Erika Itohara/Nationwide famous time-saving researcher
Why are Erika's classes chosen over other free content?
During quarantine, people got tired of eating the same food and watching the same kind of cooking videos on the Internet, so I thought to myself, why not teach something different while sharing tips on how to maximise their time in the kitchen?
Erika shared that by being a “jitankenkyuka,” which literally translated to time-saving researcher, she is able to share her skills and knowledge she learned working as a housekeeper to make it easy for people to cook.
Erika’s online cooking classes have titles like “Let’s learn to meal-prep 5 dishes in an hour!” and “One month, two hundred dollars meal budget receipt!”.
Her viewers consist of people of all ages and races, but the majority are women in their 40s. Erika says this is because sometimes, they may run out of ideas when it comes to preparing meals for the family or that they are juggling between work and taking care of the family hence her videos really helped them a lot in terms of both problems.
What is more, cooking is automatically considered a mother’s job in Japan. So, most mothers feel pressured when they have to learn everything themselves without proper guidance. For that reason, Erika launched her own live cooking class as well to interact with viewers on the go.
Erika and her students in an in-person cooking class
At Erika’s live cooking classes, her students will feel included, heard, and accompanied.
Having a Masters in Psychology, Erica prioritizes mental health and doesn’t want people to feel stressed when it comes to cooking. “Of course, I teach ways to save both money and time through my video, but here, my viewers are able to ask me questions on the spot, and I can reply to them immediately like we are cooking together in my house, truly wonderful.” she says.
Erika added that her classes are not just about teaching how to cook. Otherwise, it would be just like another YouTube video. Nor is it about introducing recipes. “I think recipes have no value. This is why I don’t have any self proclaimed secret receipts. Instead, I give practical advice on how to prepare the meal at a fraction of the cost and the usual time taken and even how to make it tastier! While providing emotional support for the people struggling.”
"My life is like a RPG game"
Unlike the majority of Japanese who opt for the conventional day job after university and end up working for one company for the rest of their lives, Erika took a leap of faith in becoming a share-worker.
As she started working part-time as a housekeeper in her school days, the job slowly grew on her, and soon enough, she realized she was good at what she was doing.
“I simply knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an example that we don’t always have to stick with one conventional way, we don’t always have to follow what others are doing, instead there are always opportunities for us to pave our own way”.
Even if it meant that she won’t have a stable income, it was important for her to do what she loves most: sharing the skills and knowledge she obtained over the year, hoping to benefit everyone that follows her.
Today, other than being a content creator and an online coach, Erica is also a personal chef, a menu specialist, a housekeeper, a mental health counselor, and an AirBnb homeowner!
How does she get it all done?
“I love what I do. To me, life is like a RPG game. Finding different quests and accomplishing them really is the best way to describe how I live my life. On top of that, people are grateful for what I do. There is no better feeling than this. I simply can’t quit. I don’t even feel like I need a day off because my work doesn’t actually feel like work!”
Dishes you can learn to make in Erika’s time-saving cooking class
Erica’s next quest
Having over fifty thousand subscribers for her online cooking class, Erika noticed mothers and housewives are being taken for granted. “No matter how much they put effort into household duties, they are not appreciated enough.
My next quest will be to spread more awareness and appreciation for mothers so that their families are reminded of their hard work and contribution.”
As for all the mothers, Erika wants to encourage them to be practical and savvy. “In Japan, a good housewife would be expected to spend unnecessary energy and time on household duties. But the process doesn’t matter if you get it done. Why peel a vegetable perfectly when you will eat it anyway?” She stands for efficiency and practicality which makes household duties fun. “I want to spread the ‘easy-way-out culture’. Because there is nothing wrong with that.”
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