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When Chad Zimmerman was 18 he sold everything he owned to buy a plane ticket to Japan. He knew barely any Japanese and didn’t have a degree. Today at almost thirty he is a Japanese-English translator who has written books, he runs a popular YouTube channel and more. Chad wants to help others who don’t want to be saddled with student debt that there are ways to make your dream of living in Japan happen, on your own terms.
Elle: Hello everyone and welcome to the LingQ podcast with me Elle. If you would like to study this podcast episode as a lesson, an English lesson, I’ve created one for you on LingQ using the transcript and the audio. The lesson link is in the description. LingQ is a fantastic tool for studying content of interest in your target language.
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I’m currently in a French 90-Day Challenge, which means I am going to hit targets set by LingQ in French over 90 days. And my goal is to, by the end of those 90 days have read my first novel in French. Check out the challenges on the challenge page and join me. Doesn’t have to be in French. There are lots and lots of languages you can do a challenge in. And if you’re listening on Google, Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, please give us a review, like share or follow. Really really appreciated. Today I am joined by another wonderful guest. He is a YouTuber. He creates content around learning Japanese. He’s also a Japanese translator and an author. Today I am joined by Chad Zimmerman. Chad, welcome.
Chad: Welcome. Hi, uh, you are talking me up a lot. I have a lot to live up to just by the intro.
I mean, it’s impressive. It’s impressive. Just take it in.
Chad: I, look, I will act in my official capacity, which is YouTube because I technically make my income from that everything else… although I guess in years past I was paying my rent with it, but with COVID I’m stuck back here in the states, so I can’t do everything I was doing full time, but I definitely, I can, I can accept YouTuber and hobbyist language enthusiast.
Hobbyist language and tips like that. Whereabouts in the states are you joining us from today?
Chad: So I’m in Denver, Colorado, the beautiful Rocky mountains. This is where I’m normally from. And I would be in Japan right now, except for obvious reasons. I’m a little bit shipwrecked over here. So yeah.
Elle: Pesky pandemic. Um, when were you last, when were you in Japan?
Chad: So I weirdly enough. So I was in Japan, I left to come back here for the holidays.
So I left like early December of 2019. Right.
When it was getting hairy and but, mind you, I went through China. So I was in China for a couple of days on a late layover in December of 2019. I come home and then by like January, February, they’re like, oh, China’s popping off. I’m just like, wow, that’s sketchy.
And then all of a sudden everything shuts down and the world’s closed and I’m like, wow, that is, talk about just like Indiana Jonesing, the hat under the door.
Elle: Yeah, exactly. At the last minute. And so you’re stuck, not stuck in Colorado. Colorado is a beautiful place.
I love it here. I just, uh, most of my work is in Japan nowadays.
That’s like where I make all my money. It’s where all my friends pretty much, since I was 18, are. Um, so it’s, it’s kinda sad, but it’s kind of good too. Cause you know, you get to see the family, you get to be in America for a while and forget why you love it here.
Elle: Exactly. Yeah.
You get to spend that quality time that you… it’s like a bonus quality time with family, right?
Usually living abroad. Yeah.
Chad: My mom had a hard time when I was gone.
Elle: Oh, I bet. I bet. Yeah.
Did you say you left when you were 18?
So my first time I was over there, I don’t remember if I was 18 or if I just turned 19, it was that… because my, my birthday’s in January and I left that month, but I don’t remember which exactly when it was, but I pretty much, I was, I solved the trap of college.
I was like, if I go to a college, I’m going to get $50,000 in debt. And I have friends that by the way, uh, even now they went to school for Japanese. They have degrees in Japanese and they’re waiting tables. And I was like, I don’t want to be 50K in debt and wait tables. So seeing the trap, I sold everything I owned that wasn’t stuck to the ground, bought a one-way ticket and went over there, went to a language school to start, so.
And did you know any Japanese before you went?
Chad: Almost none. Yeah, I was, I was a bit ballsy back then.
Elle: So you went over, you’re 18, you go over, you start learning Japanese. And how long ago was that now?
Chad: Oh, well, oh man. Longer than I want to admit. So my, my first trip, when I first went over there, um, it was to try and figure out this, like, how do I go to school over there?
