This week’s TOEIC video (TOEIC+ Lesson 35) and related lesson have been fun for my students. It is about a young woman from Kyoto who recently moved to Tokyo. She is a Japanese language teacher but what has really caught the attention of many people are her two YouTube channels “thatjapanesegirl” and “thisjapanesegirl” on which she has posted video blogs of her Japanese lessons and some random videos about Japan and Japanese pop culture. She now has over 28,700 subscribers and over 812,000 views of her videos despite having started her first channel only 21 months ago (January 2009). She is so popular!
As I watched some of her videos what I came away with was the thought that she is a true pioneer among Japanese girls or young women. She is very brave and what’s more she seems to be having a lot of fun with YouTube. She is quite a role model for, not only Japanese girls but also all young Japanese people. She has crossed a bridge that so many have stopped to only gaze across. She is a great example of what Japanese young people can do if they set their minds to doing it.
Also, I had the thought that she has solved the age-old problem that many Japanese students of English bring up each time I ask them why they think they have so much trouble improving their English. They often say “There is no real necessity to speak or use English in Japan, so I don’t get enough practice”. 日本で英語を話す必要性がないので、練習するチャンスは少ないです。She created her “necessity to speak”. She created two channels on YouTube where she must speak English to introduce foreigners about Japan and Japanese language. She hit on a simple solution for Japanese young people. Despite the difficulty to get up the nerve to speak English in a video and post it on YouTube, this is one good way to create the necessity to speak. You can speak about anything you think might be interesting for foreigners and even other English-speaking Japanese to watch and enjoy. So my challenge to the youth of Japan is to follow thatjapanese girl’s lead and make a channel where you post your videos. YouTube has a lot of safeguards to protect your identity and privacy. You can post videos and control who can watch them. You can limit them to 25 or your friends until you have confidence to show them to the world. So try it!