucking idiot in general, the last half-decade.
This video is the culmination of many ridiculous experiences that I've had,
and it's probably the most personal video that I've made to date as well
But hopefully by the end, you'll have at least learnt one life lesson, that you can kind of take away and apply to your own life.
I mean, you've probably already learned one thing, don't fire a fucking cracker in your own apartment
I mean, this is just... it's just awful. I should have heeded the warning on the packaging, to be honest, it does say...
Blows out huge amount of colorful streamers, very beautiful! Seriously, I should just stuck with the CGI balloons.
This is awful, they're everywhere these bloody things, nothing is worth this.
This is just... This is just an utter shit show. It takes me ages to clear this up
6 years, 6 stories and the first one starts in summer 2012, when I initially moved to Japan.
I've been told a few months earlier in April, that I'd got the job as an English teacher.
And in May, I found out where I was being placed, it was a prefecture called Yamagata.
And like anyone would, I immediately ran to the internet, where I typed in Yamagata, to see what I could find about this-this place,
where I'd be living, and all I could see on the Wikipedia page at that time was
Yamagata has cherries and that was basically it, that's all I had to go on, I was moving 8,000 miles away with no family,
no friends, no links to Japan whatsoever or any abilities in the Japanese language, but don't worry, there's gonna be cherries.
Yay
Consequently in those months leading up to my departure in August, as well as being very excited and ready to go,
I also started suffering severe anxiety for the first time in my life
Not because I had anything against cherries, cherries are great by all accounts
It's just that feeling of; I'm going somewhere very far away for a long time and I have no idea what to expect
It got to the point that for the first time ever, I started having panic attacks
and I didn't know what they were at first, I'd never had one.
And I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. It's not pleasant, but it started to happen pretty frequently in everyday life,
I'd be sitting on my bed and all of a sudden, it feel like a fucking Dementor had floated into the room.
I think the best way to describe a panic attack is, it feels like a switch has just magically been flipped
Your heart begins to race, your chest tightens and you feel like something is just terribly fundamentally wrong.
And you want to just get out, you want to escape, I was so naive about it all.
On the surface I was bragging about how brilliant and cool it was going to be, living on the other side of the world,
but inside I was very conflicted and far more scared than I ever realized.
I mean, it wasn't as if I could just pop back to the UK for tea and biscuits
I knew I wouldn't be coming back for at least a year, probably more.
and so my body tried to fight me on the decision mentally and physically,
but fortunately the plane tickets were already booked, the school was waiting
and I had accepted the job offer months before, I'd throw myself in the deep end.
It wasn't something, it wasn't something I could really back out of
And then in August, I flew to Japan and I spent the first few days in Tokyo, uhh, before I caught the next flight up to Yamagata,
to start my new life, and I remember pretty clearly coming in over Yamagata over the plane.
Seeing all the mountains and the rice fields in full bloom and thinking, wow,
This is looks bloody spectacular and between that stunning scenery, the warm and friendly welcome
I got from my colleagues at the school, gradually the anxiety died off, washed away by the thrill of living
Somewhere completely different and immersing myself for this new, this new life
I just felt like I'd achieved something, by being there, because it's been completely out of character for me to just
decide to move and live in rural Japan, in the middle of nowhere and it made me realize the importance of doing things outside your comfort zone.
Moving here was just about as far outside my comfort zone, as I could possibly imagine
It is one of the most important life lessons out there-there, if you want something really bad, but it scares you.
Maybe it's to start a new career,
Maybe it's to start a business or to travel and live overseas.
Try and dive into the deep end, confront it, face it down, challenge yourself, because it's through challenges and adversity that we become better, stronger people.
Best of all though, the cherries were amazing, Wikipedia was right.
When I started working as a teacher in a Japanese school, I didn't feel ready.
I wasn't prepared for it at all, in those first few months I was absolutely terrified walking into a classroom,
because there's you, a Japanese teacher, a chalkboard and 44 teenagers staring at your face, expecting something of value.
And above all, I was worried that the students wouldn't really be able to understand my accent
Especially as apparently, I sound like
an autistic Crocodile Dundee
But fortunately, unlike students in the UK where we actively make teachers cry, for fun
Japanese students are almost angelic in comparison.
I think the naughtiest student I can ever recall, in my three years of teaching, was a 17 year old boy.