So that trip was only like a month, maybe two. Uh, I was staying, I was living in a closet at a church for free because I had nowhere to stay. I had no money.
Elle: How did that happen?
Chad: I mean, so I’m a Christian, but I just, I found churches that were in Japan. There’s not a lot of them. And I just wrote them and found one that spoke English and the people were very sweet.
Uh, but they were like, yeah, if you want. Come on over, we have this, they said guestroom, and then you show up and it’s an actual closet. And I was like, Hey, you know, I’m not on the street. Cause I, I did not have a plan to sleep anywhere. Cause I spent all my money on my flight. Right.
So I was over there figuring stuff out.
And when I was there, I learned about language schools and I learned about, I’d… I met some people that were in translation and interpreting as a career, and they didn’t, either didn’t have college degrees or they just got certificates. One of them, that’s how I found out about the JLPT, which was a huge theme of my channel till I passed the N2 a couple of years ago.
Chad: Thank you. That took way longer than I thought.
Uh, and then…
Elle: I was just speaking just recently to, another, uh, YouTubeer, uh, I dunno if you know Denny Mintsaev.
Chad: I don’t think I do.
Elle: He created, he’s a YouTuber and also he’s Russian and he creates, uh, YouTube videos about learning Japanese, anyway, he’s trying for his N1 and also same thing…
Chad: I gotta to talk to him. I’m going to Russia this winter.
Chad: I had no idea he existed.
Elle: I will connect you. Yeah.
He’s… there we go. Perfect. Yes.
But yeah, the JLPT super, super difficult. I’ve heard from any, anyone who’s taking it, taken it, so. Sorry, carry on.
Chad: But yeah, so I just learned about that path and then again, it was like, I was faced with this thing where I tried to get into back home before I left I was thinking about community colleges. And I got, no, I applied for FAFSA, which is my country’s like, here’s free money to go to school. I got nothing and I was a pretty good student and I had good grades and, uh, you know, self-supporting at that point. So I was just shocked me that I couldn’t get anything.
And so it was like, oh, I can go into all this debt for something I didn’t know if I even wanted. Or I could just live the thing I wanted to do. I could find a way to do that. And so to this day I just found a way. So after that trip, I came home and I told my parents, you got one year left with me. I am, I am cabooting over to there and I’m going to go to school.
And I was one of the first student, I was in the first group, the first class of students when Genki turned into an actual recognized language school with the state. So they could issue student visas.
Chad: So I was at Genki JACS um, but I was also… Genki JACS is fine, but the truth was, and for anyone that’s considering going to language schools, here’s some great advice for you, a lot of rich Europeans use that to go to Japan for basically a vacation. So what happens is you go to school and you’re serious. You’re like, I want to learn this language. I’m going to get fluent. This will, I’m doing this with my life. I want this. And you’re in a class full of people that could not be bothered less.
And so they advertise it as like, oh, you know, the class is all in Japanese and the teachers will only speak to you in Japanese. And these students, like the minute the bell rings, they switch to English. All of them from Germany, from Denmark, uh, from Russia, they just, they don’t speak in Japanese. And then they all hang out only with each other outside of class time.
So like nobody’s actually interacting with Japanese people. And that’s when I was like, yeah, this school is not going to get me fluent. I need to get me fluent. And so that’s when I like I rejected my native language except for YouTube videos. And I just head first in and I met people I’m still great friends with, um, two of them helped me start my business.
One of them I’m helping them start an exporting business from Japan. A couple of them are like really great friends of mine. One of them is a pro skater. One of them’s, uh, getting into real estate in Japan. So now he wants to break into America’s market. So he, you know, goes through me. But that all that started because I was like, I don’t even know how to hold a conversation, but I need to learn this language.
So I think I’ve told this story before. I don’t think you’ve ever heard it. Um, the way I made the friends that are like my best friends to this day, I was walking through Fukuoka right by Canal City, which is this big mall by a canal. And there’s all these skateboarders that always hang out. And I just saw them and they looked like they were sweating like crazy.
They were so hot and it was just miserable. This is like Japanese in July, Japan in July. So, oh, it’s horrible. It’s like, I refuse, I will stay inside and I saw them and I was like, this is my chance. They’re roughly my age. They look friendly, but I don’t know how to talk to them cause I, I was very rudimentary.
So I went to a convenience store, right by there I bought $20, it was one of my last $20 cause I was a broke student. I sold everything I had to go there. And bought alcohol and water and drinks from the convenience store. And I brought it over to them and I was just like here.
Elle: Good plan. Did it work?
Chad: They talked to me till one in the morning, all day took me, they took me out to dinner.
They took me to the beach and we all, we did the sabiki fishing, which catches these little mackerels about this big. They skewered them and we grilled them on the beach. Like they started a fire and we had a bonfire at night and then they gave me their Line, which is like Facebook. And they were like, Do you want to come do this again tomorrow?
And I did that every day for six months. And that’s what got me really proficient when I was like at my peak, peak of Japanese.
Chad: The school did really nothing. It was slowing me down if anything.
Elle: You took it into your own hands, literally.
Chad: Anyone that goes, this is the same thing with working out, right.
Language is the exact same process. If you go, I need someone to go to the gym with me, you’re never going to go because you’ll find someone to go with you and then they’ll stop. And then what motivates you?
Chad: You need to be pushing yourself. You need to be your biggest motivator. And I found that just going this school was literally like imprisoning me almost.
Cause I didn’t want to go. They were too slow, but I had to go a certain amount of courses. Otherwise I’d forfeit my visa.
Elle: Uh oh.
Chad: And so it was this really nasty situation at that point. It’s nothing against Genki, they’re super nice people, but they know their audience. They’re playing to, you know, wealthy Europeans that essentially want a long holiday.
And that’s cool. But I wanted to be fluent really bad. I wanted to talk to these people that are like my best friends and like not struggle.
Elle: And really connect.
Yeah, definitely. I’m sure anyone that’s learned a language knows how surface level a language partner is when you’re not really deep in the language, but once you’re deep in the language, uh, some of my best friends to this day, it’s not even Japanese people.
They’re just people I helped with the language. Uh, the girl who… I have a book, but the girl who draws this book, I’m helping her with her… she’s Russian, so TOEIC the English fluency test.
Elle: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Chad: I think, um, yeah, one of the best people ever, and we are so close, but it’s, it’s that connection you want with a deep level of language learning and you only get that if you have a really deep level of language learning.
All right. And at what point then did you become a translator? Obviously you’ve passed the, the JLPT N2.
Elle: Which is the second kind of highest…
Chad: There’s five levels.
Chad: And, and two’s the second highest, I guess.
Chad: I don’t know if people are listening to this and they’re not familiar with Japanese.
You could try and use the, uh, what’s it European framework. It doesn’t fit very well, but it’s kind of like a B2/C1. It doesn’t fit super well, but somewhere in there. Right.
Uh, but I was translating. And so this is one of the remarkable things that I found out. I know so many people that have like degrees in Japanese, like masters degrees in Japanese, and they can’t get a translating job because they’re Japanese sucks. Like if you can walk into an interview and confidently talk to the person and show them, you know what you’re talking about and like, it’s just not a problem. Why wouldn’t they hire you? In fact, they could technically, they could pay you less because you don’t have the paper next to your name that says Chad Zimmerman, PHD.
You know, all the other nice things. So they don’t have to pay you as well as someone with a degree. So they’re actually inclined to give you translation jobs. If you don’t have a degree, if you’re good, so the N2 doesn’t make you good. I know a lot of people that have an N2 that are pretty mediocre and that’s not being, it’s not being mean.
It’s saying that you can study for the test and not study Japanese.
Chad: They’re different things really. My thing was for the longest time I studied Japanese pretty well, but I never studied test taking ever. So I was like, I know all this stuff on the test, but I just, I, I can’t, I always run out of time.
Um, I don’t always understand why they’re phrasing the test or a question a certain way. And so I knew I had the a…I mean, passing on an N2 is 50%. It’s really not that good.
Elle: But tough test though, right?
Chad: It is but still 50% is like on a test that’s like, wow. So the thing that I learned, and this is part of the reason I do textbook reviews was again, it’s a big difference between just learning the language and being able to express that language on a test.
