NELSON, NEW ZEALAND – Tokyo resident Khamida Malianchinova, 26, hails from Kyrgyzstan. The eldest of seven siblings, she moved to Japan in 2019 after receiving a MEXT scholarship to conduct research at the University of Tokyo, where she’s a proud member of the “Potsuai” aikido club. Last year, she co-founded a video podcast, “Tokyo State of Mind,” which focuses on helping international residents find community and combat loneliness.
1. What first brought you to Japan? When I was 14, I watched my first anime show and decided that one day I would go to Japan, not as a tourist, but to live. I remember at that time everyone thought I was a freak because I was the only one who liked anime. People from Kyrgyzstan rarely come here, as there are very limited opportunities to come to Japan on a Kyrgyz passport.
2. You got a MEXT government scholarship to study at the University of Tokyo in 2019. What was your area of focus? I focused on learning Japanese, and my area of focus was podcasts! So in a way “Tokyo State of Mind” is my research project.
3. Was it an easy transition? I wouldn’t say it was an easy transition. I felt super lonely at the beginning. But, I was lucky to meet my aikido circle members and my university friends — including (podcast co-founder) Katya. They saved me, and to this day they remain a safe place for me here in Japan.
4. Is there anything you wish you’d known before moving? Not really. Everything turned out the way it was supposed to be!
5. You started your podcast, “Tokyo State of Mind” in June 2020. Did the pandemic inspire you? Even before the pandemic, I had the idea of doing a podcast, but didn’t have time. One day Katya and I decided to hang out in Ebisu Garden Place. We were both sharing stories of coping with depression and isolation in Japan and how it would be great to meet more “out of the box” people and get to know their stories for reference. The crazy thing is that Tokyo is a city with a lot of opportunities, but at the same time we felt like we (couldn’t) judge if it was Tokyo or us who chose to stay isolated.
The next day I called her and said, “Wanna meet people in Tokyo and learn more about the city we live in from them?” And that’s how two Russian speakers decided to start “Tokyo State of Mind.”
6. How do you work out creative differences? We are friends first, so it’s easy to negotiate. We always support each other and focus more on growth and fun.
7. Is loneliness and isolation that big an issue among the non-Japanese community? I believe so. And the scariest thing is that you don’t notice until you also become isolated, both physically and mentally. Especially in Tokyo, it is very easy to feel so lonely surrounded by the crowds. And as a foreigner, once you come here without family — or if you don’t have friends who can emotionally support you — things can get way too overwhelming. My personal way of coping was watching cheesy shows and running 10 kilometers three times a week.
8. What do you think should be done to improve mental health among the country’s international population? The Japanese government could create more spaces like the Tokyo International Exchange Center residence halls for international people to have a community around them who can understand their emotional needs. I had a very bad experience living in a shared house that had a toxic culture of filing reports on neighbors for small things. There should also be more offline platforms for people to connect with local communities that are super amazing and willing to have more international members.
Overwork culture should be ended, as it’s primarily connected to mental health problems of most people here. Like, seriously, how is it even possible to create meaningful relationships in life if all you do is work? When you are off the clock you are off the clock, and that should be practiced more.
9. Can you walk us through the process of putting together an episode? Usually we start by choosing a topic of interest and then start asking well-connected people around us if they know anyone who would fit. Though sometimes people just DM us, and if we find them interesting we’ll invite them for an interview. Katya and I meet at her apartment with all the equipment to film. It takes an hour for mic check and warming up, and then the magic starts!
10. How do you prepare to interview guests? It depends on the guest. If it’s a friend of ours, not much research is needed, but when it comes to a new person we take a couple of days to look at their social media profiles and ask them questions in advance. We then write a light script and send it to the guest to make sure we don’t talk about something the other side isn’t comfortable with.
11. Who has been your most moving guest? Filmmaker Jeremy Rubier has had the biggest impact on Katya and me, because the way he talked about important topics like global warming and “self-culture” was very passionate.
22 thoughts on “(keeping up relations strong)(japan times)Khamida Malianchinova: ‘We couldn’t judge if it was Tokyo or us who chose to stay isolated”
I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.
