How you can travel to Japan without getting on a plane by Brandon Chin

How you can travel to Japan without getting on a plane reading personalized novels and stories from Japan mailed straight to your home 

What if you could travel to Japan without getting on a plane?

What if you could get all the Japan you want without leaving home?

Nah, I’m not talking about some pseudo spiritual journey thang where you digest mountains of samurai movies, anime or fake sushi on the regular.

Or binge hours of Instagram and Youtube content showing the TOP 74 SPOTS TO VISIT IN TOKYO/OSAKA/KYOTO/EVERYWHERE?!$

I've already tried that. It doesn’t work. 

What does work though is connecting with Japanese culture through people.

And if you're a reader, you know that reading the words of the "other" is one of the best ways to understand that person. And where they come from.

In fact, the neuroscientist, Maryanne Wolf, says that reading fiction develops empathy. Which helps people from different places understand each other better.  

This is how you can connect to Japan without ever traveling here.

By reading with Raw Japan.

But before we get into the details, a short introduction. 

My name is Brandon Chin. I am a novelist based in Itoshima City in Fukuoka, Japan. I write fiction about Japan as I live the reality.

I’ve spent about four years living here. And six years speaking the language.

I’m fluent. I can hold my own in any type of conversation with the locals. Even though I make mistakes all the time, I can make connections veteran foreigners usually can't.

Native-like fluency has been my goal since I first came in 2011 at 19 years old.

I was lost. But determined.

My first exposure with Japan was martial arts. I trained for 8 years as a child under a Japanese sensei. He taught us discipline and hard work.

Even though I watched some anime and played some video games, my image of Japan was mastery. I thought Japan was special.

But after years of friendships, lovers and work here, I've cleared the mist.

Japan isn't special. It's just a place full of normal people like everywhere else. All living their lives with the unique culture they happened to be born into.

But we forget that sometimes. Blame whatever you want. The point is people matter. 

The small things that happen on a daily basis that make culture real. You can still miss these things even if you travel here.

This is why I made Raw Japan. 

So that you can connect with people by reading stories of their daily lives. 

So that you can get answers to burning questions you usually never get to ask. 

So that you can get your normal fix of Japan while also learning different ways of life.

Think of it like Humans of New York for Japan, but you get to talk to the people directly. 

With Raw Japan you will get 12 months of Japanese culture sent straight to your door. 

Instead of spending $3000 or more to travel to Japan, why not have Japan come to you for much less?

As a beta member, you get this for $9 a month. That's less than a Netflix subscription. And you'll be making lifelong connections while learning fundamental cultural principles that could change your life. Instead of binging seasons of the latest drama to escape your life...

Once you join, here's what you get every month:


One short handwritten letter about a local Japanese artist or entrepreneur telling their story about their creative journey in English. 


A new print novel written by me so that you can explore worlds and characters based off my direct experiences in Japan. 


  • Stories from the local artists/entrepreneurs I interview.
  • The choice of what themes you want to see in the book. Whether that's a time period in Japanese history, a particular Japanese art, or even an anime; I will write based on your choice.


  • 2 Live Video Q&A sessions with the month's featured artist/entrepreneur. So that you can dig deeper into their story and their view of Japan.

Raw > Highlight Reel

Rather than feeding your brain with dolled up Instagram photos of the mega tourist spots, why not, you know, read the stories from people that live and create here.

So that you can learn how Japanese people really think (straight from the source)...

So that you can clear the mist and see the humanity Instagram and Youtube fail to communicate...

Yes, your brain might hunger for the drone shots of the shrines, temples, ninja and geisha. 

Or the vlogs and Quora answers from Westerners who've lived here for some time.

But you are only distracting yourself from truly connecting with Japan.

So what I want to offer you is a completely different experience of Japan. 

An everyday experience of Japan. 

One where I am the bridge. Not the guru. 

One where you can still get all the anime, samurai and fake sushi you want, but with more depth. And more humanity.

Less worship. And less assumptions.

If you want to connect with Japan in a real way (without even coming here), this is the way to do it.

And if you are coming here, why not make some friends beforehand?

You'll enjoy your trip more when you know people eager to share their lives with you.

What do readers say about my novels?

Novel: "Knives and Ropes"

Amazon Rating:
* * * *

Kay Smillie

Detective Wa's First Successful Outing...

A very unusual detective book, for me anyway. The pace is much slower than the usual mystery/thrillers that I am used to. Not that this change is a negative in any way. In this case, I fell into it very easily.

It is a very enjoyable pace, a sensual pace, which is where the story begins. Detective Wa has many faults, and the reader can relate to that very well. Well, nobody is perfect, are they? The plot is highly inventive, the wording verging on beautiful at times.

You'd better clear a space in your diary because once you start, you will be completely drawn in. You will be in awe of Chin's storytelling skills, the humour, and the peeks into the Japanese culture.

Brandon Chin has a LOT of potential, and I look forward to reading more by him in the future. I was given a free ecopy of this book by the author. I voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed this.

