The YouTube channel Life Where I’m From started in 2015. The channel was created by Canadian Greg Lam, who currently lives in Tokyo, Japan with his Japanese wife and equally Japanese and Canadian children. Life Where I’m From gives interesting and educational insight into the everyday, special events and uniquely Japanese aspects of life in Japan. The hope is through sharing these videos, what someone once thought was weird or strange can be viewed as normal, fascinating, or exciting. The channel is called Life Where I’m From because the plan was to show what life is like around the world. So far I’ve been failing at that, but I hope to remedy it in the future.
For extra videos, please check out the Life Where I’m From X channel.
As Seen On
We haven’t really been featured much in the media, but here’s a few places where you may of read about or watched us:
- Japan Times
- NHK Cool Japan New Year’s Episode. As it’s TV, you unfortunately can’t view old episodes online, but you can see their film crew in our video.
- Huffington Post Japan
- Youtube – Family Life Where I’m From Channel
- Youtube – Adult Life Where I’m From X Channel
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve had a lot of questions, so watched the videos below to see the answers to the most common ones.
- How did Aiko and Shin learn to speak English? Aiko and Shin were born in Canada and lived there for seven and four years. Aiko had a strong base of English before moving to Japan. Since Shin was four when he moved, his English wasn’t as strong before the move.
- How long have you been living in Japan? Our family moved to Japan in 2013 and live in the city of Tokyo. While ginormous, it’s not as busy and filled with concrete as you think (well, it depends where you live in Tokyo).
- Where’s the Mom? You may see bits and parts of her body, but she hasn’t shown her face yet. We have so many people ask this, and there’s nothing wrong with her or anything, she’s simply camera shy.
- Where’s the Dad? I’m the cameraman (and also the guy who responds to everything and is writing this)!
- What camera/equipment do you use? For almost all my gear, I have it listed at https://kit.com/lifewhereimfrom/youtube-filming-gear. The cameras used are the Sony PXW-X70 and the Sony RX100 MIII. The X70 has a separate shotgun microphone for recording audio, plus the image is quite steady when used handheld, so we mostly use that camera. But sometimes the RX100 is quite useful, as it’s small and better in low light. Update 1: I now have a Sony A7S ii, which is the primary camera that is used. I shoot with Sony 50mm f41.8, 16-35 f4, and 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 lenses. I also own a Manfrotto tripod and a Velbon monopod. Lastly, I edit on a PC using Adobe Premiere. Update 2: Recently picked up a Zhiyun Crane 3-axis gimbal. It’s for stabilizing the camera. Awesome little device!
- Are you American? Nope, we’re Canadian.
- What’s the ethnic background of the kids? Half Japanese (Mom) / Half Canadian (Dad).
- But what’s the real background of the Dad? Dad’s parents are from Guyana and Belize.
- So the Dad is Central / South American? No, actually my Dad is Chinese while my Mother is Scottish, English, and Spanish.
- So that makes Aiko and Shin…? They are 1/2 Japanese, 1/4 Chinese, 1/8 Scottish, 1/16 English, and 1/16 Spanish.
- Does the cameraman speak Japanese? A little, but my 5 year old niece is better.
- Why do people take a bath when they’re already clean? Because it’s relaxing.
- Gross, I’d never use the same water as someone else. You have to remember that you’re already clean and you’re family.
- Gross, I’d never wash my clothes with grey water. The water from the bathtub is relatively clean because there’s no soap in there. When it’s used to wash clothes, it’s only for the wash cycle with detergent. The rinse cycle uses fresh water.
- Eat with your mouth closed (comment about Aiko). She was an eight year old kid eating. She now tries to.
- Does Aiko prefer to speak Japanese or English? Japanese. Because she’s better at Japanese.
- Since the kids know English very well, do their schools place them in Advanced English classes? No, because she hardly has any English classes.
- Are Aiko and her brother retaining their English well or are they losing some? Aiko thinks she’s losing her English. Shin’s is definitely getting better (he couldn’t read and write English before, but now he can). He also speaks clearer now.
- Since the kids speak Japanese to mommy and English to you, what language do you and mommy speak to each other? Aiko and Shin speak Japanese to Mommy. Mom mostly speaks English to Dad, but sometimes the speak in Japanese to practice. This is tough, because we want the kids to retain English, but I (Dad) need to practice my Japanese more.
- Can you have pets in japan, Does Aiko have any pets? Which animal does she like? We used to live in apartment that didn’t allow pets. Parents also have allergies. We now have our own home, but the parents still have allergies. Shin and Aiko LOVE cats and want two of them please (but please, don’t send us any cats). Certain places you can have cats, dogs, birds, fish (small animals).
- Ordinarily on a normal basis, at the entrance way of Japanese schools you would have to remove your outdoor shoes and swap on indoor shoes before stepping indoors. Now, what do visitors do if they are visiting the school during a cultural festival? Schools have slippers for guests, but many parents who visit would bring their own. Festivals are mostly outside, so you wouldn’t need special footwear. Aiko also wanted to let you know that there’s Saturday classes once a month and there are slippers for visitors.
- What do people do when they get sick? At school there is a nurse office.
- Sports, what do you all like to do and what you do not do but love to watch? Swimming, the kids take lessons once a week. And they eat candy on the bus.
- What is/are her (Aiko’s) favourite subject(s) in school? Art class, music, and in summer, swimming class (but the water is cold).
- Does she prefer living in Japan, Canada or is there no preference and why? She doesn’t know.
- What does Aiko so in her spare time for fun? Watch tv, or play with somebody, watch Youtube…
- Aiko, what are you eating in your YouTube cover? Pineapple (the picture is no longer in the cover).
- How long have you been in Japan? We moved to Japan in spring of 2013.
- How did you guys decide to move your family to Japan after several years in Canada? We always wanted to move to Japan, but never had the opportunity. When were young and got married, we thought we’d hop back and forth between countries, but with kids and jobs, we realized it wasn’t so easy. After many years in Canada we were able to move to Japan.
- How did your mum and dad meet? In Canada a long time ago.
- Why were Japanese names chosen for the kids instead of something more Westernized? The kids have Western middle names. Because we were living in Canada at the time the kids were born, we wanted them to keep their Japanese heritage. In Canada, it’s not so weird to have non-Western names, but when the kids are in Japan, having a non-Japanese name would make them stand out more. Also, the Japanese names chosen were ones that wouldn’t be so difficult to pronounce in English (but they still do pronounce it wrong).
- Do people (ethnic Japanese) treat you or your children “different”? Aiko thinks no, but sometimes they say gaikokujin, which means foreigner.
- Do you guys have citizenship in both Canada and Japan? The kids are both Canadian and Japanese citizens until their 22, at which point, they’re supposed to pick one or the other (Japan doesn’t allow dual citizens). Dad is a Canadian Citizen and a permanent resident of Japan and Mum is a Japanese citizen and a permanent resident of Canada.
- Who do you love more? Mommy or Daddy? Both!