Emmymade InJapan: A Curious American Girl Eating Her Way Around The World [YouTube NextUp Creator Profile Series]

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Emmy, from the YouTube channel “Emmy Made In Japan,” has the greatest job in the world. Is she a Disney princess, you ask? No, young NMR reader, she is not — mainly because those are fictional characters, but a good guess on your part. On her YouTube, Emmy films herself sampling food from all over the world sent to her in packages by subscribers. (A job that requires me to eat, I’m in!) Starting each videos with “Greetings everyone it’s Emmy! I am here to eat another country,” Emmy then proceeds to take you through the delicious cuisines from around the world. Each video focuses on one specific country and takes you from the Netherlands to Indonesia with a click of the button.

After spending time living in Japan, Emmy and her family are now living in the United States and continuing to make videos both about food abroad (and also healthy cooking tutorials). Emmy’s videos will not only make you hungry but encourage you to step out of your eating comfort zone.

Your channel is all about food. What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten while filming the show, and alternately, the worst thing?

Emmy: I’ve found I’ve had to categorize “best” since I’ve tasted so many different kinds of things. For example, “Best Cookie Award” would go to Dutch stroopwafels, a lovely sandwich of thin buttery waffles glued together with a faintly cinnamony-shmear of caramel. “Best Potato Chips” would go to Italy’s la patatina, which taste remarkably like a hamburger. “Best Beverage” would go to Argentina’s yerba mate, and Australia wins “Best Cookie Innovation” with the TimTam Slam.

The worst tasting treat in my experience would have to be Danish licorice.  I’ve learned licorice is much appreciated in many Scandinavian countries, but their love of salty licorice, or “salmiak,” is one that I fail to understand.  The flavor goes way beyond the rooty medicinal flavor of typical licorice because of the saltiness of the added ammonium chloride. Thankfully, for the Danish licorice industry, my opinion is in the minority.

You recently were selected for YouTube’s NextUp program. How did this help your channel? Has it changed anything for you?

YouTube NextUp was an incredible experience, a saturated one where I met a group of really inspiring people. We were encouraged to collaborate and given the backdrop of YouTube L.A. Space to use at our disposal. My set-up to this point was comparatively lo-fi – just me and a laptop – so there was tons to absorb. What I took most to heart was thinking about my channel in the context of the huge platform YouTube has become, and learning how to clarify and define my content. For the future, I don’t have any plans to make any big changes in terms of content, just small tweaks mostly in regards to camera improvements and learning new editing software.

What was your inspiration for starting Emmymade in Japan?

 I started making videos for a couple of reasons but mostly because I was lonely. At the time, my husband and I had recently moved to Japan to teach, and while it was an enriching experience, it was also isolating. I had very little knowledge of Japanese at the time and while negotiating a trip to the grocery store I stumbled on curious candy making kits. I decided that filming myself tasting/making candies would give something to do outside of work and an opportunity to learn how to edit video. Slowly, I grew a following and eventually received a box of candies from a viewer in Germany and my “Emmy Eats” series was born.

Your viewers typically send you packages containing food from their country that you then sample on YouTube. Has anyone sent you anything too strange or unappetizing that you refused to try?

As of yet, no. 🙂 I don’t mean that to sound as a challenge; on the contrary the packages that I received have all been thoughtfully curated. For example, items have been selected for reasons of nostalgia (e.g. Kinder eggs) or because they’re representative of the culture (i.e Australian ANZAC biscuits). I’ve found people are very nationalistic when it comes to their food. Besides tasting foods, I love learning about how food speaks to the history of culture/country. How biscuits and tea drinking came to a country like Bangladesh for example, or how Spanish influences appear on opposite sides of the world, in both Filipino and Mexican sweets. So far the only thing I’ve eaten and didn’t recognize was a gelatinous substance cut into cubes heavily dusted in a white powder that came from Kuwait. I’ve since learned its was Turkish delight and it was as delicious as it was confounding.

The theme for this year’s NextUp program was collaboration. In your opinion, what makes a great YouTube collaboration?

The collaborations I did at NextUp were my first, so I’m still working on defining the criteria for success. But I think oddly enough it has to do with chemistry.  When there’s genuine connection between collaborators the chances of creating a video that everyone will find enjoyable are pretty good. I also think a successful collaboration results in something that couldn’t have been made otherwise; each party contributes to making something larger (perhaps, better) than what they could’ve done on their own. But ultimately, for me, it should be a satisfying learning experience.

What’s next for Emmymade in Japan? What can we expect to see you eat?

I plan to keep on trucking, eating viewer-sent packages and interesting foods I find. I’m an avid cook, and recently, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite recipes, so I’ll be doing more tutorials as well. In terms of specific eats, I’ve got several countries including Thailand, Oman and Madagascar and an English dessert with the unfortunate name of “spotted dick.”

 About the piece:

Out of YouTube’s thousands of creator channels, 30 promising creators are picked every season to participate in the YouTube NextUp Creator program — a sort of Hogwarts Academy for the very best of the YouTube best. They spend a week training at the YouTube Creator Space in Los Angeles, attending seminars, learning advanced filming techniques and interacting with some of the YouTube greats. In short, it’s a pretty cool honor. Since YouTube thinks they’re worthy, NMR thinks you should know about them.

So we’re featuring the Winter 2013 class of Nextup participants — 2 a day for the next 15 days. Learn about these fresh faces, love their content and then subscribe to their channels, because these are the next generation of YouTube innovators.

Follow EmmyMadeInJapan:

 YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/emmymadeinjapan?feature=watch

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Emmymade-in-Japan/121463277937234

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/emmymadeinjapan

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