He used to just sit in the classroom and shout out the word dick.
Over and over, in a childish attempt to make me laugh out loud, and of course it worked it was hilarious.
Dick
But I didn't really feel I was good at my job the first 6 months or so, I took things way too seriously,
I'd storm into the classroom, endlessly drill the students on grammar and how to pronounce words like
inconsequential and then I'd fuck off back to the staff room and keep my head down,
as a result students were actively avoiding me and my grumpy face.
And then one day, I had a bit of a breakthrough,
I watched Jack Black's School of Rock
And I realized the secret to winning over the hearts and minds of students, was music, or to be more specific
Beatboxing, which is the only music thing that I could do to some extent.
So whenever the class started going wrong, or I needed to break the ice with the students.
I would just spontaneously start beatboxing.
Everybody instantly stopped talking and they were like, yeah, English is fun now.
And gradually students realized, that I didn't take myself too seriously and I wasn't that, wasn't that scary after all.
So after 3 years of teaching in 2000 hours of classroom experience.
My lesson to you is, not to take yourself too seriously for an English teacher in Japan.
'Cause at the end of the day, your main role is to facilitate conversation, to get students
wanting to come over and chat with you and use the English they have actually learned.
If you can get students wanting to strike a conversation up with you or invite you to more classes,
because they enjoy you being there, then I think... You've effectively won in your role as an English teacher in Japan.
So remember, win the crowd and you will win your freedom.
In it.
Halfway through 2014, I came across a book called, Tadashii Fuck no Tsukaikata, the correct way to use fuck
It was a Japanese English textbook that taught swear words and phrases, as well as providing readers with context through fantastic illustrations.
You know until that day, I didn't really believe in a God, but to receive this-this book of remarkable teachings.
It felt like some kind of divine intervention and like any good preacher,
I set out to educate the local community with my newfound teachings.
Yeah.
However, because I was new to YouTube, I didn't really have a good camera and I ended up taking my smartphone.
And hence the image quality was absolutely terrible and then there was the dreadful camerawork
There are fucking farmyard animals who could have done a better job with that camera than I did.
Yet despite the awful image quality and the shoddy camerawork
It still went on to be my first viral video, quickly racking up hundreds of thousands of views and appearing all over the internet.
But it made me realize at the end of the day, when it comes to being successful on YouTube or on the internet in general.
You don't need the top-of-the-range equipment
You don't need the best cameras or the nicest drones
All you need is a good idea, something original, something compelling, something...
People haven't seen before, or a book teaching people how-to swear it. Blows my mind, how many people
spend thousands on big shiny new equipment, when all they really need is this and a good idea.
That is the bar, a smart phone and an idea, that's all you need to succeed on the wacky world of online media.
Admittedly maybe I did follow that philosophy with a bit too much conviction, for the longest time I didn't upgrade my equipment
I mean, we've only just got a drone for heaven's sakes and that was to-that was to finish; Ryotaro the Movie.
As far back as I can remember, I've always had two fears; the first is spiders,
and for that reason, I'll be damned if I'm ever setting foot in Australia, which is essentially the land of spiders.
The second fear is public speaking, I've always had a fear of public speaking, now, I know what you might be thinking.
Wait a minute, you're a YouTuber, you do public speaking all the time, but this isn't really public speaking.
I'm not standing in front of a crowded room delivering a monologue.
This is me, talking to a camera, in an empty room which to be fair presents his own set of challenges.
But I'd always avoided doing it,
I'd always say no, there was a time before I came to Japan,
where I had to give a talk to my University, and I was a crumbling stuttering wreck, my voice breaking, I'd stand there looking down.
Reading off the sheet, mumbling away before I ran offstage and hid under a duvet. However in September 2013, I've been studying Japanese.
Pretty hard, every single day for up to 5 or 6 hours, and I was very lucky to find an amazing Japanese tutor, a guy called, Mr. Ito, Ito sensei.
Who, you may have seen in the teaching swear words video, but impressed by my progress of Japanese,
He insisted, that I do the regional Japanese speech contest for foreigners
Which I told him, was well out of my depth. There was absolutely no way I could do it,
I'd have to create a 15-minute speech in Japanese.
Somehow memorize it and then deliver it fluently, in a room in front of 150 people,
But he really-really believed that I could do it that I could win,
and so eventually I caved in and I threw my future self into the deep end, once more.
