Book Talk | Abroad in Japan
Hey Ya'll! I'm back with a new book review. So ironically, one of my favorite YouTubers, Abroad in Japan, put out his first book at the beginning of August. It was only fitting that I start this book during my trip to Japan (read about that here). I had been hearing about this book from Chris on his podcast for what seemed like a year now, so having it in my hands, I felt super proud of someone that I have never met in person but who's voice I would recognize from a mile away.
About the Author
Chris Broad is a British filmmaker and founder of the Abroad in Japan YouTube channel, one of the largest foreign YouTube channels in Japan with over 2.5 million subscribers and 400 million views. Over ten years and two hundred videos, Chris has visited all of Japan's forty-seven prefectures, focusing Abroad in Japan on travel, food and culture. He has also covered contemporary issues through documentaries on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. 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.
About the Book
When Englishman Chris Broad landed in a rural
village in northern Japan he wondered if he'd made a huge mistake. With
no knowledge of the language and zero teaching experience, was he about
to be the most quickly fired English teacher in Japan's history?
Abroad in Japan charts a decade of living in a foreign land and the chaos and culture clash that came with it. Packed with hilarious and fascinating stories, this book seeks out to unravel one the world's most complex cultures.
I wasn't too sure on what to expect from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised from the very first chapter. There are a lot of things to be surprised about in this book, especially if you don't know too much about Chris, but one of the big things I want to point out is how well written his story is. From the descriptions to the settings, Chris has a way of transporting us to the time and place where his past self resides along with describing the people that he interacted with in detail not just by appearance, but by interests and mannerisms.
Another aspect of this story that I would like to point is how much of an underdog story this is. I have been attracted to underdog stories ever since I can remember (hence why Spider-Man is my favorite superhero) and Chris' story is just that. We see this point in our author's life where he is completely new to Japan, is feeling like a foreigner, and is having hard time adjusting, but wants to immerse himself in his new home. Chapter by chapter, our author pushes on through the every hardship and, from my point of view, comes up on top...of Mount Fuji (figuratively and literally).
I also love the way a writer can relate to things in your everyday life. At the end of the story, Chris reflects back on the little moments in his life that he goes back to from time to time. When I get in a nostalgic mood, I too go back to those simple moments of driving my unreliable car late at night from college with the windows down listening to my Meatloaf CD. Those are the moments that I'm sure almost everyone can relate to and we love a relatable story.
Lastly, I love our authors honesty. Sometimes, we want to kind of sugarcoat the truth on things to make us seem like something we want to the greater masses...but not Chris. He lets you know all of his embarssemets, his highs and lows, and his honest opinions and feeling about various situations throughtout the story. We always appreciate honesty here.
Overall, I enjoyed my time reading Abroad in Japan. It's a story about someone taking a chance on adventure and how the decisions we make and the people we meet are what put the pieces of our puzzles together. If you're into autobiography's, definitely check out Abroad in Japan by Chris Broad. Until next time, Happy Reading!
"They key to turning a good trip into an unforgettable one is the encounters you have along the way."