Travel without travelling pt3: A Canadian Pokemon, a German Maid and More

by | Jul 22, 2021 | Pop, Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you still feel the need for escapism and anaesthetics for the soul and the normal regimen of Tales of Off World Colonies and heartbreak in Seoul no longer cuts it, here’s another compilation of content that will help you to travel without travelling, from Japan and Tokyo to NYC with a small detour into the world of watches. Read more about how to, in the year of the Virus, astrally project with the help of some great content creators on Youtube.
Read the third installment of Travel without Travelling.


Sharla, aka Sharmeleon/Sharmander, is a Canadian Youtuber haling from the the great province of British Columbia (home to my four favourite Canadian places: Vancouver, Nelson, Vancouver Islands and Victoria… ok so maybe I’ve mostly been to British Columbia). The host having lived and worked in Japan for a very long time makes the Sharmeleon channel a great source of calm reflective outings in Japan mixed with some day in the life content that someone who likes or is interested in Japan might like. In contrast to Abroad in Japan which relies on the humour and delivery of Chris, Sharmeleon has the perspective of someone who seems to have been embedded in Japanese culture for quite some time. The cultural understanding coming from both careful research and interest as well as hands on experience.

Sharmeleon, much like Abroad in Japan, is part of the Tokyo Creative network – this means that besides personal friends there are also appearances from Abroad in Japan, Ryotaro and Natsuki and others, lifestyle and fashion vloggers who are part of the network/agency. The mix between the guests and Sharlas knowledge of Japan and positive but calm presentation style works as a good counterbalance to the British/Japanese shenanigans of Chris & Co. 

Favourite content for Travel without travelling ranges from the discovery of mystery boxes from Japanese vending machines, lucky bags buying and opening (also much appreciated by daughters – especially Pokemon store lucky bags) and promoted content with visits to different places in the countryside.

Sharla consistently puts out quality content, has some fun guests and I recommend it if you want a Westerners quite informed view on Japan with a pleasant, relaxed and nicely paced delivery.

Cathy Cat

Ask Japanese and Cathy Cat channels are hosted by German Gothic Lolita Cathy Cat. Another content creator about as native to Japan as a westerner can be – like Sharla she also speaks excellent Japanese. A German having studied Japanese and then deciding to move to the land of the Rising Sun – a not too unusual venture for real Japan enthusiasts, Cathy (Cat) is a positive and appreciative Japan dweller sharing her knowledge about the wonders and peculiarities of Japan. With a stake in a typically Japanese sub-culture, Gothic Lolita, Cathy has knowledge both of the mainstream and some of the off the beaten track pop cultural stuff.

With professional editing and good production values as well as solid editorial research and work behind content both channels, though different in approach and content, are highly enjoyable. With the kind of quality of English only reserved for non-native speakers Cathy Cats German heritage sometimes comes out in the occasional content in her mother native language and some very slights hints in wording that would be recognisable turn of phrases for a German. Cathy Cat is an obviously linguistically talented individual who excels in both languages used in both channels.

Ask Japanese

The Ask Japanese channel focuses on street interviews, actually asking Japanese. The knowledge and charm of Cathy Cat makes even some of the more predictable subjects enjoyable. The specific biases and cultural parameters of Japanese come out quite well in these interviews with Cathy due to her understanding of Japanese culture and great language skills manages to coax out answers around diverse subjects ranging from: How Japanese like to date to Why foreigners are perceived as rude. The Ask Japanese content always features Cathy Cat in full Gothic Lolita regalia, a style both distinct and highly pre-meditated and makes these street interviews even more enjoyable and eye-catching!

The Cathy Cat channel focuses on the stuff that doesn’t come out in the, quite rigid, Ask Japanese format. You get slice of life content, makeup tutorials, Gothic Lolita stuff and lucky bags galore. Cathy Cat now also works as a host for Japanese Railway Journal – content I haven’t had the time to watch yet but most likely is great. In summary: this talented content creator even makes lucky bag openings of Gothic Lolita clothing brands interesting – which says quite a lot as there is little to no sartorial chance of me ever wearing a maid dress or using a lacey umbrella. Probably.

XiaomaNYC – the polyglot next door

Have you ever wondered how fast you could learn a language… say Korean, in case you had a great genetic basis as well as the perfect methodology and technique to do so? No? You just haven’t met XiaomaNYC. Xiaoma lives in NYC and speaks perfect mandarin – to the point where Chinese are surprised by the level of language skills, both when it comes to pronounciation as well as having the vocabulary, grammar and skills to use colloquial language to great effect. This is Xiaoma. A NYC native who speaks excellent mandarin among many other languages. His content both takes you to different cultures as he can go pretty deep into various minority communities in New York as well as the content being recorded in New York also gets you a good street level reminder New York if you, like me, miss the city terribly.

Xiaoma is, simply put, a polyglot. A person with native language skills in multiple languages and a hard to explain talent for learning new languages. His content is mostly standard stuff with a  few variations: getting into english conversations with Chinese speakers – then changing to flawless mandarin or cantonese mid-conversation. The settings may change and he sometimes brings along friends to vary the scenario a bit. It also bring the disbelief to another level when there are two or three people you just wouldn’t believe to be native level chinese speakers suddenly ordering different Chinese foods in a food court or complaining about the provinence of some obviously dodgy products.

Some fascinating content is also when Xiaoma attempts learning a new language in a very short frame. Xiaoma uses several techniques to learn a language in a time span that seems unbelievable when you just hear about it. And the content around this process is incredibly inspiring and enjoyable.

XiaomaNYC content ranges from the brief and slightly trivial but almost always entertaining, to some satisfying food outings and then some true hardcore linguistic and polyglot gymnastics. The channel gives you several dimensions of travelling without moving. 

Nico Leonard

What do you get when you combine a watch salesman, an Irish git with a funny Dutchman? And no, the answer isn’t Pirate treasure or Booty – though both might be relevant in reference to Nico Leonard – the owner and proprietor of Pride and Pinion, a Belfast luxury watch shop and Youtuber. The channel content consists of Nicos’ running commentary on various people, mostly celebrities showing off their watch collections. Something that on paper doesn’t sound that entertaining.

The whole premise of someone showing off their luxury watch collections is oafish and uncivilised from the start – the subjects of these videos are often the typical nouveau riche athletes and artists. But the “someone reacts to a video”-format works incredibly well. As Nico both has what seems like a perfect savant-like recall for watch valuation, a deep knowledge of wristwatch lore in general and the manner of an oversized, laddish but very funny self deprecating bully, the content becomes both funny and highly informative. You get to laugh at the gauche “iced out” Pateks and Rolexes of footballers and hip hop moguls alike while at the same time partaking of Nicos humour and vast knowledge and love for wristwatches.

With an obsession with luxury watches in general, Rolexes in particular and Casios (because they are “god tier”) Nico won’t be everyones cup of espresso but I find him charming and quite often very funny. I can even appreciate Nicos very consistent and put together sartorial approach that suits him and his temperament very well. Nico makes it possible to travel without moving, both through that infinite space that is the world of wristwatches but personally for me, through my love/hate relationship with boorish British lad culture. I recommend you try Nico out. The confusion of hearing a Dutch-Irish accent alone makes the time spent worthwhile.


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