What do readers say about my novels?

Novel: "The Nanking Revolution"

Amazon rating:
* * * * *

Trish Strong

Brutal portrayal of the horrors of war and the struggles to maintain humanity in spite of it...

This is a hard book to read because it shows the darker side of humanity. It is brutal in its portrayal of war and the depths of depravity that mankind can go to. Even so, the book is not a total downer as it also portrays how the spirit can stretch beyond the darkness and the depravity and conquer it all. This is not light reading, it is deep and it is dark but it is well worth the read.

What do you choose?

I don't have to go all Morpheus to show that you have a couple of options...

  1. You can X out this page and go back to romanticizing Japan purely through samurai, ninja and anime. Distancing yourself from a realistic view of Japan day by day. 
  2. You can X out of this page, but acknowledge the fact that meeting everyday Japanese people is the key to truly connecting to Japan. So you travel here and try to meet them. But quickly realize that there are walls. Language. Tourist vs. Resident familiarity. And on and on. 
  3. You invest in yourself. Your business. Your art. All by sitting back and waiting for novels and stories to make their way into your hands from Japan. Every month. And then speak to the creators of these stories. Every month. Feeding your brain. Your spirit. And your external world. 

At the end of the day, we're here to connect. Some don't realize that WE have the ability to choose how DEEP our connections go.

I'd rather choose and create my reality. 

How about you?


What are these live Q&A sessions for?

To help you dive deeper into Japanese culture. The monthly artist/entrepreneur will be present (for at least one) to answer any questions you have about the letter. And I'll be there interpreting between Japanese and English. 

And of course, you have any questions about the book, I'll be there to answer. Without giving away any spoilers for the series...

We usually have the sessions biweekly at the end of the week from Friday ~ Sunday. Due to the hectic schedules of the artists, we won't pick a date beforehand. 

Don't worry, I got you. I will send out emails to inform and remind you of the upcoming dates.

The homepage photo for "Raw Japan" is beautiful. Who took it?

My Polish friend, Karolina Nowosielska took it during a residency program out here in Fukuoka. You can check out her work here:

Any bonuses?

Yes. Because I love to overdeliver in value. Once you join, you immediately get two more of my novels as ebooks. They retail for about $5 a book. Together they cost more than your first month. 

Is this like a subscription box?

No. Because I won't waste your time with garbage that distracts you from the content. 

There are no pretty trinkets or sweet snacks here. Just stories. If that sounds boring, then this isn't for you.

Because I'm here to connect you to Japan from your home. Yes, I've lived here for a couple of years. But I knew the people before coming here. And meeting so many different personalities throughout the years has changed my thinking. And my lifestyle. 

So I want to share that with you. Not just create more junk for you to hoard and stress over.

If it's monthly, why is it only $9?

This is a trial period of 30 days. I want to make sure I provide content that you love every month. So I'm discounting the first run of this product.

The price will go up to about $20/month afterwards. So I would lock in your spot now before it goes up.

What does "raw" mean?

The "raw" means real and honest. 

All too often we see a weird Japan. A cool Japan. A bleak Japan. But what about the everyday Japan?

The artistic Japan that isn't world renown. The local Japan. The Japan full of, you know, normal people.

If you've always wanted to visit Japan (or have before), this package gives you a taste of Japan you can't get anywhere else.

Are all the materials mailed together?

No. The print books and the letters will be mailed separately. 

Of course, the past ebooks will be sent digitally (PDF). 

Do you ship internationally?

Yes. But be aware that delivery times will possibly differ from that of the US and Japan (within two weeks).

Wherever you live, I'll keep you in the know while your books and stuff is in the wild.

Are there any refunds or guarantee?

No. And yes. If you attend all the live calls within 30 days, I will refund your money. I offer this conditional guarantee because you probably won't connect to Japan if you don't put in the effort.

After 30 days, no refunds and no returns. (for those that decide to continue beyond the trial run)

What's this letter about?

To present a story from a local Japanese artist or entrepreneur. So that you can connect to Japanese culture through a living artist.

All too often we go googly-eyed for pretty pictures of a shrine or a geisha without knowing the stories of the people. 

And without stories, life is dry and dull (and probably wouldn't exist as we know it, but that's for another day.)

So I will uncover these stories for you. 

I'll hire a professional to handwrite the main lesson from their interview in a short letter. Then I'll mail the letter and the novel containing the personal story to you directly.

What happens after I join?

You'll immediately get the first ebook and past newsletters in PDF that I sent out to Japanese members.

And then I'll send you an instruction email about what to do next. 

Inside I'll ask for your physical address, so that I know where to mail your monthly letter and print book.

How is it "personalized"?

Because you get to ask for what you want. 

During the live calls, I'll be asking you what can make the experience better for you. And you can drop all your juicy ideas on the call. 

Especially in regards to what type of locals you want to hear from.

Doesn't mean everything you ask for will be granted. But I will listen.