One month later, I'd finished writing my groundbreaking speech,
about how I'd become addicted to FamilyMart Fried Chicken
Now it wasn't the most serious speech I've ever written and imagine my horror,
when I got a glimpse of the other contestants speeches, covering serious topics, such as...
family, identity, cultural assimilation.
Family Mart Fried Chicken.
The day rolled around and before I knew it I was standing in front of lots of important people, the local townsfolk,
colleagues from my school that made an effort to come, and of course Ito sensei, sitting there in the front row, and away I went.
Regaling the speech of my obsession with reasonably priced convenience store Chicken, about a minute into the speech
I could see people starting to smile, and then at three minutes.
Finally people started to laugh, and all of a sudden I felt incredible. It was amazing,
I was on top of the world, I was unstoppable, and then I forgot the entire speech.
Absolute train wreck.
It had gone, the magic had quickly turned to horror and humiliation,
and I felt like just diving out the nearest fucking window to escape, and of the dozen or so speakers,
mine was the only one to completely bomb, and when the awards ceremony rolled around at the end.
I kind of just snuck off quietly feeling just like utter crap.
I'd let myself down, I let Ito sensei down and my colleagues who had made a special effort to come on their one day off, because
Japanese teachers get about one or two days off in an entire year, and yet soon after that disaster, I realized that, in preparation for the speech contest,
my Japanese level would actually shot up a fair bit, and above all I'd realized the main reason that I'd failed, it was because of my memory.
I've never actually sat down and realized how just dreadful my memory was,
once I realized it was my memory that was screwing me over.
I spent a lot of money on various memory books and
spent the rest of the year sitting down training myself, how to actually get my memory working for the first time in my entire life.
And then the year rolled around and I applied for the speech contest once more, this time I took the speech
and broke it down by paragraphs and memorized each one, using the variety of techniques that I've learned.
The day came around and I was the last speaker to go out, which meant, I was an absolute nervous wreck by the time I did
Between the memorization techniques that I've learned and an additional year of Japanese study.
I was able to deliver the whole 15-minute speech fluently without any problems and remarkably, surprisingly,
I was able to win the contest.
It was honestly, one of my proudest achievements, to be able to memorize something like that, for the first time in my life in a foreign language.
I never thought I'd see the day, I'd be able to do that.
I was ecstatic and Ito sensei was equally proud, because he'd been a huge part of that victory.
But that whole experience it taught me, you can either let a failure just be a failure, or you can sit down,
look at it, learn from it, understand why you suck at something, and then try and do something about it.
I'd never have succeeded the second time that I not failed spectacularly the first time,
had I not got motivated from that failure, and two years later when I had the opportunity to do a TEDx talk in front of a much larger audience.
I didn't hesitate to say yes, because at that point I wasn't afraid anymore
Nothing can stand in my way now, except spiders, fuck that.
By late 2014, the aforementioned fried chicken addiction,
had started to take its toll and I began piling on the pounds
Worst of all, if you do put on weight in Japan, the people around you will let you know about it,
They won't hold back and I had to injure colleagues,
friends, even students, prodding me in the stomach every day.
Reminding me, that I was turning into the marshmallow man.
after mentioning my prodding plight to my good friend, Regan, a fellow vlogger who once lived in Japan, but has since moved back to the land of spiders.
He decided that we should do a 10,000 yen bet,
to see if I could lose 10 kilograms in ten weeks, and between the relentless prodding and the promise of 10,000 yen, it was an offer, I simply couldn't refuse.
I went off and drowned myself in Google, searching for various tips and techniques to lose weight, ultimately forging a diet consisting of
high-protein, low-carb meals.
Intermittent fasting, where you only eat for eight hours during the day, and I would jog, 3 or 4 times a week, as well.
Week 10 rolled around and guess what? I only lost 8 kilograms,
I've lost the bet and I had to hand over the money to Regan, but grudgingly.
But at the same time I was also the fittest I'd been in a decade, and so in a sense,
I still kind of felt like I've won, I suddenly realized that annoying and often overused phrase;
Aim for the moon and if you fail, you'll still land amongst the stars.
I realized it was actually kind of right, you know, I never-I'd never reached my destination, but on the journey there
I'd still achieve something that made me feel pretty great. I mean, how do I not attempted to lose 10 kilograms.