I would like to express my appreciation to this writer for bailing me out of such a trouble. Just after surfing around throughout the world wide web and obtaining methods which were not helpful, I believed my entire life was gone. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the difficulties you’ve resolved all through the short article is a serious case, and ones that might have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t come across your web blog. Your good skills and kindness in dealing with every part was priceless. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a step like this. I can also now relish my future. Thank you very much for this high quality and results-oriented guide. I won’t hesitate to recommend the sites to anyone who would like guidelines about this area.
I needed to put you the bit of observation to thank you very much once again for these amazing methods you’ve shown in this article. It has been certainly shockingly generous with people like you to convey freely just what a number of us could have offered as an e book to help make some profit for their own end, and in particular since you might have done it in case you considered necessary. Those good tips also served to be a great way to be aware that someone else have the same keenness like my personal own to understand more and more with reference to this condition. I know there are a lot more enjoyable periods ahead for folks who look into your site.
I am also commenting to let you understand what a nice discovery my friend’s princess enjoyed reading through your webblog. She noticed many pieces, which include what it’s like to have an excellent coaching style to get most people clearly master a number of very confusing issues. You truly did more than visitors’ desires. Thank you for providing these valuable, trusted, explanatory and in addition cool tips about your topic to Lizeth.
A lot of thanks for every one of your hard work on this blog. Kate enjoys working on investigations and it’s really easy to understand why. All of us learn all regarding the dynamic tactic you create simple secrets through this blog and boost contribution from other people on that concept then our favorite girl is actually starting to learn a great deal. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are always doing a terrific job.
I intended to create you the little bit of remark to thank you as before on your amazing ideas you have discussed on this site. It was simply strangely open-handed with people like you to convey unreservedly all a lot of people would’ve distributed for an ebook to make some dough for themselves, principally since you might well have done it if you ever decided. The solutions additionally acted as the fantastic way to know that other individuals have the identical keenness the same as mine to grasp a whole lot more around this issue. I am certain there are many more pleasant occasions up front for those who scan through your blog.
I needed to put you the very small note to be able to give thanks once again just for the fantastic views you have documented on this website. It was remarkably generous with people like you giving extensively exactly what many people might have offered for sale as an e-book to get some money for their own end, precisely given that you might have done it in the event you decided. Those inspiring ideas in addition served to be the fantastic way to comprehend someone else have the identical keenness really like mine to realize significantly more around this issue. I believe there are some more pleasurable times ahead for individuals who read carefully your website.
I in addition to my friends were actually examining the nice ideas found on your website then before long came up with a horrible feeling I had not thanked the website owner for those secrets. The ladies appeared to be totally passionate to study all of them and have now surely been taking pleasure in those things. We appreciate you simply being simply considerate and then for picking out these kinds of marvelous ideas millions of individuals are really wanting to understand about. Our own sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.
Thanks so much for giving everyone an extremely nice opportunity to discover important secrets from this site. It is always so sweet and also packed with a lot of fun for me and my office peers to search your website the equivalent of thrice a week to learn the new tips you will have. And of course, I’m always contented concerning the powerful knowledge you give. Selected 4 tips on this page are ultimately the most effective I have had.
My wife and i have been really more than happy when Michael could finish up his preliminary research via the ideas he made using your weblog. It’s not at all simplistic to simply choose to be releasing steps some people have been trying to sell. And now we consider we’ve got the blog owner to give thanks to for that. The type of illustrations you have made, the easy blog navigation, the relationships you can help foster – it’s many overwhelming, and it’s assisting our son and us reckon that this idea is awesome, and that’s extraordinarily vital. Thank you for the whole thing!
I enjoy you because of every one of your effort on this site. My mum takes pleasure in conducting research and it’s easy to understand why. My spouse and i know all of the dynamic mode you render both useful and interesting guides by means of the web site and therefore attract participation from the others about this issue plus our princess is in fact understanding so much. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You are doing a fabulous job.
