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Norm - Tokyo Lens


173 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

"Norm Nakamura" - known as TokyoLens is a Canadian Youtuber living in Japan. His most well-known interests are his Shamisen, and his passion for Videography and Photography.

Vlogging Youtube // Shamisen Youtube // Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

Norm is 34, and moved to Japan in 2007 to work as an ALT, before quitting in May 2018 to pursue J-Vlogging full time. He began his channel in July 2015. His video style is informative and scripted.

Personally, he is most connected with Annyeong Sharla / Sharla In Japan of which she has appeared in his videos since his first published one in 2015. He has appeared frequently of late on her channel, including travelling for the first time ever to Korea to visit her. He also makes appearances often with SherryBerry in Ehime.
 

H I S T O R Y

  • "Nakamura" isn't Norm's last name, his name is Norm Brandt. He was involved with a Japanese "Ninja" Dance Club called "Raize" who have a Youtube Channel from 2006 called Spioke. Norm makes an appearance in their fifth and final video about the March 11th 2011 Earthquake.
     
  • Norm posts a video of his move to Japan in November 2007 with a video called "My Room in Tokyo.
     
  • "Norm Brandt" was involved with a GoMontrealToronto promotional video, where he talks about having a Fiance.
     
  • Norm's Reddit is under the username spoike and he has done a lot of self-promotion with his Shamisen videos, and confirms he has a wife later in the comments.

Shamisen.thumb.png.d951dac61d1204c3d44dc

self_promo.thumb.png.da123146a8eb52a1a9d

however, he seems to embellish what he's actually done with his life in earlier comments, pretending that he's older than he actually is and that he's from the US and not Canada. I was going to dismiss his reddit link, but everything else comments-wise matches up.

embellish.thumb.png.0b5c30f2cf48c97f351a
 

 

  • In his video "I QUIT" he described himself as working at a "communications training company" and his role after promotion was "running an entire branch" but that has since been disputed that he was actually just working at a well-known Eikaiwa company, and he became an ISL "Instructor Service Leader" which is actually not a management role at all. It is confirmed on his LinkedIn if you log in (but is hidden if you're not), that the company he worked at was Gaba. An employee of the company has come forward to confirm his in-company profile, which can be seen by Gaba Students and Gaba employees.
     

Norm-Brandt-Gaba-Profile.thumb.jpg.fbf6c

that same company employee has confirmed that he has "at least one child" to his wife, but due to privacy hasn't provided any further details. In her message, she also says

After working as an instructor for a few years, he applied for the position of ISL in early 2011 and transitioned to this new role in April of that year. He has been an extremely unpopular ISL causing Gaba to constantly shuffle him around to new Learning Studios like toxic waste. On the upside, this has given Norm exposure to a great deal of Tokyo's hidden restaurants, parks, bridges, and other cultural areas. Almost all of his current location shots are near Gaba LSs where he has worked.

which seems to refute his claims that he finds his restaurants and shots by just wandering into random alleys and buildings and seeing what's there.

 

P R E S E N T  D A Y

His most recent video with Sharla and Visually Greg who just recently moved to Korea has caused a stir, with him outing Greg as gay in a Mukbang video, which can be seen on the following video. "Seriously, I knew from the second you came out of that Karaoke room and you're like hiiii!" Then follows with comments about flamboyancy that make Greg visually shut down on stream.

https://youtu.be/nduHvWuwo2A?t=15m19s

 

A huge thank you to user Missy Deluxe for helping compile this information.

Edited by kurukurupaaaa
Added more info from Missy Deluxe
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I can't really judge him for his character (yet), as for me the thing with Greg was his first real slip. As for the other stuff we heard, we have no proof yet. It doesn't sound really far-fetched though, it might be true that he made his past job sound greater than it was. If that's the worst thing he did though, I personally don't care much.

I personally like his videos. He produces content aside from the typical weeaboo and shopping stuff. His editing style and how he talks sounds rehearsed, so I get that it's not everyone's taste. But I really like how he puts effort into his videos and actually tries to make content. Recently he made a video on Ishikawa prefecture, and I found that really interesting:

 

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I agree that he has an incredible skill with Photography and Videography, and it's a nice change to see Japan at night, and Japan in the countryside. I wish he would relax in front of the camera though, because I think it would make him more likeable. He seems just a bit too robotic and part of following vloggers is their personalities. I've been following him since he was under 5k subs though so I still appreciate his content enough. I think it'd be nice if his videos like this were in this style, and his Tokyo Tuesdays were a bit more like he's talking to a friend.
 

As for the character, I've updated the thread with some information about his past. You're right in that he hasn't done anything particularly shady, just the old Vlogger trope of hiding a wife and pretending he's single and whimsical, and playing up his job responsibilities. Although, this thread was only made twelve hours ago so we'll see lol. After all, he did claim that he was an "Asshole" in Greg's video, and if that's truly the case I'm sure it'll come to light.

