Be the hero of your own story by Brandon Chin

Be the hero of your own story

Take a virtual journey to Japan every month with books, live videos and a community.

What is "Raw Japan"?

This is a digital package of Japanese stories for one year.

Every month you get a personalized bundle of books, videos and live calls straight from the Japanese countryside.

But what makes it different than the other Japan products online?

Well, imagine this...

You take a mental trip to Japan from your home. Every month.

Where you can meet and talk with real Japanese locals...

Learn about the intimate processes behind Japanese artists' work...

Read stories of real experiences with people and places in different cities throughout Japan...

And I am your guide for this journey.

Why?

Because I can bring you to Japan without dishing out thousands of dollars and weeks of off-time. 

I’m Brandon Chin. I’m a novelist now based in Fukuoka, Kyushu. I’ve been living in Japan for 5 years and speaking Japanese for 7.5 years. I connect with locals on a daily basis because I sincerely believe that’s what humans are here to do. 

Connect with each other. 

But we must first connect to ourselves. Without getting all woohoo, let me tell you why.

After taking 10 years of karate in my hometown of Florida, USA, I understood the pain of tasting Japan, but not fully knowing it. 

I got the discipline from training under my karate sensei. And I got the pop culture side from some anime, video games and toys.

But it wasn’t until I came to Japan and spoke with Japanese people other than my sensei that I saw the Japan below the surface.

Here I found a rich and complex culture with a long history. It's different when you touch it beyond martial arts and games.

And you can experience all of that from your home without spending almost a decade toiling away at a new language or dropping thousands of dollars on a trip.

What you get for 1 year

Interviews

  • A digital newsletter containing an interview with a local Japanese person telling their story and what they want international travelers to do when visiting their hometown.
  • A digital picture of the local Japanese person.

Community

  • Skip Netflix and watch a monthly season (3 ~ 5 videos) focused on one local Japanese artist.
  • Each monthly season includes:
    1. Virtual tour of artist shop or studio.
    2. Interview about artist's background.
    3. Livestream of artist creating their "art" 
  • Local artists include: painters, writers, potters, architects, audiovisual creators, musicians, photographers, sake producers, vloggers, miso producers, textile artists, kimono designers, chefs etc.
  • Ask the artists questions about their process, experience, lifestyle, etc.
  • Connect with other Japan lovers from around the world.

Books

  • Read one of my novels based on my 5+ years living in Japan.
  • Escape into local Japanese history and culture from your home.
  • Experience all the emotions that come with living abroad in a different culture.
  • Get print, ebook and audiobook (when released) editions.

FAQs

Are there any refunds?

No refunds. All sales are final. But you can cancel anytime.

What do people say about Brandon

One hesitation I had about joining the tour is, I didn't know if it would be as exciting as a tour in the city, but now that I have had a tour in Osaka, I realized this tour was much more relaxing and enjoyable for me because I wasn't in super crowded and noisy places. I enjoy nature and the countryside a lot.  

I realized that I really enjoy the countryside more than the city. I found Itoshima to be very fun, but in a way that wasn't overwhelming and draining.  

The feature I enjoyed the most about the tour was my excellent translator/tour buddy, Brandon!  

As for what I wanted more of, perhaps I could have met a few more local people? The tour was great, so I don't know what I would change.  

I benefited from the tour by seeing the culture of Japan in the countryside. Also, I got to keep handmade souvenirs!  

Yes, I would recommend the tour to a friend! Because I enjoyed seeing the more rural side of japan and the different crafts.

Paige Havener / USA

What people say about Raw Japan

When I first got the Raw Japan box in May 2019, I did not know what to expect from the box since this was my first time getting any kind of subscription box in my life. I thought it would be filled with junk that I would throw out after a while and that the person running it was only interested in my money and not care about customer service, like many other subscription boxes that I see online all the time.

However, after opening the first box, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to sign up for the box for a whole year. I liked the quality of the items that you put together in the box, sending me some bonus items from a list of things that I gave to you related to Japanese pop-culture, and taking the time to resolve an issue that happened with my first box in which some of the items arrived damaged. These are some of the things that I look for when deciding whether or not to continue staying with a business.

