About Me

Yuta Aoki is a Japanese author, blogger and YouTuber. He writes about Japanese culture, inter-cultural communication, dating, and travel.
His latest book, There’s Something I Want to Tell You: True Stories of Dating in Japan, deals with intercultural dating in Japan.
His article about sexless Japan was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.
He has been to over 30 countries, from Eastern Europe to South East Asia, where he enjoyed talking to local people and listening to their stories.

He dates internationally, although he’s slightly worried that he might spend more time writing about dating than actually doing it.

My brief life story

I grew up in Hiroshima, where the US had dropped the atomic bomb during WWII. When I was little, grown-ups would often tell us about the war. Sometimes, A-bomb survivors came to our school to share their experiences.

Hiroshima has Peace Memorial Park, and it was our favourite hang-out spot, not because of the history, but because of its central location. Every time I went to the park, I saw the A-Bomb Dome, which was partially destroyed by the A-Bomb. To a child, the dome looked almost sacred.

People in Hiroshima didn’t have any resentment towards American people. They merely told us that the war was bad and should never be repeated.

Discovering the outside world

When I was 13, I went to the States on a one-month homestay programme. I didn’t speak any English. Sure, we had English classes in junior high school, but for a Japanese speaker, one year was barely enough to be able to hold a decent conversation.

How bad was my English? I didn’t even know the word ‘say’. Yes, ‘say’. It’s a very basic word. I remember my host family trying to explain ‘I miss you’. They tried hard, but I didn’t get it. It was difficult because Japanese didn’t have the same expression.

One of the few phrases I learnt in the US was ‘never mind’. My host brother always said it when he gave up explaining things to me in English.

Despite my quasi non-existent English, I really enjoyed the homestay. After coming back to Japan, I started thinking about studying in the States for a year. Fortunately, my high school had a study abroad programme. But unfortunately, places were limited and I wasn’t chosen. I had never been more disappointed in my life.

Getting serious with English

I was jealous of those who were chosen for the study abroad programme. I felt as if they had taken away my future, because I had been daydreaming about going to the US and becoming fluent in English. The thought of them speaking English fluently after a year was unbearable.

The only way I could overcome the disappointment was learning English on my own.

But I was clueless. I wasn’t even sure that one could learn a foreign language completely on one’s own. I didn’t have any role models around me.

One day, I had an idea: reading books in English. If the most effective way of learning a language was immersing yourself in it, reading books would certainly be one way. I went to a bookshop and bought a book that looked easy enough. It was That’s Not What I Meant by Deborah Tannen.

The book wasn’t really easy, and it took me a long time to finish it. But when I finished it, I felt my method was finally working.

Being an introvert

I didn’t have many friends in school, if I had friends at all. I didn’t have a lot in common with my classmates. I was interested in modern philosophy, traditional music around the world, travelling, etc. I was always reading books, sometimes during classes. Reading books was my way of connecting to people who had great life experience and knowledge.

Once, I was interested in Arabic letters. I would practice writing them when I was bored during classes. My classmates must have thought I was a weird guy.

Backpacking in India

When I was 17, I went backpacking through South India for two months. It was my first solo trip.

South India was a very friendly place. A lot of people talked to me: restaurant owners, juice sellers, passengers on the train, guests at hotels, random people on the street – everyone was curious about me. In Japan, nobody had talked to me like that. The cultural difference was very interesting.

I came across western travellers once in a while. I met a British guy and I told him I was 17. He said, ‘You have a good mind’. I still remember the exact wording.

I also met an American guy at a music concert. We were both interested in Indian classical music, so he took me to his place and showed me musical instruments he had bought in India. He was so happy to talk to me that he invited me to dinner. He footed the bill. He knew I was only a penniless 17 year old after all.

Learning French

In my early 20s, I came across an interview with a French musician in the International Herald Tribune. She was called Carla Bruni and had been a supermodel before she made her first album. In her interview, she said she would deliberately record mistakes because being imperfect would make her more relatable. I thought, ‘she is very insightful. I definitely should listen to her songs.’

When I heard her voice on Quelqu’un m’a dit, the first song of her album, I immediately liked her. I would listen to her day and night, and I developed a strong interest in French. But I was hesitant to learn a new language because I knew it would take a long time.

Eventually, I gave in to the temptation.

Studying abroad

When I decided to go to university, the first thing I thought about was the study abroad programme. Initially, I was thinking of Britain, but my French was becoming better, so I chose France. I liked the idea of going to a non-English-speaking country. I’d always been fond of doing something different from everybody else.

I was very excited because for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to live abroad.

What I really learnt in France

I studied philosophy and literature in Lyon for one year. There were a lot of international students (mostly European) in my university. I absolutely loved meeting people from different countries. Unlike when I was in high school, I made a lot of friends. We all spoke French, and there was a strong sense of community amongst French speaking expats.

I also realised I was quite ignorant about the world. I asked my Brazilian friends a very dumb question: what language do Brazilians speak? They answered patiently, ‘Portuguese’. Later, I found out that Portuguese was a romance language like French, which made me curious about the language.

One day, my Brazilian friends took to me to a mini-carnival parade in Lyon. I saw a Brazilian group playing samba. As soon as I heard them, I fell in love with Brazilian music.

The second semester in France, I took a Portuguese class because I wanted understand the lyrics of Brazilian songs. By that time, I was regularly going to a local Brazilian party. I asked my friends for song recommendations, and I would listen to Brazilian music all the time.

I made some French friends through Brazilian music. One day, I was walking down the street and bumped into one of those friends. She said, ‘Hey, I live close by, would you like a cup of tea?’ So I went to her house.

She told me she was going to a Latin club that night, and asked me if I wanted to come. I was curious. I had never been to a Latin club before.

What I saw in the club was something entirely new. Men and women would pair up and dance together. The dancing looked very sophisticated. I tried to figure out their steps, but it was too complicated to follow. It was as if they were performing magic tricks.

