Past the J-vloggers and their handheld cameras, below the obnoxious prank channels with over-exaggerated reactions and just under the tiny women eating mountains of food, lies the true essence of Japanese YouTube. From the oddly calming to the down-right serial-killer-level of creepy, here are five channels you should already be subscribed to.
With video titles like “sharpest fungi kitchen knife in the world”and “engagement ring made from human nails,” we don’t know why kiwami japan hasn’t become a major heart-throb amongst his female fans either. Somewhere on the border between psychopath and scientific genius, most of his videos are like dark high school chemistry classes walking you through the steps involved to create knives from the bizarrest of objects. Jello, eggs, cucumbers — there’s seemingly nothing kiwami can’t fuse into a surprisingly professional-looking kitchen-utensil-cum-murder-weapon.
For the unaware, Tokyo nightlife is pretty tame compared to other large cities. However, throw a few Strong Zero’s in the mix and suddenly everyone is spilling their inner secrets like Kevin from The Office with his precious chilli. Sitting center stage, sharing all of this inebriated chaos is up-and-coming Japanese-American rapper MIYACHI. As the host of these un-scripted man-on-the-street videos, he keeps it very simple: Find drunk people and ask them simple questions, it literally writes itself. The combination of purposely incorrect subtitles and blissfully drunk people trying to pull themselves together to do an interview excellently showcases what missing the last train is all about.
This car-crash of a “cooking channel” is culinary chaos. Arguably borderline-alcoholic YouTuber WaWa documents his half-arsed attempts at crafting meals of questionable edibleness using a portable stove on his apartment’s grubby tatami floor. All of this magic happens as he takes frequent wild swigs of whisky highball and blocks of comments from fans whizz across the screen. The antithesis of the ASMR, WaWa lobs mediocre conbini ingredients into the same pot (I don’t think he owns anything else), splatters unidentifiable mixture up the sides of bowls and generally tosses any sign of care, enthusiasm or effort for either his cooking or his health straight out of the window. Is it quality entertainment? Is it a little bit sad? Check out his channel and decide for yourself.
I know you’ve been meaning to find a channel run by a charismatic Japanese fisherman teaching you hunting and cooking skills, so here it is. A mix of David Attenborough, Bear Grylls and JunsKitchen, Masaru teaches you with charming enthusiasm all the coolest parts of Japan’s marine life, showing you how to hunt and cook these local delicacies in both the kitchen and out in the wild during his survival challenges. Squishy echinoderms, things with fins, a deep-dive into rural Japan and video diaries of an amateur explorer, this channel’s got it all. Start with his giant blue starfish video, then check out his survival challenge series and the one where he cooks an entire alligator.
If you’re looking for something to watch before bed, here’s the channel for you. Omagatoki FILM is made up of a team of amateur horror enthusiasts who explore some of Japan’s most haunted locations. In English, omagatoki means dusk and, according to Japanese folklore, this is the time when ghosts and spirits begin to emerge and start creeping the sh*t out of everyone. Some of the videos have English subtitles and each are ranked according to their fear-level, ranging from mild to medium, spicy, hot and hell. Never thought I’d say this to anyone, but I recommend that you go straight to hell — it’ll give you the best taste of the content that these YouTubers are chasing.
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