I mean, you’re an English speaker. There’s a big difference between being in a class and understanding the topic that’s being taught, whatever it is, it could be history or language could be Spanish and being able to replicate that on a monolingual test of that thing. Like there’s lots of people who can understand the topic or explain it, but they fail tests. Happens all the time. There’s a reason, even at my old high school, they separated English as a second language students, even if they were fluent in English from the normal, like you were native born in America, this is your first language because there there’s a difference between someone that has… like they’re born and raised in the language and they understand from the very beginning how tests are taken in that language, how the books are supposed to be read in that language, um, how to interact in the class with that language, how to interact with the material and someone that although learned it to a proficient level was never exposed to tests or reading assignments or worksheets or whatever.
There’s just a… and it’s not, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just reality. It’s the same thing with me in Japanese. Right? I was not born in Japan. There’s a lot about Japanese I don’t know. And it’s not just words or grammar. It’s like culturally, there’s like a way that they handle tests and test taking. Um, the way that information is presented is different.
And you can get to a point where you’re exposed enough to the language. A lot of people do this with crazy immersion that you can almost replicate that native thing. And that’s awesome. Uh, but I was not there. So I kept failing and then I found these textbooks that are…they, they’re not really teaching the language, they’re just helping you articulate what you already know into a test format. And that’s what helped me pass was being like, oh, so there’s actually a method to this that I didn’t understand.
Like being let in on something. Yeah, for sure. So you mentioned that you do a book reviews, textbook, or Japanese language resource reviews on your channel. Um, what is some of the better books that you’ve come across in these reviews that you’ve been doing?
Chad: Oh, okay. I mean, I could talk about, I don’t know if there’s good. They’re standard. Right? There’s, there’s more, um, normalized methods of learning. So a lot of these books I’ve held, I’ve reviewed like over 30 so far.
So I don’t know if I’m the most, like, I have the most reviews of Japanese resources on YouTube, but I’m probably up there.
Elle: That’s a lot. Yeah.
Chad: So after holding all of them, most of them are exactly what their categories… like it’s, you know, you have an absolute beginner book or maybe the beginner split into several books, intermediate books, and then I count it as other, I don’t think advanced textbooks really exist in honesty.
Um, so I would say the bit, the biggest bonus with going with standardized books, these are books that are widely available. The ones that people most often use, that the reason you’d want to do that is there’s more of a commute. To help support you if you don’t understand something rather than going and, mind you I’m a third-party author, but rather than necessarily relying on a third-party author, because you might be working through this week’s review.
So the one I’m putting out on Wednesday is Japanese The Manga Way. It’s like teaching you Japanese grammar through Manga, which is a really cool book. And I, I have a lot of really positive thoughts about it, but if you’re relying on that book as your primary, imagine coming across an issue and you don’t know how to articulate what the issue is
because what you’re saying is, oh, this book explains it this way. So let’s say they refer to like ko, so, a, do words. So kore, sore, are, dore uh, koko asoko, right? Like the ko, so, a, do words, they call it that. But there’s actually a word for that. Like what those words are, there’s a grammatical word, or maybe you’re a part of a book that says, uh,so like “i” adjectives are, what was it…
I think. I’m tired. I never actually learned the actual grammatical terms for those cause in Genki, which is the textbook I started with, they didn’t teach you “here’s what mean in Japanese”. I just learned what an “i” adjective was or “na” objective. Right? I think it’s… I think. I’ll let the commenters shred me if that’s wrong.
It probably is. Uh, but imagine if you came from a background where you were talking about the Japanese term, cause that’s the book you used and people are like, what’s that? And you don’t know how to articulate this as an “i” or a “na” adjective. Right? And so there’s a safety going with the mainline books. And so what I like to show people is I compare them to the mainline books.
So if you want to know if you’re a new beginner and you’re like, I don’t know at all where to start the mainline beginner books, like the ones that are bread and butter, most communities use them are Genki both one and book two, Mina Nihongo both one and two. Um, I would say those honestly make up 80% of the market.
Elle: And Japanese for Busy People.
Chad: That’s uh, that’s, that’s a big one, but that’s not… the numbers, you can even look on Amazon. They’re not selling anything close to what those other two books sell.
Elle: Oh, interesting. I always thought they were… I used them. So maybe I was biased.
Chad: Well, they, they used to be really big. I have a couple versions of theirs on my shelf. I really should have done this in my study.
I have like a giant wall of Japanese resources. Um, but they’re just, that’s the thing is there’s also by the way, current. So that’s right now, like you’re listening to this, but let’s say in five years, you’re listening to this and you go, oh, maybe Genki is still the thing there very well might be a new thing coming out.
In fact, Tobira, which is a really, that one exploded in the intermediate books. Uh, they’re putting out a beginner series because they didn’t have one. And that one, from what I hear is really pulling punches with Genki and doing the things that people want from Genki, but it’s not in there. So that very well might take over.
But I’m saying for safety sake, if you’re too, excuse me, I coughed, for safety sake, if you would like to go over, you want to learn the language, but you want to be a part of a broad community to help you. If you have questions, the mainline books are those two and then it, however, Uh, pretty much intermediate is like Tobira still Mina No Nihongo cause they go farther.
Uh, and then what was that other one? Uh, Genki has an intermediate book that’s pretty popular now. It’s not, Genki, it’s a whoever prints Genki. An Intermediate Approach to Integrate… or An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese. That’s a very long English name. That is, so those are like the intermediate books.
And honestly, after those, it’s like now you’re picking hairs. I tried to go into. ..It’s like, what is it advanced or late intermediate or advanced textbooks? Um, I mean, you’re at a certain point where you hit that and it’s just like, you could just use native materials, like a dictionary, a grammar dic… like a regular dictionary on your phone, a grammar dictionary.
Um, I have several of those on my channel I’ve reviewed. And then just turn on Netflix with Japanese subtitles or read any Manga and you’ll be fine. Like you you’ll have plenty of exposure to be able to figure out the language at that point.
Tell us about your book because I know you’ve written a few, but the Japanese resource book that you’ve written, learn Kanji with Yokai.
Elle: Is so Cool. Tell us about it.
Chad: So that, that was really fun. I should have talked about more of my translation work, cause that also led into me guiding and doing translation with my own business. But I’ll give you guys a gist of this. I translated for a long time on my own. I worked, I was translating originally.
I was on those sites that were like, we help you find translation work. And I was always translating like instruction manuals for like Ikea furniture. That’s one of the, that’s one of the ones I remember doing. It was all these little dumb projects and it never, it paid, but it wasn’t like amazing. And so I was like, I’m going to do this stuff on my own.
And so I started building up, uh, contacts in Fukuoka where I’m at with different universities. There’s a women’s university I worked a lot with, um, and I started doing a lot of translations for robotics companies, uh, for textbooks. For, uh, like I did a lot of translating of teaching materials for teaching English and Japanese at these universities.
And that was my kind of big entrance into it on top of Ikea furniture, I guess. But again, they, they didn’t ask for a degree. I didn’t have my N2 at the time. I was just like, I could walk in and talk to them and go, do you need help? And, and that was enough for them. That was well, yeah. I mean, potentially if you can speak, who cares.
The… once that was done, uh, this was mind you now I have an exporting business I run in Japan. I have a tour guiding business I run in Japan. I do, I still run both of those to this day. Um, I got a hold of a group of people that are, uh, both they’re artists, they’re musicians and illustrators and stuff in Russia, learning English through the illustrator of the book.
Her name is Svetlana. We met on a language exchange web. And so we just got together the four of us and I essentially, uh, I remember, so me and her, cause we were working on English stuff with her. We were reading, uh, I think I want to say his name. Right? Cause I don’t speak Russian that great. Afanasiev. He’s the, he’s like the brothers…
well, he’s like the brothers Grimm of Russia. He, he was a, was it ethnographer? He basically collected children’s stories from Russia back in like the late 1800s. Oh, okay. And so what was awesome was I worked with this team. They had access to the original scans of his work, the stuff from the 1800s and they’re native Russians.
And I’ve worked with teams in translation. So I kind of managed a team where I’d go, here’s our deadlines. Here’s our timelines. Here’s your guys’s jobs. Cause they haven’t, you know, they know the languages, but they’ve never done the actual task of translation. And so they would translate, you know, parts of the text.
People would start illustrating it cause there’s lots of really cool illustrations on the books and they would send it to me. I would edit the English and they, I would essentially help them learn English while we were doing this cool project. I would send it back. They would look at my English, make sure what I was saying was…
’cause, you know, sometimes they might phrase something and I go, well, here’s how you actually say that. And then they go, oh, that’s not what I was trying to say. And then we have to call and work that out, right? That’s kind of, the work of a translator is, um, there’s a spectrum. So there’s like a word-for-word translation and a thought-for-thought translation.
Chad: And so in that space, And see, I didn’t even go to school to be a translator I just figured this stuff out, but a word for word translation is like the actual word on the page, the equivalent to that word in English, like sheep, sheep, cow, cow. Right? The problem is sometimes that does not like, if you say just the words and put it in English, it makes no bloody sense.
So it’s kind of like in English, I think there’s this old term. I think you’re British or something like that, I can hear from your accent.
Chad: There’s something like, he’s just sitting with his thumb in his ear and it’s like, it means you’re kind of being lazy.
Chad: I think
Elle: Don’t think I’ve heard that one.
Chad: Or like, what about, about kicking your heels?
Like you’re just sitting there like not working. Right.
So if I were to actually put that in Russian or vice versa, you might be like, “kicking your heels”? With the…
Chad: Right? Cause you literally have the word to kick your heels and then they’re like, and what it means is you being lazy, like, go, go do something.
Uh, and so what would happen is I would understand they’re kicking the heels in this metaphor and I would change it. And then we go, no, no, no, no. This is supposed to mean that the person is lazy and I go, oh, so now we need this and then I can translate it over more for thought-for-thought. Cause we’re trying, the goal is always word for word, but when it word for word doesn’t work, you move for changing the words in order to convey the actual meaning, the author intended.
Chad: And you know, these are just skills you learn when you translate. So anyways, we finished the book. It’s awesome. I have it over here. I don’t have all of them, but I have this one. So if you’re into Russian, you can check this out. This is the actual book that we translated ourselves with our, with our lovely team.
Uh, and it, you can buy it on Amazon with the rest of my stuff, but this was super fun. This was like one of the funnest things I’ve done and especially working, uh, with them. I just, I don’t know. It made me realize I really like doing this for myself. And so me and Svetlana, who was the illustrator, she made the cover of this, which is like super …
Chad: She’s. Yeah, she’s really good. She’s very good. She’s, she’s an architect normally. So she, even in her career, she does like artistry stuff. Uh, and so we, after that project was done, we were like, ah, breathe out. You want to make another one?. Yeah, let’s do it. And this time we decided to do it with my expertise, which was Japanese.
And that’s how we did this guy, which is learn Kanji with Yokai. And so she illustrated it. I did all the Japanese inside. I have a cool, I have a hands-on review, so I’m not going to go over it here. But, uh, this book was like my baby, and this showed me that man, I’m really passionate about helping people.
And I think that’s, what’s different about me and my approach to all this is there’s lots of really great YouTube channels to teach you Japanese. You know, you want pitch accent, go to Dogan. You want to like crazy immerse yourself and get really good, really fast? Go to Matt versus Japan. Those are my buddies.
Like they’re, they’re great folks. Um, I’m not trying to teach you Japanese. I’m trying to help you learn, um, as best as I can. Yeah.
So that could be motivation that could be helping you pick the right resource that could be helping with like a very particular problem. Uh, I’m not a teacher of Japanese.
That’s just not what I do. I teach people or at least help them acquire language. That’s what I like to do. I like helping. So I teach helping, which is a weird statement, but that’s what I did with this book. It helps teach you Japanese in a fun way, in a creative way. Um, and it’s something that hopefully will make a lot more of these books, not just with Yokai, but with anything, like learn Kanji with geography or some other things.
I really love doing it, but that’s how these…
Elle: That’s a very cool idea. Yeah.
I, I, I’m very impressed by it. I have to say. Yeah.
Chad: So she she’s wonderful, by the way she sends her best, I told her I’d be coming on here. Um, but yeah, that’s…
Elle: She’s is she based in Russia?
So she’s, she’s in Moscow. Uh, she’s a 3d visualization or something like that or training to be, but she was an architect forever.
So she’s just unbelievably talented in art and in languages, she’s like really good at English. And so the two of us kind of work well together. And so we just kind of go, let’s put out a book in six weeks and then Learn Kanji with Yokai happened.