My friend told me the style of the music and the dance was called Salsa. I was greatly interested, and decided to learn how to dance Salsa one day.

A few months later, I was taking weekly Salsa lessons.

So that was it: I went to France and learnt Portuguese and dancing Salsa. What happened to philosophy and literature? Well, I forgot all about them.

Post-France life

My life can be divided into pre-France and post-France. France made me realise I would thrive in a multicultural environment. After France, I sought international communities in Japan. I started making new friends. It felt great: I’d never known what was like to have many friends because I had had a rather solitary young and early adulthood.

Writing a book

In 2013, I was on the Narita Express on my way to the airport. I was going to Jamaica to spend the New Year holiday. I was thinking about my life because I felt I hadn’t achieved much in my twenties.

I’d always wanted to write a book, and suddenly, I realised all I had to do was start writing; I already had what it took to write a book. By the time I got off the train, I already had book ideas.

I chose to write about multicultural dating in Japan because I thought I had something valuable to offer. I knew it was hard to find reliable information in English on the subject. A lot of what I found on the Internet were disrespectful comments towards Japanese women, except for a few good blog articles.

Writing the book was nothing but fun. My favourite part was interviewing people. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their life stories, and I believe they are worth sharing. The best way of learning something is learning from your mistakes; the second best way is from somebody else’s mistakes. That is why reading books is so valuable.

My book is called There’s Something I Want to Tell You: True Stories about Mixed Dating in Japan, and available on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks.

Wow, you’ve read this far? I think you should like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter

98 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Henry | @fotoeins

    A contact tweeted about your article clarifying some of the assumptions/misconceptions surrounding Japan's decreasing birth-rate. I have to say that your use of very clear plots to press your points and qualifications about the data and their treatment for your plots was what made me quite happy, owing to past scientific training. Thanks for your post! You've got great dreams and goals; keep building on them. There's just too much to do, and so little time to do them all – but it'll sure be fun trying.

    1. Alex

      Hello Yuta. I would love to talk to you online. How can I reach you? I studied in Japan at Chubu Daigaku. I love your videos! I also have some stories to share about race and America versus Japan.

  2. Diku Desai

    I've written a piece regarding the misinformation about Japan. I've also lived in Japan for two years, and am decent at speaking Japanese. It's inspiring to see a non-native with a great command of the English language, and I think you have a pretty well-thought-out blog. I've already liked your FB post, and if you get a chance, please take a look at my writing here: <a href="http://diku.svbtle.com/those-crazy-japanese"&gt; . I'd like to see what you think. Thanks!

  3. Genesis

    HI. I´m 15 years old and honduran. I also want to learn programming. Read lots and lots of books and watch lots and lots of anime. Speak Japanese and Russian (at least). Travel. Go to space. Reduce my introversion. Find my half sister in China. Do something extreme. Make genuine and weird friends I can treat like family….blah blah.
    Yeah, time's too short and I haven´t done much. Even so, I often think that whatever we do is pretty insignificant. Ha.

    1. yuta Post author

      I met some hondureños in Japan. A lot of Latinos move here to work. Programming is good. If you get good at it, there are a lot of jobs here, or everywhere else.

      1. Dean Van Greunen

        Really? Does Japan have a good market for softwae engineers?

        I'm a software engineer and AI researcher (biomechinical electronic threaded self weighting AI Nerouns) BETSWAIN, its a design i've being working on for the past 7years, i've being a programmer for 8years and a technician for 5years. I'm currently work as a software engineer in South Africa and one day between the next, 1 to 4 years i would like to visit Japan and have a holiday (perhaps live there permanently and work) i've started studying Japanese 3month back and i can read, and write in Hiragana and Katakana. As well i've slowly got the hang of 50+- Kanji, i speak english and afrikaans as a native speak. English being my first langauge. Followed by x86 and x64 Assembly, C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, MySQL, Python, HTML/CSS and Javascript. I've used over 50 different development frameworks and developed for more than 100 of the brand leading plateforms out as of today. While i wait on my dev order for the Microsoft Hololens dev device valued at 40000 ZAR (South Afican Rand). Yuto, perhaps in the near future if i catch you in Japan. We can go for a coffee or a bottle of russian vodka 🙂 Thanks for all these great vids and have a happy year to come. Cheers (bye between friends)

    2. Sarah

      Hi Yuta, I m Sarah n I live in Singapore. I had come across a few of your videos on YouTube n I was impressed by your English. You still have a slight japanese accent but it's amazing compared to my Japanese friends who are still at the elementary level of English learning. I love Japan. If you have a chance, do visit Singapore and try our local food.

    3. Jna Corre

      Hello Yuta! My name is Jna (pronounced like Janae.)

      Thank you for taking the time to make and post your videos! It’s truly amazing and looking forward to your future videos 😀

  4. Ali

    This is Ali. (Friend of R_n_ Mi_r_ and we have met also. (I would be interested to know when you book comes out. Have you considered the price?) and will it be English or Japanese (Both Japanese and English is ok but not so comfortable with my own Japanese skills at the moment)

    Your English is superb!

  5. Anonymous

    Look up pigglesdigaijin on youtube. He's Jamaican and lives in Japan. Also, tell gimmeabreakman on youtube about your book and see if he'll let you on his interview show called 2.5 oyaji's.

  6. Gina

    I found your blog via Grace aka Texan in Tokyo. I loved that you published a well informed book about dating in Japan. I've had so many [mis]adventures with dating in Japan, it's nice to see some success stories! I write about them in my blog if you're interested in a laugh and I will definitely be checking out your book!

    I also feel the same as you. By birth, I'm all ready an international child. My mother is Mexican and my father is American-Italian. I grew up in America, while my mother taught me Spanish and my Italian grandfather taught me Italian.

    I also feel more vibrant and alive in international communities. The world is such a beautiful place.