My spouse and i ended up being fulfilled when Chris could finish off his basic research through the precious recommendations he got while using the weblog. It’s not at all simplistic to just choose to be making a gift of guidelines which most people have been trying to sell. And now we remember we’ve got you to be grateful to because of that. The entire explanations you made, the easy site menu, the relationships your site assist to engender – it’s all amazing, and it is facilitating our son and us consider that that content is entertaining, which is certainly exceptionally essential. Thanks for the whole thing!
Needed to compose you a tiny remark to be able to thank you yet again for all the pleasing tips you have discussed on this page. It has been incredibly generous with people like you to allow extensively exactly what many people would have supplied as an e book to earn some cash for themselves, particularly now that you might have tried it if you decided. These secrets in addition served as the fantastic way to fully grasp that other people online have the same dreams really like my very own to learn whole lot more related to this condition. I’m sure there are millions of more pleasant instances up front for folks who browse through your blog.
I in addition to my pals were actually digesting the excellent tips found on your site while suddenly came up with a horrible suspicion I had not thanked the blog owner for those strategies. All the men ended up consequently warmed to read through all of them and have in effect very much been making the most of them. Thank you for really being so kind and then for deciding on this sort of marvelous areas most people are really desirous to be aware of. My honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.
I simply had to thank you so much once more. I do not know the things that I would have undertaken in the absence of the entire creative concepts contributed by you on that question. It truly was a real traumatic difficulty in my position, however , coming across this specialised technique you solved that made me to jump with contentment. I’m happy for the information and then believe you find out what a great job your are putting in educating the others thru your website. I am certain you’ve never got to know any of us.
My wife and i were now joyous Albert could round up his homework while using the precious recommendations he obtained through your weblog. It is now and again perplexing to just always be giving freely steps which often men and women could have been making money from. We already know we now have the writer to appreciate for this. The type of illustrations you have made, the straightforward site navigation, the relationships you can assist to create – it’s got many overwhelming, and it’s letting our son and our family know that that theme is exciting, and that is seriously vital. Thank you for the whole thing!
I am writing to make you understand of the really good experience my wife’s child enjoyed viewing your webblog. She came to find plenty of details, which include what it is like to possess a wonderful coaching nature to let other folks effortlessly thoroughly grasp specified hard to do subject matter. You undoubtedly did more than people’s desires. Thank you for rendering these great, trusted, informative as well as unique tips on the topic to Sandra.
I just wanted to make a quick message so as to express gratitude to you for some of the marvelous solutions you are giving out on this website. My prolonged internet investigation has finally been compensated with awesome concept to go over with my classmates and friends. I ‘d assume that we visitors actually are definitely endowed to dwell in a good website with many brilliant professionals with interesting tips and hints. I feel very much blessed to have seen the web pages and look forward to plenty of more exciting times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.
I simply wanted to develop a small remark so as to appreciate you for all of the wonderful tips and tricks you are placing on this site. My extended internet look up has finally been rewarded with reasonable strategies to share with my companions. I ‘d assume that many of us visitors actually are rather endowed to be in a fine network with very many lovely professionals with valuable strategies. I feel very much lucky to have seen your entire web page and look forward to many more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.
I enjoy you because of each of your work on this website. My aunt enjoys getting into internet research and it’s really easy to see why. We know all regarding the lively tactic you create insightful guidance by means of your blog and even attract response from some others on that area plus our favorite simple princess has always been learning so much. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You are always performing a pretty cool job.
I wanted to post a quick word so as to appreciate you for these awesome advice you are giving on this site. My extended internet investigation has at the end of the day been recognized with incredibly good content to exchange with my best friends. I ‘d assume that we site visitors are unequivocally blessed to dwell in a fabulous network with very many awesome professionals with interesting solutions. I feel pretty privileged to have seen your entire weblog and look forward to plenty of more excellent times reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.
I intended to create you this little word to finally say thanks a lot over again for all the precious ideas you have featured on this website. It has been really strangely generous with people like you giving publicly what exactly a number of people would have sold for an electronic book to get some profit on their own, and in particular now that you could have done it in case you wanted. The points likewise worked to be a great way to be certain that the rest have the same fervor the same as my very own to realize somewhat more on the topic of this matter. I know there are several more fun periods in the future for people who looked at your website.