While many of us dream of moving to a new country, Emma (a.k.a. TokiDoki Traveller) has made it a reality. Moving to Tokyo from Australia four years ago, Emma has established herself as a reputable and fun vlogger who showcases various aspects of life in Japan. Her YouTube channel boasts an array of videos covering everything from capsule hotels to must-see places in Osaka. The COMM sat down with Emma to talk about life in Tokyo and YouTube, of course!
What inspired you to start your travel vlog, Tokidoki Traveller, on YouTube?
Before I moved here I studied acting at university, and I didn’t know what creative opportunities there would be for me in Japan before coming. So I thought YouTube would be a great way to express myself, as I could do it by myself!
How has your content evolved over time?
When I first came to Japan I was only 20 years old and struggling with my sense of self and a lot of loneliness, yet at the same time I was experiencing the excitement of living in a new country. Those ups and downs are reflected in my earlier videos with more sad and artsy content mixed in with other super positive videos. It was a bit all over the place but I’m still proud of it. I have learned from experiences and grown to have a more simplified and organised style which I believe reflects better mental health.
Who are some of the content creators you look up to on YouTube?
I’m a huge fan of Jack Stauber! Super chaotic and creative, he makes me want to try new things! In the Japanese community I always look up to Chris Broad and Dogen. Chris produces super high quality content with his own personal style. Dogen is just so intelligent in his humour and his content is so… crisp?
What’s the best part of being a content creator?
One of my favourite things is that my work is what I make it! I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder telling me what to do.
You are also the host of the Tokyo Creative YouTube channel. Is there a difference between working on your own and working in a team?
It’s so different working with a team than by myself! Actually I’m super grateful that I can work with Tokyo Creative as it’s helpful to have a group of people there to support me and bounce ideas off of. When I make my own videos it’s kind of a one man show and I have to rely on my own intuition, and sometimes I can get into my own head.
What do you enjoy most about living in Japan?
I never run out of things to do! Every season there’s something special that I look forward to, like Hanami in sakura season, or bon odori and summer festivals. Then there’s all of the events and restaurants in Tokyo too, I just feel like I am always looking forward to something.
What is the most unique experience you’ve had in Japan?
So with my job I often get to have unique experiences, BUT the most unique experience I have had was when I first arrived in Japan. I was climbing Mt Takao the 2nd week into my trip, I was close to the top and got a bit lost. I turned a corner and suddenly in front of me was Hideaki Kobayashi. He’s that old man that’s famous for dressing as a schoolgirl. He was wearing plaid short shorts, long black socks with school shoes and a school girl blouse and jacket. He smiled at me as he walked past, stepping through the snow with his thighs bare to the sun, and that was that… Part of me feels like I must have dreamt it but I know it was real, haha.
Do you think living and working in Tokyo has changed your worldview?
Yes! I have met so many people here that have changed my life and made my world a lot bigger. Living in Tokyo also makes me appreciate the time I can spend with my family more, which in a way has brought me closer to them even though I am further away.
Any recommendations for someone visiting Tokyo or Japan for the first time?
If you’re in Tokyo for a while you have to take a day or weekend trip out to some of the surrounding areas. Hakone, Enoshima, Nikko, Takao, there’s so many great spots that are unique and full of nature. For Tokyo: Odaiba, Tokyo Dome City, and Shimokitazawa are some places I bring friends and family when they visit!
Introduction and questions by Katie.
Images courtesy of @tokidokiemma via Twitter, photo editing by @nimbus.jelly.