New space tourist videos show Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa's life in orbit

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (left) with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin aboard the International Space Station.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (left) with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin aboard the International Space Station. (Image credit: Uber Eats)

Yusaku Maezawa is having a lot of fun showing off what life is like on the International Space Station.

The Japanese billionaire has been sharing clips of his orbital experiences on the International Space Station via YouTube, showcasing everything from how to perform ordinary activities in microgravity to the clothing he is wearing to the amazing view out the window 

Maezawa, video producer Yozo Hirano and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin arrived at the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Dec. 8. The three space travelers will return to Earth Sunday night (Dec. 19) and you can follow their landing live online.

Maezawa paid his own way and that of Hirano, booking their trip through the Virginia company Space Adventures. (Misurkin didn't have to pay; he works for Roscosmos, Russia's federal space agency.)

You can see all of Maezawa's videos via his mission's YouTube page here (opens in new tab). The first video below shows off the toilet that's available on the Russian side of the space station. Maezawa gives a thorough explanation of how to manage "No. 1" using a hose and plenty of sanitation wipes. He also gives advice about how to avoid unpleasant smells and messes. (If you don't speak Japanese, turn on the subtitles to see the English translation.)

Photos: The first space tourists

In another video, Maezawa shows the view from one of the Russian modules. (He's unable to get to the Cupola on the American side of the space station unless he's accompanied by a cosmonaut, and time in orbit is precious for professional astronauts, whose daily schedules are usually packed.)

"I'm actually right beside this window that shows Earth very clearly," Maezawa said in the video. "There's a lot of backlight, but can you see? I think a lot of people ask, 'Is it actually that blue?' or 'Is it really round?' but as you can see, it really is round and it really is blue. Truly beautiful."

Next up is a five-minute clip showing just how complicated it is to brush one's teeth in space. "I'm the type that uses a lot," Maezawa jokes while squirting toothpaste carefully on his toothbrush. While his mouth is still full, he realizes that he forgot to prepare a wet washcloth to help clean up afterwards, which induces some fun adjustments on-camera. We'll let you watch the clip so as not to spoil the surprise.

There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the microgravity experience, as another clip shows. Maezawa promises at first to float quietly and "not move a single finger," which actually induces a bit of drift due to air currents passing through the space station. 

After keeping his eyes closed, the new spaceflyer opens them and has a moment of confusion: "I have no idea what direction I'm facing right now," he says, which quickly prompts a reflection on the challenges of humans adapting to space.

This next video is a discussion of the patches on Maezawa's flight suit and some of the companies that helped him earn the money he used to buy his way into space.

Here we learn a little more about various items of clothing Maezawa brought with him on his orbital journey.

And this clip shows the joys and challenges of taking photos while aboard a moving spaceship. It sounds like Maezawa managed to get great views of Manhattan in his long-lens camera.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace