I'm Shy So I Beatboxed To Strangers In Japan For Money

By Tony • November 2, 2016

I've been doing social challenges in order to get over my shyness. The other day I had an idea: what if I approach strangers on the street here in Japan and try to sell them one minute beatboxing performances for 100 yen (one US dollar)?

Altogether I approached 13 different groups and I had no idea it was going to go this well. I recorded it all, so here is a video containing the highlights.

What made this particularly challenging was that there was two fears I was facing: one, the fear of performing in front of others (I am not a good beatboxer at all) and two, the fear of my offer being rejected and me being judged.

As you might expect, I was nervous as hell. My voice was shaking, and my Japanese was coming out slow, contrived, and terrible. I got many rejections ranging from the people almost buying in but eventually noping out, to people not even stopping to hear my out.

Out of all the rejections, some really AWESOME things happened.

A couple I approached was eager to hear me beatbox. So after I collected 100 yen, the performance began. The dude starts bobbing his head and is looking like he wants to throw down as well. I tell him to go for it, and he starts free styling over my beat! Completely unexpected.

I stopped a couple of college girls, who where super giggly and seemed really intrigued by the whole experience. They gave me 100 yen and I booted up the "beatbox robot". Afterward, they thanked me enthusiastically and told me it was super fun.

Then, the best thing happened. I saw a dude walking with a ukulele strapped to his back. Differing from the original challenge slightly, I walked up and Asked him if he would like to do a short, impromptu collaboration. He was like, hell yeah!(guy had amazing English) and we did a short performance right on the street.

Actually, because I was just messing around with beatboxing (I don't actually consider myself a "beatboxer"), I felt embarrassed beatboxing with this guy in a performance. His ukulele and vocals were really really good. He also thanked me after for letting him practice a little because he actually had a performance in a few hours in Tokyo that night. We exchanged contact info and talked about hanging out again soon. Great experience for both of us.


This was challenge was super tough, but I'm really glad I went through with it. A lot of cool and unexpected things happened, and I even made some new friends. As I've been doing these series of challenges I call "social skydiving", at first the challenges were more "me" centered, but as I've been progressing, I've been naturally moving toward challenges that are more value offering such as this one. I think that's the nature of doing challenges like this and overcoming shyness and social anxiety -- the more the fear you lose, the more you discover the value you have to offer.


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