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I really liked the Ishikawa prefecture video, but I wish he stopped sounding so scripted. 

I thought he was dating the girl that sometimes appears at his videos but seeing that he has a wife AND a child changed my mind.

 

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Yes in Greg's video Norm said he's an asshole and not naturally friendly and outgoing and Sharla said he usually hates people right off the bat. But in the few videos I've seen of him he put on this positive friendly persona. That's probably why some people get this fakeness vibe from him, because they can instinctively pick up that it doesn't align with his real character. I think many online personalities put on a persona to an extent, maybe some of them are just better at it or their true character is closer to they persona, so it doesn't feel off.

Edited by Mimi_
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It bothered me in one of the Seoul live streams with Sharla, Norm and Greg when Norm is asking Greg about the REAL reason he left Japan, which turned out to be persistent police harassment. It sounded absolutely awful and Norm responds with his usual positivity spiel.. Greg looked uncomfortable as Norm goes on and on. I think there's a difference between people who whine about every little thing and Greg's Japan situation. Patience has nothing to do with getting harassed by the police. Norm really loves talking about positivity, though, so hey another chance to preach, right?

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I met Norm briefly at the 2016 Hanami. He seemed nice but brushed off anyone that wasn't a youtuber...or a popular-enough youtuber. He's a great talent with photography and videography but I think he can make much better videos if he put a little more effort into it. 

I know from my contact in Japan he's involved with the Tokyo Creative people 

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It bothered me in one of the Seoul live streams with Sharla, Norm and Greg when Norm is asking Greg about the REAL reason he left Japan, which turned out to be persistent police harassment. It sounded absolutely awful and Norm responds with his usual positivity spiel.. Greg looked uncomfortable as Norm goes on and on. I think there's a difference between people who whine about every little thing and Greg's Japan situation. Patience has nothing to do with getting harassed by the police. Norm really loves talking about positivity, though, so hey another chance to preach, right?

 

 

-___- Norm can you just stop? Poor Greg, first about his sexual orientation and now about the police harassment he experienced. Seems Norm really loves to assume things about other people/their experiences/situations and give some ignorant speech about it while not really listening to the affected person. Do you remember at which time in the video they talk about it? I’ve seen Greg’s video about him crying and being held at a Japanese police station for questionable reasons. It seems that this was a traumatic experience for him and Norm should have refrained from using this as an opportunity to cultivate his positivity act.

The Norm/Greg discussion will go under in Sharla’s Thread so I will link the beginning here for anyone who wants to read up on it in the future:

https://prettyuglylittleliar.net/topic/1899-sharla-in-japan/?page=334#comment-357710

 

 

Edited by Mimi_
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I went back and looked so its the 30:22  mark in the Seoul livestream when it starts. Norm disagrees with Sharla who thinks there's a difference between struggles such as motivation or financial struggles. He pulls Greg into it and is preachy. Someone in super chat asked about struggles, sure, but Norm has to make a big point about situations not being different (even does a "disagree dance" with Sharla). He had the question as a preach opportunity and could have left Greg out of it.

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I went back and looked so its the 30:22  mark in the Seoul livestream when it starts. Norm disagrees with Sharla who thinks there's a difference between struggles such as motivation or financial struggles. He pulls Greg into it and is preachy. Someone in super chat asked about struggles, sure, but Norm has to make a big point about situations not being different (even does a "disagree dance" with Sharla). He had the question as a preach opportunity and could have left Greg out of it.

 

 

Thank you! Did you mean 35:22 though? I gotta admit I was already expecting the worst but he wasn't as annoying like in Greg's video (although I only watched 10 minutes so I can't speak for the whole video...). But I agree it doesn't make sense that Norm gave his speech about patience being the solution to every struggle and then wanted Greg's police harassment story as confirmation for his statement. As you said, having patience has nothing to do with Greg's situation. o.O I think someone in the j-vlogger or Sharla thread said that Norm reminds them of those online coaches that try to sell you their books/programs and give you preachy platitudes.. I agree :D

ETA: And I agree that he just shouldn't have brought it up again, knowing how painful it was for Greg and it not being relevant for his patience speech.

