LIVING ABROAD IN TOKYO, JAPAN

March 04, 2019


Right now, things are hard. I’m laying in my room, heater blasting and my body temperature constantly changing from minute to minute. One second I’m hot and breaking into a sweat, the next moment I’m shivering and still feeling cold while I’m bundled up under the covers. (Must have caught a cold/the flu or something) 

Part of me wishes that I could be at home with my mom and dog eating some homemade chicken noodle soup. The other part of me feels like I’m strong and can buy some medicine, rest it out, and take care of myself. Living abroad can be hard. One second I’m having the time of my life, enjoying new experiences, and the next I just wish that I could give my mom a hug and feel sad that I made a decision that includes being away from her and my family. 



In one sense, I’m in a happy point in my life, living my dream you could say. I have a roof over my head in Tokyo, I have food, and have friends that I could reach out to if I really needed something. I have more time to focus on my YouTube channel and I am constantly inspired every single day. It’s not something that I want to give up. But on the other hand, life in California, is — in some ways, way less stressful. I don’t have to pay rent if I live at home. I can understand everything doctors/anyone is saying and feel comfortable because of the familiarity… at the same time, though California / Los Angeles itself is comfortable, my home life there was not. 

My mom is currently in a relationship with a guy and they live together, including his 30 year old daughter. She was supposed to move in temporarily while she “figured things out,” but that temporarily turned into her staying with us from mid-2016 until now. She makes no effort to speak to or respect my mother and pretty much acts like she doesn’t exist, me included, when I was there visiting my home. (During Fall 2016 I moved to UCLA, so I have pretty much been living outside of the house since she moved in.) Beyond that, some bothersome things have occurred in the house such as drawers in the kitchen being left open, the kitchen being messy, loud music, slamming doors, and the clothes in my closet getting mysteriously bleached. 



To be frank, it just doesn’t feel like my home anymore. Perhaps when I am in my own room, home alone or with just my mother at home, I get a glimpse of what home used to feel like. But, the second he or she walks in the door, my glimpse of home is crushed and I’m filled with discomfort. It’s difficult to film videos because sometimes she spends hours in the bathroom and it messes up my schedule or plans for the day. Other times her TV/music is so loud that I can’t focus or feel that the sound would be heard while filming my videos. Besides that, my clothes being ~mysteriously bleached~ makes me feel as though someone has it out for me, for whatever reason, and it’s difficult to feel comfortable filming videos knowing that someone who potentially isn’t fond of me could be on the other side of the wall listening in. 


99% of the time, I only film videos when I’m in a good mood. And in Japan, I usually am in a good mood. Of course I’ll have occasionally have stressful times where I’ll maybe mention “I had to go to the doctors today because of x” or “I’m worried about not having time to get x done” etc. But, that said, those are only details about my life. Those things don’t necessarily affect my mood on a daily basis or prevent from being grateful that I get to live in a beautiful, clean city and practice my Japanese. On the other hand, being at home made me feel like I couldn’t be productive, and I sometimes had breakdowns because I felt so uncomfortable and just wanted to leave the house. (Note: My mom works, so normally it would just be me home alone trying to avoid the 30 year old daughter.) 



So it’s tough missing “home”, well my home, as in my mom and my dog Trixie, yet not exactly wanting to return to that situation. Of course I would love to just be able to ignore her and pretend like she doesn’t exist, but the reality of it is that when I am home, she does affect my life. Whether it’s her spending 3 hours in the bathroom, or her Dad telling my Mom to tell ME, that she needs to wash clothes so I should hurry and finish, or realizing that when I’m home, she never refills the toilet paper in the bathroom. 

Also, once, I cleaned the bathroom (since she rarely cleaned it at that time) and moved a few of her things over to clean and woke up the next morning to find a note on her products that read, “DO NOT TOUCH MY STUFF. NOT EVERYTHING IN THIS BATHROOM IS YOURS. THANKS :)” And just for context, I have never had a conversation with this woman, didn’t really live there at the same time she has, and honestly know nothing about her at all besides what I’ve heard about her employment or non-employment status. That kind of discomfort is not something that I want to be around because it really affects me and hinders my ability to be in a good mood and film content. 



So here we are, Japan, 2019, living in my quaint share-house apartment in Tokyo, creating YouTube videos as often as possible and doing collaborations when they are available. The influencer scene is quite different in Tokyo versus LA. Brands don’t really utilize influencers as much as brands in LA do. In LA, I received multiple emails for sponsored jobs every week, and those sponsored jobs allowed me to create more content, pay my rent (I lived in an apartment near UCLA), and take a few trips during the year. However, in Tokyo, that is not the case. I’m lucky if I get 1 or 2 sponsored jobs in a month. The other "sponsorship" opportunities rarely offer pay and are usually brands or products that are not really of interest to me or serve no benefit for me so I don't take them. In LA, I made I really decent amount during the year 2018 for the months that I was in the states, and I felt like I was making progress in working towards my goal of becoming a full-time YouTuber/Freelancer.


