When I started my research project 6 years ago, there were a few people producing YouTube videos about teaching English in Japan. Since 2010, so many more people have turned to online videos to express their culture shock and curiosities with teaching English in Japan. One reason for this, I believe, is that the recent college graduates, who represent a large majority of new sojourning English teachers in Japan, are more savvy with social media and creating online video content that is easier for them to produce these videos. Another reason is that the technology is making it easier to record, edit, and upload videos online, especially with the improved convenient video recording capabilities on smartphones.
I wanted to start with Japan first because that was my first teaching experience, but also because there seemed to be an effort to create a J-vlogging group. Although I believe Korea has probably the same number of ELT vloggers or YouTubers, I noticed a greater effort of those in Japan trying to collaborate and organize. This noticing was a side effect of more rigorous research. Below is an example of this loosely organized group of J-vloggers from a video by BusanKevin.
In the video above BusanKevin addresses the concern that many J-vloggers have negative perceptions of Japan and Japanese people and culture. Although this may be true, I’d like to demonstrate how J-vloggers and other sojourning ELTs who’ve posted online videos share their experiences and observations to help English language teachers. I’ll start with the two Kevin mentioned: Victor and Mully.
Victor produces what I consider two of the few successfully marketed YouTube channels, Gimmeabreakman and Gimmeaflakeman, about living in Japan (and not necessarily about teaching English). If you browse through his hundreds of videos, you will see that he often produces videos to help others understand what it’s like to teach and live in Japan. He usually makes it clear that his perception and experiences may be very different from the average English teacher or non-Japanese in Japan.
Mully is another veteran J-vlogger, but the following videos are made by others who may or may not claim to be part of the Jvlogging community.
LaurenNIHON no longer makes videos about living and teaching in Japan, but she did have a series of videos several years ago and the video above is the first in this series.
Myargonauts Jason compares teaching at a Japanese university to being an assistant language teacher in Japanese public schools.
Above is the first of 12 videos that Rhyminggaijin made about getting an English teaching job in Japan.
SakanaJin has a YouTube channel about living in Japan, and the video above from a few years ago is his live video chat about what it’s like to start out in Japan.
Superscheu creates videos mostly about his life in Japan, but here’s one about teaching English.
TheJapanGuy makes some high quality videos about his experiences living and teaching English in Japan.
TheMexican Gaysha explains and implies above why it can be difficult to find videos and blog posts about teaching for some specific schools in Japan.
If you’re like most people, you will probably just go to Google or YouTube and search for “teaching English in Japan” to find the most popular and/or recent videos. I just did that today and found that many of these YouTubers above do not appear on YouTube’s first page. I assume it’s because most of them are no longer recent. To test this hypothesis (not very rigorously), I searched for “teaching English in Japan” on YouTube and it estimated about 147,000 videos. Then I filtered videos for the past year only and got an estimated 37,100 videos. So about about 25% of all YouTube videos about this topic were uploaded in the past year. However, we don’t know how many videos are taken down.
For this last month alone, there were over 1000 videos. I don’t know how many of them are exactly about teaching English in Japan, but that gives an impression about how many people are sharing their experiences, observations, and opinions (facts?). This inspires me to investigate further other online video trends concerning teaching English.