I'm finally home from Tokyo! I spent the last week meeting up with a ton of friends, making new friends, and taking many videos of yet-to-be-determined quality (hopefully a few are usable).
You would think that after three years of making videos I would have some sort of professional mentality where I would know exactly what qualities a good video needs and thus record confidently and efficiently with a clear image in my mind of how the final video will turn out... but it never happens that way. It's still awkward recording in public. It's awkward talking to yourself, it's awkward talking to a camera, and it's especially awkward trying not to get in the way of or cause trouble for the people around you who are just trying to go about their day without showing up in the background of some foreigner's camera.
I also have a tendency to get lost in the moment enjoying my surroundings or talking to people, and I almost always forget to take pictures together with people (and slightly less often but still more than is acceptable also forget to take videos).
I initially went to Tokyo to meet Jun's and my long-term internet friend Melodee Morita in person. Fortunately, I was able to take a picture our second day together!
Melodee is one of those people who are so truly, genuinely, kind and sweet that they could tell you a story where they were less than perfect with another person and you would just laugh and think it was adorable, and that doesn't really count as being mean because omg you are the nicest person ever. (Not that she told me a story like that; she didn't.)
She works and lives in New York, so I was super happy to get the chance to finally meet her!
It turns out that Melodee picked the perfect time to come to Tokyo because I was also able to meet up with a ton of other people who were also just visiting or were otherwise very often too busy to hang out a lot. Best buddies Sharla and Grace were a given, and I was also able to catch a lunch with Chika (our first time really getting a chance to talk; it was wonderful!), and new friend and soon-to-be-jvlogger Miranda (who brought a lot of incredibly delicious Mexican snacks for us to try!) I also met jvloggers Sapphira (yet to debut) and Anora of Yummy Japan! And here's where I fail with pictures, because the only other one I took that wasn't purikura is this one. ↓
It was really a YouTuber meet fest. We all took videos together, so look forward to those in the coming months! I say months because legit you guys have no idea how many videos we end up with sitting in an editing queue, fading out of memory and relevance. (Figuring out which videos get edited and uploaded first is a half complex/half arbitrary process that would need a separate blog post to explain.)
In any case, I was so excited and happy to meet all of these people! There's something so easy and refreshing about hanging out with other people who also make videos, because we all share similar hardships and understand exactly what to do when the other person's recording. We all happily commiserate with each other on the time it takes to edit or add subtitles, talk about how we deal with negative comments, and brainstorm ideas for collaborating. Most of us YouTubers start out making videos alone, so meeting other people who do the same things and think about the same problems is always really fun.
YouTube is strange because you see someone's image and hear their voice online, and you get to feel like you know them even when you've never met before in real life. When you finally get a chance to meet, many people (myself being one of them) often act like you've met a dozen times before. This goes for meetups where both people are YouTubers, and it also goes for meetups where one person's a video maker and the other is a viewer. I love this. The main point of my original too-long-tweet was wanting to talk about this.
I was very luckily able to meet quite a few people in Tokyo I just so happened to dumbly stumble past at the right time who recognized me and thankfully called out. It happens every now and then in Nagoya, but Nagoya is a smaller city and to be honest I don't leave the house that often anyway, so it's not a fairly frequent occurrence.
I remembered to take two pictures.
It feels really strange.
I'm very, very happy to meet these people, always. Like I said before, it's easy to talk to people like friends when they already know a bit about you, and especially when you share the common experience of being in Japan. It feels like I have friends everywhere. But it's also embarrassing, because I am always unsatisfied with something about our videos, and I can't feel proud to meet people and be like, "Yeah! I made those videos!" I feel more like, "Yeah, I made those videos, although I suck at speaking and I don't think I got my point across correctly here" or "I kind of changed a little bit since that video and it doesn't really reflect my mindset anymore" or "I don't know if you noticed how shaky our camera was or how horrible the sound quality was but it was really unprofessional and at this point with our channel I feel like we should have been doing better."
