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Abroad in Japan: The No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller

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The first half of the book offers a more candid insight into how and why he went to Japan, his culture shock, his efforts to integrate into and contribute more to his adopted community. The idea of conversing with anyone of importance in English, let alone in broken Japanese, filled me with fear. His experiences have made him a sought-after voice on life inside Japan and he has been featured on the BBC, TEDx, NHK and the Japan Times.

Having watched him on YouTube for a few years at the time, Chris inspired me to take the leap of moving to Japan in 2019. While most images synonymous with Japan are either Tokyo’s urban sprawl or Kyoto’s red-lacquered shrines, in reality, 70 per cent of Japan’s surface area consists of mountains and forests. However, as much as I understand I can't help but feel that there were things left out of the book that I thought would have been included, or at least mentioned. I had a lot of time to read during my stay in Spain and apart from scrolling through social media I'd read through this autobiography many chapters at a go. I’m a sucker for travel books like that and I’d love Chris to share some more personal stories about that time.The first 60% or so are full of stories we’ve never heard before and I found myself chuckling a lot. He posted a video about how rude it was that they would carry out their test so early in the morning and proceeded to criticize the regime of Kim Jong-un, as well as foreigners who visit North Korea. With blockbuster moments such as a terrifying North Korean missile incident, a Japanese national TV experience gone horribly wrong and a week spent with Japan's biggest movie star, Ken Watanabe, Abroad in Japan is an extraordinary and informative journey through the Land of the Rising Sun. The guy just jetted off there one day to teach English despite having no teaching experience and knowing barely any Japanese.

Which is all fine and good, but having watched all of his videos, mostly felt like rehashes of things I already had seen. While he's no expert, he downplays what becomes apparent - his willingness to learn and embrace his new setting. Having produced over 100 episodes of the Abroad in Japan Podcast together with Chris since 2018, and travelled Japan more extensively than most (across 10+ trips), Pete is a Japanophile and top London Radio DJ rolled into one. It is a great reflection of living abroad in an entirely different culture, and it shows Japan and its people through a deeper level than the ever polite mask that is always shown.From chapter 1 all the way through to the end I couldn’t wait to hear the next tale of his time in Japan.

As for this book, I absolutely loved the first half of the book when he was going into more detail with his early days and teaching in Japan. As a matter of fact, some of his videos helped me out preparing for my exchange year back in high school from 2017-2018. My husband introduced me to the Abroad in Japan YouTube channel a few years ago and we've enjoyed watching all the videos together ever since.

Also, interesting hearing about the "Journey Across Japan" from the author's perspective, since I was among the viewers who watched during Covid and thoroughly enjoyed it. From wide-eyed exchange teacher to seasoned youtuber, Chris Broad explores Japan in all its quirky glory, surviving earthquakes, North Korean missile alerts, cat cafe allergies and Love Hotel evictions. But it's off the big screen where Ken plays his greatest role of all; rebuilding a town devastated by a tsunami. He focuses on the creation of videos about Japanese culture, Japanese food and travel in Japan, primarily in the Tōhoku region.

In early 2021, Broad began filming a third entry in the series, titled Journey Across Japan: The Lost Islands with The Anime Man and Natsuki, which takes place in the region of Kyushu. I am a fan of "Abroad in Japan" having seeing Chris's videos on Life in Japan over the year on his youtube channel. This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification, as its only attribution is to self-published sources; articles should not be based solely on such sources. I’ve been a fan of the Abroad in Japan YouTube channel for years because visiting Japan had been on my bucket list for the longest time.I loved how his personality shone through the pages, it was such a fun read with his humour easily being translated onto paper. Broad revisited the disaster area in a second documentary uploaded in 2020 about the region's recovery. His tone, humour and personality shone through the pages and the book was a very enjoyable read that I worked through in just a few hours. Also because it is a memoir and a slice of life in Japan, I also could see that it can be a good contemporary companion book to Pico Iyers The lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto, which I absolutely loved.

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