He adds that popularity of Japan’s pop culture and interest in its cuisine and history play a big part in both tourism and J-vlogging's rise to prominence.
“People want to virtually travel here, learn more about the food, customs and culture,” he says. “It has also translated into incredible growth on our platform.”
But foreign visitors expecting to stroll through Tokyo and spot androids or Pokémon cosplayers at every turn are going to be disappointed.
While misconceptions about every country exist, Japan in particular seems to get a specific portrait painted of itself in international media, which likes to focus on the country’s weirder elements. Example: game shows in which contestants blow a live cockroach through a plastic tube into each other’s mouths.
“I think it’s really nice for [viewers] to get a down-to-earth, genuine perspective from actual people,” Rachel says – many people think Japan is “a crazy place, and then they get here and it’s just another country.”
In fact, their channel sometimes touches on the more negative aspects of life in Japan. When Tokyo Medical University admitted earlier this year that it rigged test scores to admit fewer women, Rachel and Jun made a video chronicling dozens of Japanese women’s reactions on social media, shining a spotlight on sexism in a country that’s been slow to fully embrace the #MeToo movement.
But much of the channel is about cultural differences. During my Skype interview with them, I got to see in real time the cross-cultural back-and-forth that’s coloured so many of their videos. At one point, Rachel started speaking about how the world is often fed the image of “wacky Japan” with its slapstick game shows and boisterous comedians.
Jun interrupts: “I thought you guys thought Japanese people were shy?”
Rachel: “Well, there’s that, but…”
And voila: there's the type of the interaction that characterises so many bicultural relationships – asking each other why you do this, why you think that. It sparks the same kind of conversations between partners as it does among the global audience watching J-vloggers' videos.
“It’s really helpful to have both perspectives in a video,” says Rachel. “I think that’s one of the reasons our channel has managed to do relatively well.”
Bryan Lufkin is BBC Capital’s features writer. Follow him on Twitter @bryan_lufkin.
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