The little apartment is quiet, disturbed only by the purring of cats and the hissing of the kettle. I watch the steam rise from a beautiful tiny coffee cup, soothed by the process of grinding, making a pour-over, looking out the window at plants.
Do I live the perfect Instagram life? No, I’m watching a YouTube video in a sea of moving boxes.
One of the best aspects of YouTube is the way it can provide a little window into a life. I often find that watching certain YouTubers—especially certain vloggers—can be a little source of order and peace when life gets hectic. Watching people with lives like mine who have curated a beautiful little world can also inspire me to bring some of that order into my own life, taking concrete tips or an overall aesthetic from their lives and applying it to my own.
This was very true for me recently when I was moving and envisioning the kind of life I wanted to live. In a time where my own life was rather lacking in the aesthetic department (hello, ordering on the McDonald’s app), it was inspiring and peaceful to watch YouTube vlogs and imagine myself living my new life in a different place. This became the perfect time to discover the magical little world of silent vlogs.
The peaceful appeal of silent vlogs
Silent vlogs are just what they sound like—vlogs without voiceover or chatting, often even hiding the face of the vlogger. They provide an immersive experience—you can hear the sound of soup bubbling on the stove or a knife chopping vegetables. There might be some peaceful background music, but it’s not intended to be overwhelming. The silent vlog is a popular video-production style among YouTubers in Japan and South Korea, where often the emphasis in social media is less on a cult of personality and more on cultivating a beautiful aesthetic. Paired with the footage is usually a written commentary (often written or translated into English) that evokes a beautiful, poetic simplicity.
Perhaps best of all, because they’re not designed to grab your attention, silent vlogs are less addictive (in my experience) than the rest of YouTube—you finish a silent vlog feeling uplifted, encouraged, and ready to make your own beautiful day.
Dipping your toe into the world of silent vlogging can be a little overwhelming, especially if you can’t read Japanese or Korean, but there are so many great places to start. I’ve put together a list of the best ways to step into the world of silent vlogging—seven vloggers with one great video from each.
Choki’s creations became my first foray into the world of silent vlogging. I was immediately drawn in by her vlogs, which feel like they’re set in a cozy cottage in the mountains. If “cottagecore” is your thing, start here, and enjoy the combination of Eastern and Western aesthetics that Choki appears to pull off effortlessly.
Behold a calm day of cooking, relaxing, and prioritizing your mental health.
Turn on the captions to read Choki’s thoughtful reflections on “small habits that heal a tired heart.”
Nao’s minimal, elegant apartment space is breezy and full of light. I particularly love the plants that flourish around her space. Watch her tend to her plants and cats while having a relaxing Sunday.
Nao, like many Japanese YouTubers, also has an enviable skincare routine that you can get a peek at here!
If you need some inspiration for a more urban lifestyle, Miku is a great place to start. My favorite video is her 4 a.m. (!!!) morning routine, where she wakes up and gets out the door within half an hour for work (looking like a model, by the way). She even works in a little bit of skincare!
The Japanese term for a professional woman is often translated as “salary woman” or “office worker.” If you’re looking for professional life inspiration, that’s what to search for.
Nyangsoop is a South Korean vlogger who chronicles “homebody” life, with a big emphasis on cooking and enjoying the outdoors. If you’re dreaming of a country life, this is a great place to start. Visit the “small forest house” with Nyangsoop and enjoy the peaceful piano music in the background of this video as she makes tangerine compote.
As a bonus, lots of cow footage!
If you live on your own, South Korean vlogger Sueddu’s videos are full of inspiration for living a beautiful life solo. Her peaceful, introverted vlogs will leave you feeling uplifted and serene. Check out her morning routine in a minimal apartment with a view of the city skyline.
I first fell in love with Sueddu’s vlogs because of her tiny, fluffy dog (“Bebe”)—just like a live teddy bear!
Niko, a Japanese vlogger, has a beautiful and elegant space and lives a professional lifestyle. In this evening routine, she comes home from work late at 9:30 p.m. and recovers from a stressful day by taking a bath and cooking herself a full dinner from scratch!
I love the attitude that no matter how late it is and no matter how many things went wrong during the day, there’s still time to take care of yourself and have a beautiful evening.
“Let me tell you one of the reasons why you’re not happy right now” by South Korean vlogger haegreendal is one of the most beautiful videos on all of YouTube. Despite the slightly click-baity title, the video is a delight to watch, full of her peaceful reflections on the beauty of waiting. She chronicles a day with her son planting plants and enjoying cooking . . . all the while modeling what it’s like to enjoy life one moment at a time.
Haegreendal provides great inspiration for life as a young mother, chronicling her days in a beautiful space that is still in an urban environment, meanwhile clearly spending time in deep reflective thought. Her video “Even though you didn't wake up early, today is good” is another inspirational one.
Whether you’re going through a transitional period in life, in full swing with spring cleaning, or just longing for a new perspective and a glimpse of another culture, Japanese and South Korean silent vlogs are a great place to gather inspiration.
Now embarking upon the beautiful life I’d imagined, I’m glad I spent some time in their immersive world.