Greg Lam lives with his wife and two kids in Tokyo, Japan. He creates YouTube videos about everyday life in Japan with his family, as well as social documentaries, which can all be found on his Life Where I’m From website. You can connect with him on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
My name is Greg Lam and I’m a Canadian living in Japan. Many people ask why Japan, and the answer is quite simple; my wife is Japanese. We wanted our kids to be not only fluent in both English and Japanese, but to also be connected to both cultures and families on both side of the Pacific.
The first time I visited Japan back in 2000, I had such an amazing experience and everything felt different and exciting. After having moved to Japan in 2013, that amazing has become everyday, but no less fascinating. I wanted to make videos about everyday life in Japan, just not “weird” or “cool” Japan, and show things you wouldn’t necessarily experience as a temporary visitor.
The inspiration to make videos about people with disabilities in Japan started with comments on my videos. People wanted to visit Japan and didn’t know if it was possible with a disability. I didn’t know how to answer, but was quite interested, and luckily I found Josh and Accessible Japan.
While I had seen handicap signs, and tenji blocks (those yellow stripes and dots on the ground), I hadn’t really seen too many people travelling in wheelchairs on public transportation. I assumed that the Canadian health care and public transportation system for people with disabilities was better, but I honestly had no clue. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many facilities and support there were for disabled people in Japan. I was quite impressed with how accommodating the public transportation system was, and that a person with a disability could have more freedom in Japan than in Canada.
My video about disabilities is just one of many social documentaries I’m working on. I’m currently exploring social housing, homelessness, work life, and schools, to name a few topics. These types of topics may be everyday to Japanese people, but I’m finding that many other non-Japanese people are just as intrigued as me to know how it all works.
Visiting and living in Japan has changed my view of the world, as well as my priorities in life, and I hope that by watching my videos others might have a little change in their thinking as well. It may be that they see the size of homes in Japan, and realize that their “small” Canadian or Australian home really does have a lot of space. Or perhaps they thought that a mega city in Tokyo would be a claustrophobic nightmare to live in, but that there is plenty of green space to relax (if you know where to look).