I wouldn't have been eight kilograms lighter, and that lesson kind of resonated with me recently
when I bought a fitness tracker one of these things, I've been trying to do 10,000 steps every day for the last month, and...
Meanwhile, a lot of people have been telling me, this thing isn't accurate,
it doesn't really work, and that maybe-maybe it is off by a few hundred steps, but I've still been doing.
I've still been trying to do 10,000 steps a day, and subsequently I've lost 5 kilograms in the last month.
So although it genuinely pains me to say it, aim for the moon and if you fail, it'll still be amongst the Stars
Undeniably one of the greatest things about being a YouTuber,
Are you guys the viewers, most viewers are kind, funny, supportive...
And then you've got a weird category of people who you can't quite work out.
For example, your jaw is the most relaxed thing in the universe. It looks like somebody is pulling it up with strings.
But of course, there is a third category of really special people,
I remember in the early days of doing this,
I used to get really shocked at what people would write or say to me online.
Perhaps because it's at odds with how the world normally works, if strangers walking down the street,
Randomly told you to go kill yourself throughout the duration of the day. I suspect it wouldn't be very good for your mental well-being.
It's as if humanity itself can be stripped away online, and in the weeks and months rolled in of doing YouTube,
I found that they did start to affect me. They did start to stand out.
I mean, if you ask any YouTuber, you'll find that despite all the nice comments and all the great fan mail,
It's the hate comments that can often stand out.
Even if it is a comment from somebody who can barely construct an intelligible fucking sentence.
So in 2015, for the first time I started saving down the top tier hate comments into a special folder on my computer.
At first I did it as a sort of scientific Darwinian experiment,
but after a few months I sat down and actually made a hate mail reading video, and it completely changed my perspective forever.
All right, there's no full stop there.
said alp4ss, still it could be worse.
You could hate that accent and the face, that would be a double blow. That'll be really bad.
The trick is to try and look for positives in comments like this, It could always be worse.
Said alper seckin. Damn. That's the... Aforementioned double blow.
The video not only became one of my most successful to date and a favorite amongst viewers.
But I found it was one of the most enjoyable, creative experiences I've ever had.
To be able to take something so negative and hateful, that was designed to make you feel bad.
And then flip it around and make it positive, make it something that can entertain people.
That was a really deeply, satisfying experience.
Perhaps best of all, because the video did well it made alright advertising revenue,
and I put it towards the cost of a weekend break in Taipei, strolling through the markets of Taipei.
I could look at the dishes and think, wow. I bought that beer, thanks to somebody, who called me a faggot.
I enjoyed those noodles, thanks to somebody, who told me I was responsible for the American Revolutionary War.
These dumplings were thanks to Daniel Perez, who told me I suck at life.
And after that hate mail video, hate comments never ever affected me again.
In fact, I got genuinely excited about them. I treated them like...
Capturing Pokemon, and I would capture them and store them down in the aforementioned special folder.
But it taught me one hell of a life lesson, and probably my most favourite of all, it's a trait that you see a lot of entrepreneurs
and creative people have and that is to be able to turn any situation to your-to your advantage.
You can become the victim of hate comments and let them get to you, or you can turn them to your advantage and exploit them.
Every event or experience happens to you, even ones that look negative at first on the surface, if you flip it over, often,
There is something to be gained, something to be learned some advantage that you can get from it. It all just comes down to interpretation and perception.
Who'd have thought you could get such an invaluable life insight from somebody calling you a prick.
But I feel very lucky, very fortunate to be where I am and to have had all these experiences that I've had.
And to share them with you, and I hope that amongst all these lessons,
there's at least one thing that resonates with you there and you can take something away from it.
Now obviously if you've made it this far into the video,
You are one of the chosen few, one of the half-dozen viewers who still actually watching and to celebrate hitting 1 million subscribers,
I'm going to be making a very rare Q&A video, answering questions sent in by you guys, about anything.
So please send in your questions below using the hashtag #askabroad
I won't be promoting this anywhere else, just here right at the end of the video.
So if you're watching this, you've probably got a very good chance of getting your question answered. But for now guys, that's all...
Oh, why did I do that, many thanks for watching and for listening to me, ramble about my life, I'll see you next time.
Now let's just hope this video doesn't get demonetized for the phrase "rape fruit".
That would be... Pretty disappointing and yet somewhat understandable.