I noticed that my desire to learn more about the Japan has grown after subscribing to your box. In fact, thanks to your live calls and box, I was able to have conversations with people that I may not see again in a calming environment in which everyone is treated with respect, and I get to hear stories from local people about their lives.

In fact, I now want to be able to learn more about hidden known treasures in Japan not found in the media, and possibly want to also find hidden known treasures throughout the world in the future.

I liked how you included things in the box that was very good quality and that I enjoyed and will keep for a long time.

For example, some of the treats that you sent to me in some of the boxes were delicious, and if I found a store in my area that sold good quality treats like the ones you sent to me, I would buy them from said store regularly.

Also, I liked how you included some good quality art pieces that I can use in my kitchen or put on display in my house. The art pieces that you sent to me reminds me of the ones my grandmother used to make, and they are a lot better than the ones I would find at a discount store or some other store. In other words, I can see how the artists took their time to make each piece by hand, and not mass-produce them in a factory where the quality goes downhill from there.

Finally, I liked how you included a print newsletter and handwritten letter in each box. Each newsletter was like getting a piece of advice that I can follow in my own life each month, and the handwritten letter felt like you took the time to personally each box for each person before sending them off, especially in an age in which most people don’t write a lot of handwritten letters anymore.

Overall, all of the features that I listed for this above were excellent, and I loved everyone of them.

The biggest benefit for me was that I was able to enjoy something about Japan that I never see on TV or books: its local people and nature. I always hear on TV about popular manga, video games, and anime and the people that make them, but the media only wants us to think that these are the only things we should follow.

There are so many people and things in Japan that we do not hear about because we only follow the pop-culture stuff and never research the other stuff about the country, and I wanted to get a taste of what’s it like to slow down and enjoy this beautiful world that we live in without all the buzz about who to follow, etc. I noticed this myself after getting your box.

I would definitely recommend this box to my family and friends that are interested in learning about Japanese culture through local people. Between the good things you get with the box, handwritten letters, samples of Japanese art and food, and good customer service, this is a subscription box I would like to subscribe to again in the future if I am able to.


Also, as a final word about your Raw Japan Box, I enjoyed receiving it in the mail these past few months. All of the items that you sent to me I have read, used, and/or put on display in my home. In fact, I have kept many of the items that you sent to me, and your items are a lot better quantity than what most of the big stores in my area would sell in terms of beautiful items/collectibles. Plus, you took the time to answers my questions whenever I sent you an e-mail with them. That's what makes you such a great guy.

Daniel S. / USA

What people say about Brandon

As a neighbor traveler, I visit Japan very often from S.Korea. For 2 days in Fukuoka that's what I planned this time. 

I didn't mind going to the countryside by bus because it's gonna be great chance to enjoy sightseeing and to make new relationship with Local and other travelers at the same time! I took a bus about an hour to reach the beach of Itoshima. 

I walk for a while on the beach and then took a bath in Onzen(Japanese hot spring). After that we sat together on the dinning table with Real local food featured by Sashimi and so on! We watched the show, seems like a crossover between Old Japanese pop and J-mask play or something. 

Actually I didn't expect to join the local tour by travel agency. So I was little curious about how the single host manages the Airbnb Experience and figured out the combination with his socializing skill and tour program Wonderful. My proficiency of Japanese language is not good enough to make conversation with local people even in elementary level. 

But Brandon connected me with them very well by socializing us not only to translating but also to actively leading topics. I hope my photos will tell you what I've mentioned all true. On the first itinerary of the 1st day achieved I my priority goal of my trip. I recommend you this Experience strongly.

Heetak Jasper / South Korea

What people say about Raw Japan

The only hesitation I had, at the beginning, was not knowing the items or the quality of what you were putting together. After receiving the first box I have no hesitations on that score.

The main changes that I have seen is the stronger desire and goal to learn how to use chopsticks correctly and to learn to read, write and speak Japanese as close to having Japanese as my first language.

[I didn't prefer] No one feature over the other. I love the manga and the dish very much.

Yes, I have benefited in having it rekindle my desire and goals about Japan.

I would recommend this box to any of my friends that have an interest in learning about Japan or are interested in learning about other cultures. 

Jeffery Watson / USA