    1. yuta Post author

      Hi Gina, thank you for your comment! It's funny that you mention Mexico because I was just listening to Mexican music. I saw that you were also a YouTuber and so am I! I'm going to read your love stories 🙂

  7. Ukey

    Mr. Aoki, thank you for sharing your background experiences, and that got me thinking something: I want to learn anything I'm interested without thinking about the benefit I can get or the cost I would have to offer.

    I am Japanese, in my early twenties, and I also have friends in all the continents and I have friends from over 56 countries through studying abroad. I do believe English has made my life so exciting and widen my possibility so much too.
    Reading your articles I started to feel I want to be good at English to the next level, to which I can write actual articles like you. Two years ago, I was studying Marketing in OH and wrote a lot of reports, like using sources to support ideas or collecting deta by doing interviews. But now, I graduated and don't use English anymore in Japan (academically), sadly I no longer have skills to write a report. I thought going to graduate school could be the only way to improve writing skills, but it looks like writing a blog might not be a bad idea to improve my writing skills.
    It was good to bump into your website by chance. I will try things I always wanted but never did, by making lists I have done and want to do in the near future. Programming might be one of them, though I hate numbers or anything so complicated.
    Well, I just wanted to tell you that you inspired me. Thanks.

  8. Laurence

    Aoki.. Familiar.

    My father went to Japan 7 yrs ago.
    And he met this guy named "Aoki". They became best friends immediately.
    Since you guys only use Family names when calling someone. We never knew his first name.
    Kinda sad, 'cause I want to find him when I'm finished with my college.
    Anyway, during my father's stay.
    Mr. Aoki would often visit my father at his hotel and invite him to go out.
    Unfortunately, My father has to return to the Philippines within 2 weeks.
    Mr. Aoki asked my father if he can stay a bit longer, but my father's manager said no.
    So….. Mr. Aoki went back to the Philippines with my father. 😀
    He would even call my father's mother " Mama ". quite funny but awesome.
    Hearing my father's story made me interested in Japan.
    Japan's cultures and stuff. I wanted to find Mr. Aoki though I don't even know his whole name. And he's too old. He was like 50 or 60 when I met him or I don't know.
    Sorry for all of this. I just wanted to share my father's story.
    and I'm interested about Japan and no one can stop me!

  9. Mayten

    Hi Aoki, I'm from Peru. To be honest I don't that kind of person who always leave a comment xd but I can't believe how similar our list are. I'm struggling with English right now, as everybody I'm just want to be fluent , that's why I've started to read an English book named 'the story of my life' by Hellen Keller 🙂
    On the other hand , I'm so shy while trying to speak to Japanese men (since I study Japanese and I find them particularly cute (*˘︶˘*). In addition, I expect to be able to rap in Japanese someday and also to dance property ( I used to practice korean choreographies at my dorm with not very good results hahaha). And maybe to finish an entire and decent song in piano. Btw very nice blog 😀

  10. Bubu

    Just discovered your blog because Google told me to go there when I asked him if Japanese people could have naturally curly hair (…is that a dumb question ?) and ended up on your article about racism. Then I decided to read your presentation, and found out you had been "studying" in Lyon for a year !
    I'm from Lyon, so now I'm curious, so maybe I'm in the same university you've been ?
    I noticed there were some Japanese students, and I'd love get to know them, but I'm pretty bad at making friends so I don't know what to do to talk to them. :<

    I'd love to travel to Japan one day, but I'm pretty scared because the only foreign language I can speak is English, and I'm worried Japanese people are pretty bad at it… And I can't speak nor read Japanese, at all.

    Have a nice day and keep up the good work ! 🙂

  11. Jamie

    Hi, Yuta.
    I've just finished exploring some of your interesting experimental YouTube videos. I found you from Quora first. You've made such a nice blog here! I'll try to come more often from now on 🙂
    I'll be arriving in Japan probably next Apr and will stay for two months. Just travelling and see how things are like in Japan. I've been learning Japanese on my own and sometimes with a group of people that are mixed with native Japanese speakers and non-native speakers. I found it harder than I thought. The reason is I don't have as many chances to speak Japanese as I wish and I keep forgetting what I used to know. 🙁 and Kanji is another reason.
    Hope I get better by the time I get there!
    Nice blog.


  12. Manuela

    hello Yuta is great this project of yours, I'm starting to learn new languages, I am improving my english and I want to learn six languages ​​more, among these is the Japanese, I'm from Colombia (I speak Spanish) and aspire to go to college to study degree in languages ​​(in about two years or so) meanwhile I want to handle some basics of the languages ​​I want to learn, what you're doing is wonderful and very helpful, so I will take quite, greetings from Colombia 🙂

  13. 李家铭

    Hi,Yuta.I'm a Chinese boy.My English name is Jimmy.Today I see you video in a Chinese net.At that time,I think Japan is a funny country!I want to go to Japan in 2017 when
    I graduate from colleage.And I want see more video about International students‘ life in Japan.And you eyebrow is very interesting-。-!

  14. Kyou

    Hello Aoki! That sounds like a very interesting life! I can share similar thoughts on the dancing; I have been searching for Korean pop dancing here, but am having no hope! But also… I am very clumsy and awkward when it comes to expressing myself so I don't think I'd be very good at dancing haha! I'm glad you got to do some things that you have wanted to do, I'm sure the rest of the things will be fulfilled as well!

    The only thing really on my list is to move to Japan, and live somewhere that looks a bit old? I can't explain, but I love kinda village-like? Somewhere that looks like Eigamura, but I'm not sure where or if that is still possible. (I research, but can be difficult for me to notice which one is real or fake _ _ ; ) I want to be able to speak and write in Japanese, but was so clueless so I'm glad I have found your youtube, and pages… I am born with an Italian mother, and Salvadoran/Japanese father and learned about who I am when I was like in first grade! I'm glad I learned, because I took an interest in these different places, but to me Japan feels like the one I'd love most. I hope I will be able to learn, and I will definitely be eager to. : )

  15. Anonymous

    Hi I am Jacku Lim from Singapore. I find you by chance in the YouTube when I was searching to learn some Japanese language. I find Japanese language very difficult to learn and understand.
    I have been trying ! . Now I know just the basic.

    Singapore people all speak English. Have you been to Singapore. ? I love Japan and make frequent visits there. I have difficulty finding Japanese friends who can speak English and hang out with me.

    I read your life experience and find you a very adventurous and lively and strong person. I admire you and get inspire by your attitude.

    Lastly I like to get to know you more. I hope to meet you one day. By the way I am Singaporean Chinese Asian , thanks .

  16. Jonna

    The things i have on my list is to learn japanese, i also wanna visit japan someday^-^ Other things i want to do is to travel around the world to see cool animals like whales, dolphins, pandas and many more^^

  17. Pallavi

    Hey Yuta!

    Happy New Year!

    It's so nice to read about all the amazing things that you have done in your exciting life. I love watching your videos. My love for Nipon started cause of anime and it only keeps growing.

    I'm from Hyderabad (a city in South India; I still can't believe you came here when you were only 17), India

    Take care,

  18. Graham

    I just discovered your youtube channel and wanted to send you some compliments on your work. I have spent some extensive time in Japan, travelling and staying with friends I made on my journey there. I found the Japanese people extremely warm and welcoming. I admire your culture and of feeling safe wherever I was. Where there were language barriers in communication, technology compensated and broke down some of those walls. I was never so thankful enough that I chose to install Japanese/English dictionaries on a borrowed iPhone while travelling. When communication got stuck on words we had references to guide us as to what we were trying to say. That combined with tones of voice, facial expressions, and body language meant we always found a way to communicate and get the meanings across.

    I fear I am rambling so will end this now. Just wanted to say keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing more honest and frank opinions/thoughts from the Japanese people you interview to understand more about Japan, it's people and it's culture. It is always interesting to learn about other cultures to broaden more understanding in one's self. People spend too much time focusing on differences. There will always be differences, but if everything was the same it would be a very boring world. One thing humanity needs to wake up on are the many similarities and core thoughts/ideas etc. which link our communities together. Thank you!

  19. Jackson

    I'm 23 years of age and I'm very surprise how much you had done in your life, Whether to travel, learning another language dancing and getting out of your comfort zone. Its something i can never achieve. I only know 2 language while my English isn't that great i wishes to learn another one including Japanese. Wishes to travel the world and met new people but i'm quite shy. Anyways best of luck!
    Thanks for sharing

    1. David

      The same situation, but I currently get out of my comfort zone – i am gonna do (from October) postgraduate study in UK. I'm not sure that is a good idea to go somewhere alone being pretty shy and introverted, but live is too short to keep live in your comfort zone. If you still thinking about travelling, maybe we can have a contact?
      @Yuta – you got very similar "things to do and have done" to the ones that I want to achieve … I don't have more time to waste, so i'm starting to do changes from October.

  20. De Andra

    Hello there!

    I came across your channel through the YouTube suggestions list and have been binge watching your videos. Your content is thought provoking and entertaining, so I was happy to subscribe and check out your website. Keep up the good work!

    So, what's on my list of things I want to do in the future? Let's see…I'll mention my top four

    1.) Make YouTube videos about my experiences in South Korea, Japan, and other future destinations: It's been almost two years since I lived in South Korea and since my one month stay in Japan. I recently found footage and photos from my time in both places that I thought I lost, and now after watching your videos, I found inspiration to talk about my experiences there and share what footage I have acquired during my stay. So hopefully some time soon I'll be able to start making videos about my experience in retrospect and also future travels.

    2.) Travel more!: I've always wanted to travel to different places around the world (and in my home country – The United States), but my family was poor. So when I got the chance to work abroad, I took it. Now I really want to visit a lot of different countries to learn more about the world and to also think about the things that connect us all as people.

    3.) Actually become fluent in the languages I started learning. I studied Spanish for seven years in school, as well as Japanese for a short time. I also studied Korean while I lived there. I would like to become more fluent in all three of them so I can connect with my Korean and Japanese friends better. It seems a little unfair that they all have to talk to me in English, so I would like to change that.

    4.) Be O.K. with the fact that I have an artistic mind: I've always loved drawing, writing, and the performance arts, but I never thought that I could really do anything with them career wise. I realized that I never even really gave it a chance. It might not be my main job, but I can pursue it as a hobby and see if I could use that creativity in ways to engage people.

    Thanks for the thoughtful content you make. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next! Chau!

  21. Vincent

    You know, I love all your Youtube videos and I watch them all the time.

    After reading this I've come to like you much more! That is a wonderful life story and lovely list. My lifestory is quite grim so, Rather than dwell on a dirty and negative past inflicted by others, I always look towards the future. I believe the future is where the sun shines, The fun begins.

    I would like to learn Japanese and speak it fluently, Afterwards I will learn Korean, And also Chinese. It may seem far-fetched wanting to learn three languages (Especially Chinese, Which is considerably difficult) but, I believe I can do it.

    There are some times I have a deep thirst for knowledge, And language learning. When this happens I turn my attention to Japanese.

    You may wonder, Why Japanese?

    It is because I find the language very beautiful. I like to hear people talk Japanese and I also very much like the text and the written language. The same could be said about Korean or Chinese, But, There is more to Japan which I like than those other two countries.

    Japan has had a big influence and impact on my life. It began when I was very young, I used to always say to myself "People should invent this!" or "People should think in this way, Not the other", And every time I had said this I had found that Japan had already invented the item in question, And Japan was already socially-crafted in a way which was very like-minded to my own. For example, I have found and I still find giving tips absolutely ridiculous, And in Japan, People do not give tips.

    Coming into the future, My interests and hobbies grow, And I find that Japan once again has the things which I favor the most. I love the culture, The samurai history and background, The gaming industry, The fashion, The hairstyles, The robotics, The anime, The art, The kendo, The food, The people (Many variety and open-minded), The music (Traditional & Modern), The nature, The technology and the dedication which people show, In improving themselves everyday and striving towards a better future.

    I believe I will look back to this list in the future and say "I have missed something I like about Japan" Such as Cherry blossoms, Castles or Trains, Architecture, Traditional/Modern Lifestyle Or something else different entirely.

    I always find myself doing that, Something new or something I had forgot to mention will reappear, And I will add it to the ever-long list!

    So I will not continue forever, I will mention the things I like about Korea and China, Then to my bulletpoints *Which I am rather excited for, Since I don't know what I will write myself*

    In Korea, They have a great fashion sense, Great music taste and I like how all the men wear makeup. I also like the girls there (This one very nearly swayed my decision on Japan! I can't, However, Allow my lifelong admiration of Japan disappear due to the beauty of Korean Females)!

    In China, They have a great history. I also love the text and the speaking language. To me it sounds very lovely coming from a Female. I also love the Kung Fu, The choreography and the beauty of their art (I just come back from watching Chinese new year video), It never ceases to amaze me.

    In Taiwan, I just love the girls, Very very much. I have a weakness to Cosplayers, But that too, Is Japan's influence (I am thinking of an image of a girl dressed up as Hatsune Miku). They're many other wonderful Cosplayers from that region, Too.

    I may have become carried away with my discussion of girls, But, I am sure you will not mind as you are an author of a book on mixed relationships in Japan!

    Now to my bulletpoints!

    * I would like to become a fluent-Japanese speaker, And be able to stay and experience Japan.
    (I can currently read hirigana, With very little Katakana and Kanji knowledge, Also most of the things I read I cannot understand. I learnt through looking at a Japanese alphabet, And playing a Japanese game. I made Japanese friends and I wanted to know their names, And then their conversations. I kept looking back at the Hirigana alphabet and their name, Until I was able to say it. Eventually their name stuck with me, And everytime I came across the letters in their name I would know what it is. I also tried to read their conversations this way, And eventually it would stick. I have only just recently begun doing this in Katakana so I know very little Katakana.

    The first name I learnt was Gorubacho ! Which, Originally I thought was Goruhachiyo.

    For now, I will continue studying Japanese this way. I believe learning to read will help me learn to speak better too.

    The Japanese players always say "Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!" when they begin a game. I did read "Yoroshiku O ishimasu", But not "Nega" since it was in Kanji. However, Since I knew the word "Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu" and its meaning, I was able to guess the Kanji "Nega".

    I also did this with Arigatou and other words before fully learning the alphabet. I am hoping, With your help, Yuta, That I can do this with more words! (By learning more words, I can guess the letters and the kanji!)

    It is very satisfying to do this. It feels like such a success and achievement when I do! I got my alphabet from the Japanese-Online site.

    Oh, That's right, This was supposed to be a short bracket under one of the bullet points (Totally forgot), Erm, Just pretend it was short! Ahem!

    Continuing my bullet points!)

    * I would like to be a good musician, Taking my inspiration from Japanese bands.
    (It may be a little far-fetched to say in a Japanese band, But it has been done by someone before!)

    * If not music, I would like to do something in the creative arts sector.
    (Acting, Theater, Pop Group!)

    * I would also like to help Japanese people speak English.
    (Just as you help me, I would like to help them!)

    * I would like to travel to Korea and Japan.
    (I love technology, And these two places really <3)

    * I would like to find my belonging!
    (I never felt like I belonged in any country before, So I want to experience the best candidates (Korea, Japan, Maybe Taiwan?)

    * I would like to make good friends!
    (I am twenty-one, And I have never had any friends in my life who like the same things which I do. It means they have not been my friend for so long, And I find myself alone all the time, Such as now. Perhaps I'll find one in Japan!)

    * I would like to find a caring community!
    (I want to find people, And a community who cares for me, That I can care about too. This maybe why I wish to be in a band so much, So I can find that place where which we can experience everything together and support each other, Like good friends. It'd also nice to have a place, A city or town which I care about. Right now, The things that happens in my surroundings in public are not important to me, As I am always treated like an outsider.)

    * I would like to live forever!
    (Not many say this, But I do!)

    * I wish Yuta Aoki good health!
    (I can't thank you enough for giving me this opportunity, And how much you've done for me. I feel my mind has reached a new level of clarity, And you are, An amazing person. Keep doing what you do! I wish also, To be a language expert like you someday, So I know English and Japanese, Like you do!)

    * I wish for wealth, Independence and freedom of movement.
    (So that I may be able to go to any place at any time, To experience any luxury at any time. I will admit I love these things *Baths.. Ahhh <3*

    Though it is most important to me as, I wish to provide my lover with anything they would want, And not to let them suffer or struggle because of me)

    I can't think of anything else to write right now, But thank you for giving me this opportunity to write about myself. If you do have the time and you do read this, I hope you enjoy reading it, I wish for your good health and I thank you for reading it.

    I suppose you can guess what I will do now *Play a Japanese game while studying Japanese*, And I look forward to watching your new YouTube content!

    Thank you very much! ありがとうございます!

  22. Aditi

    Hi Yuta,
    Thankyou for sharing your life experiences. Totaly fascinated! BTW I am Aditi, 20, from India. The thing that tops my priority list right now is to learn Japanese. Hope I succeed. Arigato again!

  23. Antoni

    Some information about me is that I am Anglo-Polish (English-Polish) and I speak a few languages, but only English fluently. I hope to learn English; Chinese; Japanese; Polish; Russian; Spanish; Portuguese; German; Italian and maybe Korean fluently. I can read Russian and I can also read some Chinese as well as some Japanese. I find the Eastern Asian Languages very interesting and I really enjoy learning them.

  24. Nguyen

    So interesting to read your background :3 I surfed many blogs but this is the first time I saw such an impressive one. And your being a surprising programmer also makes me feel so ashamed cause I ve never completed my planes as I want. My best wish is having a chance to taste Japanese favour, especially Japanese rock culture haha :)))). Hope this will come too soon.

