Real Gaijin Launches the New YouTube Channel Country Roads Japan
Take a leisurely walk across Japan's bucolic countryside. Perfect for light exercise on a treadmill, elliptical, stair-stepper, or cycling machine.
Country Roads Japan is a new YouTube channel for people that exercise by walking on a treadmill, use an elliptical, stair-stepper, or cycling machine who are eager to improve their fitness while exploring—albeit virtually—the bucolic Japanese countryside.
Rather than be satisfied solely as a consumer of content, part of the impetus for Country Roads Japan was a desire to learn first-hand how to set-up, promote, and use all of Google’s analytics to manage my own channel.
As it is still “early days” for Country Roads Japan, the site may still not seem professional. I am, however, committed to continuous improvement to engage with viewers and enhance the quality of each workout video.
To stay in shape and, hopefully, shed a few pounds, lately I have been doing quite a bit of walking on most mornings. I am now up to the equivalent of about one marathon each week. Considering all of the hills around our home, it is really more like hiking. While listening to a podcast that referenced the ongoing growth of YouTube, it occurred to me that it would be ideal to be able to “take along” a friend during each walk. At the very least Country Roads Japan provides the means to do so virtually.
What is Country Roads Japan?
Thanks to a small video camera with built-in gimbal, the new YouTube channel Country Roads Japan just went live on September 26.
For the time being, the URL for Country Roads Japan is kind of unwieldy, but you can find it here:
As long the site can achieve certain milestones, after about a month the URL should look morph into something that resembles a regular name rather than code.
The above link to an 18 second trailer will probably provide you with just about everything you need to know about Country Roads Japan, but there is, of course, more to it.
Virtual Treadmill for “Walking” across Japan
Country Roads Japan is for people that exercise by walking who are eager to improve their fitness while exploring—albeit virtually—the bucolic Japanese countryside.
To begin I plan to focus on my immediate environs in Kyushu, which is certainly a rich source for content. Please look forward to the occasional “walk” in the countryside in other parts of Japan, too.
While the videos are bilingual, English speakers who are interested in Japan comprise the intended main audience.
Country Roads Japan is the YouTube channel to watch while on a treadmill, elliptical, stair-stepper, or cycling machine to simulate taking a walk (or ride) across rural Japan—particularly from the perspective of a foreigner (like Real Gaijin).
It provides an immersive experience to engage people walking on a treadmill or using another piece of gym equipment to enhance their workout. The intention is to take their mind off of the physical activity to allow them to focus on exploring the exotic virtual surroundings in each clip.
Each video features a different walk of between 30 to 120 minutes of varying degrees of intensity. All video was filmed in 4K Ultra High Definition (HD). The plan is to release at least one new video per week indefinitely into the future.
Although not quite as sophisticated as a Life Fitness Elliptical machine with built-in monitor that correlates actual speed, resistance, etc. to what can be seen on the monitor, data from Strava such as the length, pace, vertical elevation, estimated calorie burn, etc. from each walk are provided for reference.
While Country Roads Japan is, first and foremost, a YouTube channel, it will also be supported by complementary platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others.
Country Roads Japan may provide benefits beyond the fitness application.
Potential “BGV” for Where You Go for Sushi
Even though the size of such a market is probably quite small, Country Roads Japan videos would also make good “background video,” known in Japan as “BGV” (like how “BGM” means “background music”) for a Japanese restaurant, for example. The almost live view of a leisurely walk through the countryside could enhance the atmosphere to provide diners with the illusion of being transported temporarily to Japan.
If a Japanese restaurant were, in fact, to benefit from Country Roads Japan, I would certainly love to hear about it and have a meal there at some point.
Impetus behind the Scenes
While the simple desire to share the beautiful countryside of Japan with fellow walkers was the main motivation for launching Country Roads Japan, truth be told there is slightly more to it.
Desire to Remain Relevant with Generation Z
My own sons, both of whom are members of Generation Z (those born between 1996 and 2012), like to kid me about being a “Boomer.” To them almost everyone older than 30 is “a Boomer.”
Before refuting whatever argument that they have decided to ridicule, first I always remind them that I am, in fact, not a member of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964). I am proud member of Generation X or “Gen X,” the population cohort of those born between 1965 and 1980. We have always been wedged in between the giant segments of the real Boomers and Millennials (1981 to 1995). Thus, Gen X is used to being overshadowed and overlooked, but I am not about to let that pass.
In any case, Generation Z has literally grown up with the internet. Their preferred method for investigating just about anything is first to consult YouTube. YouTube also seems to be the media outlet of choice for entertainment among this generation. I do not want to be left behind.
Rather than be satisfied solely as a consumer of content, part of the impetus for Country Roads Japan was a desire to learn first-hand how to set-up, promote, and use all of Google’s analytics to manage my own channel. Although it has only been about 24 hours since the launch of the first 3 videos, the initial reaction from both of my sons has been encouraging.
I am, however, aware that I still have a lot to learn.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement
There has been a fairly steep learning curve thus far, and I still “don’t know what I don’t know.”
Need to Improve Technical Skills to Create Quality Content
While you can certainly judge for yourself, I understand that it’s still “amateur hour” in terms of video photography, editing techniques, etc. I am reliant upon the amazing technology of a DJI Pocket 2 with a built-in gimbal, which I would strongly recommend.
I am also still just scratching the surface with what can be done with the moderately priced yet feature-rich on-line editor Filmora X from Wondershare, which I also wholeheartedly endorse.
The adage “fail fast, fail often” certainly applies in this case.
While uploading my 3rd video YouTube flagged one piece of music which I had just downloaded and embedded into the audio track. It was marked as royalty-free in Pixabay, but YouTube has this particular 3 minute segment in their database as copyright-protected. This little snag turned out to cause a minor delay, but it was a good lesson for remembering to double-check the source of all supposedly royalty-free content. As a fellow creator, I was sort of glad to see how YouTube is able to leverage its technology to help protect those who own copyrighted material.
Although creating quality content is and will remain paramount, learning how to tweak YouTube to promote Country Roads Japan brings along another whole suite of challenges.
The Art and Science of On-Line Promotion
YouTube makes it fairly easy to set-up and manage each channel. That said, there are, however, all sorts of factors to consider.
Search engine optimization (SEO), keywords, slugs, tags, top cards, watermarks, reach, engagement, impressions, etc. provide a myriad of opportunities to tinker with the site.
Just by itself the selection of an effective set of keywords can seem more like an art than a science. There is, though, definitely a solid methodology supporting an ideal set of keywords. To help make sense of all of this, I am, naturally, seeking on-line advice by watching more YouTube videos. What goes around comes around!
Please Subscribe to Country Roads Japan
Please wish me success, feel free to provide constructive (critical) feedback, and don’t forget to subscribe to Country Roads Japan! I promise to keep quality content coming—and that goes for Real Gaijin, as well!