Elle: Boom. You did it. Well I’ll pop the link to the book in the description so people can check it out of course. And also I’ll pop a link to your channel, Chad Zimmerman, uh, tell us, all of us who are gonna race over and subscribe what you have in store. What’s the plan for the channel?
So the channel is going to keep up with that theme I think of helping you learn. I’m not teaching Japanese, but I’m helping you.
And farther than that, like way beyond even the language. Um, I realized that I figured out something that a lot of people really want, which is how can I make a life out of this Japanese? How can I go to Japan and do all this stuff? Maybe you guys saw the trap that I saw of like, yeah, let’s just get really into debt and then have no jobs afterwards.
That’s a great idea. Um, and so for people that want to make Japanese a part of the, um, or any language, but I focus on Japanese cause that’s my main language. I know a little bit of Russian just from working with these teams, but not enough, not enough to do very much.
Is that your next language? Do you think
Elle: that you’ll focus on Russian?
Chad: Maybe. I have no idea. I think so. Cause I already, so I had to know, this is a sidetrack, but I had to know Greek and Hebrew because I’m in a master’s program right now and they require, you know, that cause you have to be able to read like ancient texts for my course. And so I already know, like biblical, Greek and Hebrew, uh, that’s not hard.
There’s only 2000 words really in both languages. Like it’s not, it’s not extensive. It’s, whatever’s in the book and the book doesn’t have that many words. Uh, but I think Russian might be just cause I don’t know. I like Russian. It’s just, I don’t think I’d make a channel out of it very much. Um, I, I would like my channel to be more universal, like about linguistics and, and about doing what I’m doing. Like how can you become a translator? Um, how can you, like, I run a guiding business. How can I start my own business? I run, I wish I could show you it’s off screen. I have a wall of probably 2000 Manga volumes just right here. I’m an exporter of these. I export them from Japan to here and I sell them.
I have used denim jeans from America that I sell in Japan for a lot of money. So that’s on this side. I have my Japanese, my Japanese fly rod company. I export Japanese tenkara rods over there. I’m looking at them. So I found a way without everyone says you meet, oh, just get the degree and then go teach English over there and be miserable.
Yeah, because everyone knows how horrible that job is. Everyone likes to say, it’s fine. And we all know it’s not a fun job.
Elle: I did it. You know it had it’s ups and downs. For sure.
Chad: You see how you answered that to me, that tells me what you don’t actually want to say. I think most people do that as a cop-out because they go, I want to live in that country and this is my way to do it.
And what I want to say is there is a way to, to build your life that way. And I want to help people. There’s another way. There’s another way. And it’s your way. You don’t have to… Even for me, I haven’t had a boss, like an actual boss since I was 18. I’ve worked for myself and I’m almost 30. I’m doing well.
I’m almost 30.
Elle: It’s okay.
Elle: Your thirties are the best.
Chad: Ah, okay. So I’ve, I’ve been self-employed I found a way and I just want to help other people, cause I have gotten so much joy and benefit and fun. I’ve met my best friends. Um, I have made things I never thought would be made. My life is completely changed because of Japan and Japanese.
And I didn’t do it the way that everyone else told me I had to. And so that’s what I want my channel to be is. So if you guys are interested, hopefully after this, if you find me at all charming, uh, you can go check out my channel. I’m Chad Zimmerman on YouTube uh, and I put out a video every single week. And it’s either about Japanese or Japan.
Obviously the Japan side is a little slow right now, cause I’m not allowed in. So those videos are, those videos will come. But when I’m allowed back in, you’ll get a lot of content about living in Japan, working in Japan. What it’s like, how I did it, uh, as well as all the other countries I did. I just got back from Georgia, put out a 40 minute video there.
I’m going to go to Russia this winter, obviously. So. Lots of really cool, interesting language things that I never thought I would get to do all because of Japanese. So if that sounds cool, maybe check me out.
Elle: Fantastic. Yeah.
And I’ll pop, like I said, I’ll pop the, uh, the link to your channel in the description, along with your book.
Um, listen, Chad, this was such a great chat. Thank you so much for joining us and, um, yeah. And enjoy the rest of your evening. No, you’re in you’re an hour ahead. So enjoy the rest of your day.
Chad: I’m right next to you. So thank you so much for having me. This was really, really fun.
Elle: It was great. Thank you, Chad.