  25. タリナ

    はじめまして!Youtube に あおきさんのビデオをぐうぜんでみつけました。わたしはTrina (タリナ)といいます。長い間日本語を勉強していますが、まだ流暢ではありません。でもまだ楽しんでいますから、がんばります!1996には、2年間日本に住んでいて、色々なおもしろい経験がありました。あおきさんににて、わたしもいろいろな言語と文化について習うことが大好記です。




  26. Moriah

    I find it so inspiring that you are self taught in so many areas! You strike me as very intelligent, but also very down to earth. I enjoy you very much as a vlogger, as a writer, and as a person. I can tell I will be subscribed to you for a very long time!

  27. JD

    Hey I see you want to learn about caribbean music in order to organised parties I can tell you some good ones. I'm really interested in Japanese culture and and language, saw your videos on youtube they are great. I am originally grew up in Jamaica until i was 16 then moved to England im now 24 and i love all genre of music Im a singer myself.
    I can point you in the direction of the artistes and different type of caribbean music.

  28. jakiri

    thank you yuta ! i m happy ! – nice greetings from austria, and hope to meet you one day 🙂 – every life has a story, worthy to be told – i m a teacher, teaching since 25 years, changing my job every year to learn all wisdom from every world to teach those who are poor in every way, i am happy you are a bridge, i hope to meet you one day 🙂

  29. jakiri

    about age: haha don`t worry 🙂 at all – don`t worry 🙂 🙂 – nice greetings from austria

  30. Lucía

    Hi, Yuta!
    Thank you for sharing your story, is very interesting! I am a 17-years-old girl from Spain, and, as you, I think that my (still short) life can be divided in two parts, pre-Romania, and post-Romania. When I was there, I met people from all over the world, and I realised that I want to travel and to know more about different cultures.
    So now, I'm trying to improve talking other languages (like English, French, Japanese (thanks a LOT)) and I think, when I'm older, I will travel to different countries, just like you do!
    Thank you very much, and greetings from Spain!! 🙂

  31. Mackaina

    I've been on your website a few times, but felt the urge this time to check this page out.
    Surprisingly, we kind of have a lot in common and relatable stuff too. I live in Jamaica, I'm 17 years old and trying to learn Japanese on my own. I want to live there one day and be very fluent. Maybe check out one of those Animation companies.
    Also. I don't really have a lot of friends (if any), I hope I can make friends like you did when I go to Japan.
    Also, why Jamaica? Of all the countries? Maybe it's because I live here why I don't see anything special about it. But if you do decide to live here one day, I hope you like it. Also, these days, air conditioners are a must have. Good luck! and thanks for these videos, very nice to find good cheap resources out there.

  32. John

    Hey buddy
    Wish there were some Japanese girls with an open mind like you.
    I married a Japanese girl two years ago and been living in Japan eversince but I would like to make female friends too which seems impossible for a married man in Japan.
    Any suggestion?

  33. Dimas

    hi Yuta, nice to meet you, I'm your subscriber on your YouTube channel, I come from Indonesia, currently I'm working at Architecture and Urban Planning company based in Bali, my position is a manager. I'm interested in getting aquainted with Japanese girls, I wish, I could have both girlfriend and wife from Japan, could you give me any advice?.. or any sites that I could join in order to getting Japanese girlfriend. Thanks in advance

  34. Dina

    Hello Yuta Aoki

    Just want to let you know that what you're doing is really encouraging, at least for me. I've been kicking myself (perhaps not hard enough) about going back to studying French, which I supposedly adore, for ages and never managed to succeed due to various excuses starting from being too far away from the beloved France to teaching English to bunches of rather rarely grateful students and whatnot; however I recently started a beginner Japanese course which brought me back to picking up French – it's nice to bug your mind from different angles, I suppose. And now, having read about your endeavours, I just feel ashamed. (I wouldn't even venture commenting on programming – that's my forever terra incognita!)

    I subscribed to your lessons just a few days ago and would like to thank you for the quality work and time you invest to make all that look nice and understandable. They clarify certain questions I sometimes have that my sensei doesn't want to answer reasoning that I just only started and won't be able to process too much. While I agree with her as a teacher, I still feel sort of deprived and I have to turn to the almighty Internet where I find you and some other kind bloggers willing to share! Please keep it up!

    And I loved your interviews on Youtube! For some reason the Japanese appear to me as representatives of outer space – no mocking or offence intended! – just such a big enigma. Seeing women and men respond to random street survey rather comfortably (yep, I've got this big fat stereotype about an entirely reserved nation who don't spare a thought on matters not related to them directly) piqued my curiosity previously fed by contagious stuff called anime.

    This all is extremely unorganised and I'm sorry about that, but all in all – thanks for the good job!


  35. Gabriel

    Hi, Yuta san
    My name is Gabriel, I'm from Venezuela, I read all your Bio, I felt so identified with you. It's good to know that are some people in the world, that think the same. I'm self learning Japanese and your videos are so helpful. You are an inspiration for me.

    I know that you're learning Spanish, I could help you with your Spanish, I'm native speaker.

    Thanks for all your efforts to bring us Japanese culture to us. Thank you!

  36. Gail

    Hello Aoki San,

    I happened across your videos from a women's message board that I belong to and was fascinated by what I observed. You are a modern Renaissance man and that is most exciting. Your passion for learning is inspiring and mostly because of the fact that you met lots of adversity and didn't let it stop you. You took the initiative and found ways to work around any barriers that presented themselves.

    I'm an older American woman and will have my son watch your videos to show him that if one sets his mind to achieve his passions, with time and determination, they can be achieved. Also, I'm inspired to do a lot of the things that I put off when I became a mother. I will travel. I will continue to learn languages other than English and I will study music that moves me.

    As an older person I will tell you that aging, in my experience, has given me time to learn who I am, what I stand for (believe in) and has given me comfort and confidence in being myself. The awkwardness of youth and uncertainty can disappear and give you clarity and security that youth can sometimes overwhelm you with.