Edited by Mimi_
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I haven't watched any of his content, I just know him through Sharla's and Greg's videos. But to me, right now, he just seems like a privileged, cis, white male who doesn't care about anyone else's struggles. Tbh he was right on one thing tho, he really is an asshole 😒

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I haven't watched any of his content, I just know him through Sharla's and Greg's videos. But to me, right now, he just seems like a privileged, cis, white male who doesn't care about anyone else's struggles. Tbh he was right on one thing tho, he really is an asshole 😒

 

Yes, and as someone who has worked with him for years at Gaba, I can't emphasize enough how much he was despised by his coworkers. He was extremely arrogant and offered unsolicited "advice" to instructors on how to "improve" their lessons, often in the form of passive agressive notes he'd leave on their desks. Some instructors were very offended by this and went to nearby learning studios to avoid Norm because his personality is so toxic. I'm not entirely convinced that he quit Gaba because it was well known that Gaba management was trying to get rid of him for a long time. Perhaps they finally came to a mutual agreement on a nice severance package. He used to have his Gaba job history listed on his Linkedin profile but he disappeared it just before making his "I QUIT" video.

You might think that I have an axe to grind with Norm or a vendetta of some sort but that's frankly not true. He actually never bothered me at Gaba and mostly left me alone. I think because I'm much older than him and he knew that I would never take his shit. Sometimes we would smoke out in the alley together and make small talk but we were never really that close and I always kept my distance.

To be honest, I'm in agreement with those who think Norm's videos show a very high level of videography and editing skill. He could very well make a good living with this job. At the same time, I'm a bit disgusted by the extremely fake persona he uses in his videos, especially when he gets all emotive and syrupy and puts on the puppy dog eyes. I'm sure some fans swoon at that but it makes me sick because I know it's all an act, honey. Norm is really a snake in the grass so you'd better watch out!

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I think it's normal to not show your wife and kid(s?) for safety and privacy reasons, but I wonder why he doesn't even mention that he is married. I really can't remember where but he said that he gets a lot of messages with 'offers' from his viewers. So I wonder if he doesn't mention being married for 'business reasons' (appearing more attractive to some viewers), personally likes the attention or wants to make a big reveal like some other youtubers.

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@Missy Deluxe, your post is sobering for not only Norm but so many other personalities. Such a good reminder to stay sharp and never assume these online personas are who they are 100% of the time. At least Norm admitted to being rude to people off the bat, and I've always thought that he has a bit of a superiority complex based off how he speaks in his videos. BUT: I still watch his stuff strictly because he does put a lot of effort in the quality and content.

Tho I have to hit pause sometimes because I have to laugh at how he often blocks guests' faces and talks as if they aren't there when he features them in his videos.

Screenshot_20180708-191417.thumb.png.7b6Screenshot_20180708-192751.thumb.png.41bScreenshot_20180708-192827.thumb.png.02aScreenshot_20180708-191000.thumb.png.634Screenshot_20180708-191844.thumb.png.6dbScreenshot_20180708-191620.thumb.png.de5Screenshot_20180708-192605.thumb.png.18dScreenshot_20180708-192631.thumb.png.5f6Screenshot_20180708-191230.thumb.png.632

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@Missy Deluxe, your post is sobering for not only Norm but so many other personalities. Such a good reminder to stay sharp and never assume these online personas are who they are 100% of the time. At least Norm admitted to being rude to people off the bat, and I've always thought that he has a bit of a superiority complex based off how he speaks in his videos. BUT: I still watch his stuff strictly because he does put a lot of effort in the quality and content.

Tho I have to hit pause sometimes because I have to laugh at how he often blocks guests' faces and talks as if they aren't there when he features them in his videos.

Screenshot_20180708-191417.thumb.png.7b6Screenshot_20180708-192751.thumb.png.41bScreenshot_20180708-192827.thumb.png.02aScreenshot_20180708-191000.thumb.png.634Screenshot_20180708-191844.thumb.png.6dbScreenshot_20180708-191620.thumb.png.de5Screenshot_20180708-192605.thumb.png.18dScreenshot_20180708-192631.thumb.png.5f6Screenshot_20180708-191230.thumb.png.632

 

 

:D He really seems narcissistic and loves to be the center of attention. But I agree that the production quality of his videos is high.

 

Ok I remembered, it was on twitter. The tweet was talked about on pull because the youtuber Keira In Tokyo commented under it, asking if Sharla was the secret to his growth lol. Of course he denied it in his answer but I definitely think it played a big part to his subscriber count that he collaborated with Sharla a lot when he stepped up the game on his channel. Most people probably know him through Sharla.

Anyway, Norm said it's a downside but this tweet seemed kinda braggy (look how my subscriber count grew, girls are all over me, I engage with everyone..). Yeah I know there are some shameless people out there who wouldn't care about someone's relationship status but my guess is that a lot of the viewers that try to flirt with him (and I like to believe the majority of them don't send him lewd photos or am I too naive? :D) just think that he is single. That's why I wondered why he just doesn't mention it on his channel or if he deliberately wants to appear single to appear more attractive to some fans.

 

tweet.jpg

Edited by Mimi_
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