Once our videos are uploaded, I can never watch them again because I don't like looking at myself and seeing all my mistakes popping out at me.
Don't get me wrong, I think we have a lot of good stuff. But is it stuff that's worthy of being recognized on the street over? I dunno, that's kind of weird. Getting recognized in public is something that happens to famous people. Famous people are people who are like... up there, you know. Different. Not down here in the real world with us average people. Of course that's not true, but that's how it feels to me. I start to get uncomfortable when viewers are referred to or refer to themselves as fans (not that any of the people I met in Tokyo did that). YouTube doesn't help with this, because they refer to viewers as fans, too.
The first fan link up there shows everyone who is subscribed to you (assuming their subscriptions are public). So according to YouTube, you literally only have to be subscribed to someone to be a fan of them. I think that usage of the word is too liberal, and I don't like how it adds distance between the video creator and the viewer.
I know I said in my job video I would never talk about my job again, but parts of it end up being relevant here and there, and since this is a blog I feel like I have a little more leeway here. In the military keeping professional distance between people of different ranks is stressed very strongly, to the point of being an actual military law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (fraternization). That makes sense for the military. A military needs very strict rules and regulations to keep order, which helps the military function as efficiently and predictably as possible during the fog of war.
But this isn't the military. We're not even famous people. We're just people who make amateur videos. Does there need to be that distance? I don't think so.
I understand why YouTube and some YouTubers refer to their viewers as fans. Technically, some viewers could meet the defining criteria of being a fan. But I think that's a bit... egotistical? Like you're saying you think that just because you made some videos, you deserve fame? Maybe for YouTube that makes good business, because fans buy merchandise and support people to the point of giving those people a public persona, which makes YouTube look like they're creating celebrities, which makes YouTube look good and makes more people want to join YouTube and ultimately YouTube earns more money.
But it's also encouraging video makers to think of themselves as being famous, which leads some of them to soaring egos and superiority complexes, and I don't think that's what YouTube should be about.
I like viewers being friends. I enjoy meeting them. I enjoy talking to them. I enjoy being able to share my thoughts. I've said before that while Jun and I were dealing with our long distance, being able to just get online and chat with someone immediately on Twitter or YouTube was an almost indispensable resource for protecting my mental health. My favorite part of uploading videos is reading the new comments that come in. The first two days after uploading a video I will almost obsessively be checking our new messages the moment they pop up (I have an application that alerts me when we get new emails, wootwoot).
This does get hard though because it's impossible now for us to respond to everyone. I was that socially awkward kid in school who always started sentences quietly and then got cut off by more outgoing people saying something else, and I would never be able to interject and get my own questions or thoughts in, so I'm a bit sensitive toward ignoring people when they're asking questions. I feel like a douchebag when I can't respond to questions. I know most people realize and even expect that YouTubers won't answer their questions, but I still feel bad.
By the way, thank you to everyone who commented on the last blog post, and I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply to all of them yet. I did read them all. To the person who asked if maybe I was apologizing so much due to subconscious feelings of disappointing my mom or something like that, lol, that really made me laugh. But no, you start to get a little paranoid about what you're saying after you've been doing YouTube for a while because literally everything you say can offend someone. A significant portion of things you say will be misunderstood or misconstrued, and then used angrily in rants against you, and it kind of sucks... No matter how hard you try to get your point across, someone always gets upset. Since I can type more freely here in a blog without worrying about people clicking out because it's too long (like we do with videos), it's easier to add all the disclaimers I predict I might need in preparation for potential criticism. It sounds kind of crazy that that's something I even have to think about, but yep, that's one thing I've learned to do after all these years. The sad part is I apparently have no ability to predict how people are going to react to the things I say so most of the time it ends up being fruitless and I make some people angry anyway. Oh well.
Anywho, this was just a little more insight into my mind here. It's a lot of things I've been wanting to say for a while, but never really seemed to fit in in a video anywhere. And no apologies this time. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, TOO BAD.
Just kidding. Don't get angry.