    I look forward to watching more of your online creations and reading your books. I thank you for sharing yourself.

  37. HItomi

    Hi, Yuta.
    I watched your video on Youtube, "Do Japanese Want Refugees in Japan?" and that was pretty impressive!
    Because I've been interested in how Japanese people think of international issues, that one left a sort of impression on me.
    I would like to help you out, when you make a new interview video, and you need someone speaking both English and Japanese (I'm currently living in Tokyo as well).


  38. Earth2543

    Hi there.
    know of your channel for quite a while but just subscribed. I'm a Thai myself so I'm glad you like our foods! 😀

  39. Ida

    Hi !
    Im from Norway, and i just wanted to thank you.
    I'm going to japan this summer to try to talk japanese and see how i do. So thank you for giving out free lessons, i would love to send you some Norwegian gifts if you are accepting gifts.
    Love from Norway

  40. Josie

    I am so happy Ive found your site and youtube, it makes me feel a lot better about wanting to study abroad and go to other places. Ive always thought Japanese people would hate me because of the horrible wars and all ;; (I really started feeling bad when I watched Studio Ghibli's "Grave of the Fireflys")

    Its great to see that you found your calling through different culture's! Hopefully Ill have good experiences with the other countries I go to someday!

    Thank you for giving us great lessons, Im hopping once Im at least a bit "Confident" in my Japanese, Ill go there!

    Thanks again! Good luck on learning new dances and languages!

  41. Edgaras

    If you haven't checked out Lithuania yet, you should definitely do it. Our capital city Vilnius is very beautiful!

  42. Jim

    yo Yuta, tips on being comfortable with growing old; when you get older you won't care as much about getting older haha 😛

  43. Wilson Sandy Sanusi

    Hi Yuta Aoki
    My name is wilson From Indonesia
    sorry i have a problem with your Japanese Lesson Video
    in fact i can't open The vimeo and can you help me with get a alternative
    Send with My social media
    FACEBOOK : Wilson Sandy

    Sorry for My Poor English

  44. AnKat

    Hello Yuta! Congratulations on your book and blog! Besides The Philippines, I have lived in The Netherlands and USA (Texas and Southern California). 🙂

  45. Giusy

    Wooow, what an exciting life you had! You went to India and to France, you have to come to Italy too, you would fall in love with our cuisine, our art and landscapes . You will be welcome for sure 🙂

  46. You don't know me

    Hello Yuta 🙂

    Greetings from Wales, UK.

    Why don't you update this blog anymore, I already read everything and I want to read more.

    Get on with it.


    1. F

      Wales, Wales. We have our own identity, be proud of it. It's bad enough he says 'britian' and 'british' but anyone with half a brain knows they're terms for England and English only.

  47. You don't know me

    Hello Yuta 🙂

    Greetings from Wales, UK.

    Why don't you update this blog anymore, I already read everything and I want to read more.

    Get on with it.


  48. Alice

    Hello Yuta 🙂

    Greetings from Wales, UK.

    Why don't you update this blog anymore, I already read everything and I want to read more.

    Get on with it.


  49. Chevy a.k.a. MaDDeRHaTTeR

    Hello Yuta!
    I am also a writer! I have two online publishings! Some naughty stuff like 170k words of naughty stuff lol!! My dream is to translate my fiction novels into Japanese, and hopefully someday write new exciting novels in Japan. I have a vpn and currently and gobbling up any and every kind of understandable, descriptive, worthwhile Japanese lesson, app, or instructor I can get my hands on!! Sadly many apps paid for or free are traps for misinformation! I am persistent if anything… And through mass comparison, lots of strenuous attention to content, a willingness to "cut and run" even IF the programme was "fun" I have learned some… I've learned what to look for and what I should stay away from. I found you on youtube! Between the Japanese 101 vids, the きくドラ channel and podcast I am sub'd to, and Linq's too… I saw that vid where the people who looked like they were foreign to Japan spoke fluently and the woman who appeared to be Japanese didn't speak at all and tye waitress was not acknowledging the fluent speakers! It blew me away!! Anyhow, it scared me but I (like you) am an introvert also so it did NOT deter me. I signed up for your lessons, even through my vpn I get an error message. Saying the site cannot be found
    (。╯︵╰。) Please help! Thank you!

  50. Grey

    Hey Yuta!
    First of all, thank you for the free lessons; thanks for your sharing your good perspectives and those of others with them. There are lots of free educational services out there, but your humor, insights, and your interviews are priceless! ^_^ And killer sharp explanations and speech, to boot… a sensei for sure. So, yea, thanks! I'm just starting out: Japanese; Chinese; a cook that wishes to go to Asia.
    And to read a little bit about you is a fun bonus. Interesting! I have some similar interests. Maybe sometime we can connect on things… do you play an instrument?? Reading suggestions?
    Anyways, I tell you, I'll pay attention, 'cause you seem like a passionate guy!
    Warm regards,
    Everyone, Yuta's pretty cool!

  51. Lynne

    Yuta, your English is impeccable! You write like a native. My mom is Japanese but has lived in the US for sixty years and she can't write as well as you. I'm very impressed.

  52. Gena Louise

    Hey Yuta!
    I've been following you for a few years now!
    I'm from England, and I'll be moving to Japan in the future when i've finished my degree!
    I'm currently studying both Japanese language and teaching English to foreign speakers so one day I can hop ship to your beautiful island and help bridge the gap between the East and the West!
    I HOPE one day i get to meet you! You're my hero Yuta – your English is BRILLIANT and you should be so proud of everything you've achieved.

    Lots of love from one islander to another! <3

  53. Mohamed Taqi

    Hello Yuta,

    My name is Mohamed, I think we have a lot in common … I am an introverted too, I am 30 years old, never dated, and I do not have friends and I have Asperger's syndrome and anxiety disorder.

    But I think these differences are actually good, being different than most people means that you have more time to do things you love : I personally love learning science, philosophy (Yes, I took a course at home, from pre-socratics to Witgenstein and Bertrand Russel), I am a programmer (for a living), I learn artificial intelligence… Meanwhile, I am improving my Chinese (Level HSK 4), Japanese (Level JLPT 4) and Hebrew ( i do not know my level in Hebrew, but it is like that of Chinese). (Level HSK 4 in chinese is actually equivalent to JLPT N2, so my chinese is more advanced than my Japanese, nevertheless I feel like Japanese is easier to listen to and understand when spoken fast as Chinese is a tonal language, but written Chinese is easier for me ).

    Hebrew is like a piece of cake since I already know Arabic (which is very similar in terms of grammar and vocabulary).

    My native language is not Arabic, but Tamazight (which is very different), then I learned Darija when I was 6 and Modern Arabic when I turned about 8 – 9 … We start studying french in Morocco before English (when I was 7), and I started learning English on my own when I turned 14 (4 years before starting school lessons), and started learning Hebrew around that time. Then I started learning Chinese and Japanese around age 18, but I was more focused on Chinese (simply because I used to chat with Chinese people, and I meet to Chinese people in Chinatown , while I've never met a Japanese before, there are not many in Morocco.).

    Sorry for this long comment, thank you for these lessons !


  54. Sarah

    Hello ゆたさん. From Florida USA. Please excuse my terrible Japanese but I am trying to learn. I love all of your videos about how Japanese actually is spoken vs how the textbook teaches. Thank you so much For doing this!! Looking forward to your next videos.

  55. Isaiah

    Hello Mr Aoki
    My name is Isaiah I’m 31 years old. I’m a soldier in the United States Army and I’ve been struggling with Japanese for sometime. I watch you on YouTube on your channel That Japanese Man Yuta and I’ve heard about learning Japanese with you. I’m super excited let’s go! BTW all you’re videos are amazing.
    Much love Yuta.

  56. Helle S. Gundersen

    Hello Yuta! I'm not sure where to ask this, so I hope you see it.
    I'm an exchange student in Japan, staying until february and I was wondering if you know about any place in Chiba or Tokyo where you can donate to homeless people? I have a lot of things in my appartment that I can't bring back to my home country and it would be a shame to just throw it away

    Hope you see this!
    Helle Swahn Gundersen

  57. Coop

    Hello Yuta,
    My name is coop. I want to learn to speak Japanese better – and I want to try your lessons. I believe I am a low intermediate speaker. I reside in Sacramento California in the USA. I have Upgraded my level to low intermediate in my registration. Please send me some appropriate material for that level. I speak Japanese a little and it is very bookish. I would like to speak more like a native speaker with colloquial terms and such. I can read hiragana and katakana and can write in Romaji. Arigato Coop

  58. Ale

    I like to disagree with some of the videos I have been watched. Please, can you email me back. I’m from Brazil and here has a enormous communities in South America. I’m trying to learn Japanese and I hope I can do it. It’s very challenging and I like it.

    Take care


  59. Ron

    Hi Yuta,

    Can you please give me the link so that I can be a premium member? I want to learn how to speak Japanese.


  60. JR

    Hi Yuta-san, John here. Thanks for your great videos. They've been great to introduce to my Japanese university students to help them consider different perspectives about issues, such as tattoos.
    I was wondering if you had any interest in guest speaking? I coordinate guest lectures at my university and it would be great to have someone like you as an example of how to develop and use English and ways of being a bridge between Japan and the world.
    I didn't see contact information for you here (except for signing up for Japanese lessons), but hopefully there's a way to contact each other if you have any interest in this!

  61. shamar

    I was wondering if there will be another open enrollment to your premium courses. Financially, I cant pay for the course at this moment, but I can definitely pay for it later on. Thank you, looking forward to your response soon!

  62. Tommi

    Hello, Yuta

    Is it possible to change when the emails arrive during the day?
    I'd prefer them not coming around 10 PM Finnish time

  63. Lillianna

    I am receiving your emails so don't worry about that, I haven't checked my emails in awhile so I had no clue I was getting emails from you, I didn't sign up for the course so I was super confused, my mother could've signed me up though, other than that I'm grateful to be learning Japanese

  64. Anonymous

    Hello Yuta-san

    My daughter has just started a degree in Japanese so I thought I'd like to surprise her by learning Japanese too.

  65. Lindsay Sorensen

    Hello Yuta!
    I purchased access to your course last night, but I haven’t received an email with login information.
    I’d love to start learning. Please reach out to me.
    Thank you!

  66. Leah

    Hiya, I’ve signed up to your course and have received an email and I have watched the first part of the 3-part series. However I only got access to one video. I was just wondering when you send the email daily for a few weeks do I watch one video everyday or do I watch 3 videos everyday. I’m just checking to make sure. Thank you!

  67. Annamaria

    Bonjour, je suis italienne mais je parle couramment français parce que ma mère était d'origine française, j'ai des grosses difficulté à suivre les leçons de japonais en anglais, on ne pourrait pas avoir au moins les sous-titres en français?
    Merci bien de votre attention.

  68. Fred

    Hi Yuta,

    I am a big fan of your content.

    I was recently looking for your video about Korea and Japan relationship, but I no longer could find it on your channel. Was the video deleted? If so, what are the reasons?

    I would really love to see more videos done to show Japanese people's attitude towards some of the historical issues.


  69. Noah

    Hi Yuta, I was wondering about the basics of japanese, since I've tried most methods, and they seem stale in that you learn by memorizing the english translation of a word, and they simplify it too much since there are many rules to japanese. So, in you first grammar video, you said something and I just want to clarify, that structuring sentences, is where you have a subject, like taberu, depending on what you say before and after it, changes the way the topic is used? What I mean to ask is, is most casual japanese speaking just saying something like "taberu," and to make it polite, you add a form at the end to contextualize it? It's hard to explain what I'm trying to ask. Like, you take a subject, or a word, and based on context, you change it?


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