I’ve lived in LA my whole life and have been doing influencer work since 2015, so I guess you could say I know (some) of the ins and outs of being an influencer in LA. In Tokyo, I am signed with a YouTube talent agency, which is great, because I have support and a bit more access to how brands work in Tokyo. But in some ways, it feels like I’m going backwards in terms of paid opportunities. Sometimes I’d do 3-4 brand deals a month and would make over $2K in LA. Now I feel lost in the influencer space in Tokyo, and still haven’t really figured out how to navigate as a freelancer here. Perhaps I need to start reaching out to brands more myself, or just need to make more content and be patient. I don’t know. 


But what I do know, is the reason that I came here. I wanted to have a new experience. I want to improve my Japanese. I want/wanted to explore more of Japan. I want to go shopping in Tokyo and try out new fashions. I want to film content about Japan. But without a stable income, it is difficult to accomplish that. Thankfully, I have a good amount of savings and do still make some money from YouTube, and an amount from a few affiliate websites. Along with that, I got hired at an 英会話 (English conversations school) where I will be giving private English lessons to students every week. The school isn’t too demanding with the hours and it seems like I will still have time for my YouTube channel and other jobs when/if they come up. But getting a job seems… (I don't know? Weird? Nostalgic?) Or maybe I have just (fortunately) gotten used to being self-employed for the last few years. Why get a traditional job when in LA I was doing fine being a self-employed freelancer? The problem is, 1 To live in Japan I need a visa, and to get a visa you need to either have a company sponsor you OR have proof that you’ve made over ($xxxx) consistently during the last six months in Japan to prove that you can basically sponsor your own visa. And 2, (regarding the second option) I don’t get enough jobs in Tokyo to be able to sponsor myself in order to be here without a traditional visa sponsorship from a company. That said, I am still very grateful to have the opportunity to work with students and gain a new experience.


So where does that leave us now? I think I need to work harder to become a full-time freelancer/creator, whatever you want to call it. I’ve had ideas in my head for months now, and it’s up to me to make those ideas become reality. There’s plenty of people out there that are making a living as a freelancer, and although it’s not always consistent, I do believe that it’s possible when one utilizes their resources. So whether I decide to stay in Japan or go back to LA, one thing stays the same. I need to work hard to be able to live the life that I want to live and part of that requires money. I don’t want to live in the house with those people… I have to earn enough money to be able to afford another place. I want to feel more comfortable in Tokyo? I need to step it up and work harder on my YouTube channel and online presence. 

Besides YouTube being a part of my job, it is also my hobby. I'm so grateful that my content can serve to help others, put a smile on someone's face, or be relatable at times, and hope to continue connecting with you guys from where ever life takes me. 


Thanks for reading! 
March 3rd, 2019 2:00AM (or so)

Love, Sweet Pea ♡

You Might Also Like

5 comments

  1. Wow Paris! I know your situation in L.A. and now I am more aware of your situation in Tokyo. You have my total support whatever you decide to do. Stay strong, stay focus and remember I am always in corner.
    Love Dad!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Paris,

    (I apologize in advance for any grammatical or spelling mistakes. I'm from Germany and English isn't my first language.)

    Your story is somewhat sad but also really inspiring to me! I feel bad for you, because of the situation in LA and because you can't see your mom as much as you want to but I'm sure you will get through this!
    And I know you probably hear this often but you are a huge influence and role model to me since January 2018. I was hooked on watching Yu-Gi-Oh at that time and that's when I came across one of your videos about learning Japanese. One year later I'm already in my second "trimester" of learning Japanese with an actual teacher and class. I even thought about studying it at Uni after I'm done with school and eventually moving to Japan, just like you.

    Anyways, I'm already in love with your Blog and can't wait to read more.

    Thank you so much ❤️

    Love,

    Sundali

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Paris.

    I'm sorry about your home situation in LA. I'm very close to my mom as well and I can't imagine not being able to see her as much as I want. I know that must not be a good feeling. I've been watching you on youtube since you came out with the "How to Learn Japanese Hiragana and Katakana" video. I just want you to know that you are so inspirational to me and everytime I see you in Japan it motivates me to work even harder so that I can be in Japan like you. You are an example of the saying "hard work pays off". I'm sending you positive vibes from Torrance, CA!

    Melba

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Paris, it's Ashton. I'm so sorry to hear about your situation at home and that you feel sick right now. I thank you for feeling comfortable with sharing this information with us, the Sweet Pea Squad. Through it all, we will continue to support you. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi my love. Paris I know our situation at home isn’t picture perfect as has always been, but you and I can get through this and we will. No one knows when making choices how things will pan out we just have to learn from it and move forward. Strength is key and you and I both have that. It’s a blessing in disguise that you moved onto campus the year his daughter lived in and yes life it will end soon. I miss you lore than anything and hate that you have had to deal with this. You being happy has always been my only wish and I have worked hard to give you just that. When we let others into our lives we really don’t know their intentions until after, most are true but then some have their own fears and issues and they are afraid to express them. I’m always going to be real and honest and moving forward choices will be made with more effort. It’s always been just us two living together, and we learned how different from one perspective it can be, which we found out is not for our home environment. Be patient as I am and God will see us through this very soon. Love you, Mom ❤️

    ReplyDelete

Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images