Hey Eric welcome to our “Expat in Japan” series! Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Eric and I’m originally from Los Angeles, California. I currently live in the Shonan Beach area of Japan, one hour from southwest of Tokyo. I live near Oiso Beach, and I like to go surfing in my off time.
How long have you been living in Japan? When did you arrive and why did you come to live here?
I’ve been living in Japan on and off for about 20 years. I first arrived in Japan in 1991, and did my juggling act for a few weeks at an amusement park in Hokkaido. Soon, I was offered more juggling work, & wound up staying in Japan and having a 15 year performing career.
Wow, that’s cool! What surprised you the most when you came to Japan the first time?
I was probably most surprised by how clean Japan is. There is virtually no trash on the streets anywhere. Everything is so clean and orderly. Basically people clean up after themselves in public places. Even public toilets are very clean.
So, you have a Youtube Channel which is very popular, congratulations! When did you start it and why did you join the “Youtube game”?
I started my YouTube channel in 2007. The main reason was to share my life and my son’s lives growing up in Japan with my family back in California.
I see! Is Youtube your full-time job? If not, what do you do for the rest of your life?
YouTube I suppose is about half of my work life, and my day job is teaching different English courses at a Japanese university in the Shonan area near where I live. I like both jobs equally and wouldn’t quit either of them. Teaching gives me live human-to-human communication which I feel we all need. Creating videos on YouTube gives me a creative outlet to reach a world wide audience. It’s a comfortable balance. Too much of one or the other equals burnout or depression.
For people who don’t know you yet (what a shame!), you talk about food A LOT on your channel with the “ERIC MEAL TIME” series. What are your favorite Japanese dishes?
The Eric Meal Time series is my most popular with nearly 400 videos and many categories of foods. My favorite Japanese dishes are sushi, Japanese BBQ, tempura, ramen, and anything that comes out of a vending machine.
Do you have favorite restaurants or places you would recommend to people coming to Japan for vacation?
I recommend any of the chain sushi restaurants with the conveyor belt. It’s priced reasonable, it’s easy to order or (just take it off the belt), and it’s tasty. I also recommend Japanese Izakaya (pub) style restaurants. Most of them offer a picture menu for easy ordering, and if in Tokyo there’s also bilingual menus available. These types of restaurants have a large selection of food at reasonable prices.
You have already joined several of our tours in Tokyo (thank you! It was a real pleasure to have you). Which one would you recommend? And which one would you like to try next?
All of Arigato Japan’s food tours are very well planned out and offer lots of variety and deliciousness. You won’t be disappointed.
Do you have any funny anecdotes to share with us?
In Japan before eating a meal, you say “Itadakimasu” which is a bit tricky. Everyone says it before every meal as thanks for the food we are about to eat. I learned on an Arigato Japan Food Tour with Asami how to remember it. She taught me to just say, “Eat a Duck and Mouse” If you say it fast, it sounds just like “Itadakimasu” Brilliant~!
Finally, do you have a personal message to add?
My YouTube videos are my way of expressing myself, entertaining people, and sharing the amazing cuisine and beauty of Japan with the rest of the world.
Thanks to Eric for your time and for sharing your experiences, it has been a pleasure to have you as a guest!
If you’d like to follow his daily life in Japan, please be sure to follow him on: