Thursday, August 4 2011

TV Japan, good and bad

On the whole, I’m glad that I hooked back up with Disk Network and subscribed to TV Japan, but only because my box has DVR functionality. If I were limited to what’s on when I’m home, it wouldn’t be worth the $25/month.

My goal was to listen to a lot more Japanese, and more importantly, to unexpected Japanese, delivered in a variety of ways. Because I’m incapable of ignoring human voices (which really sucks when you work in a cubicle…), I expected the constant exposure to tug at my brain a little, as I tried to understand it, and that’s what I’m getting.

In particular, because I’m generally not actively watching, I can’t anticipate the general category of phrases I’m going to hear. Maybe it’s a period drama with formal speech, maybe it’s a surly teenager griping, maybe it’s a detective grilling a suspect, etc. This has done a lot to break me of the habit of trying to analyze or translate sentences; either I understand it or I don’t. If I got it, I don’t have time to set up for the possible responses; all I can do is keep going until I end up baffled. This is the same approach that gets me through light novels, where if I stop too long to reason something out, I’m no longer reading. I’ve built myself a much stronger support system for the novels, but then, it’s simply harder to read the languange than it is to listen to it.

Things I skip:

  • children’s shows
  • anything with English, especially Japanese dubbed over still-audible English
  • any show where they frequently talk over music that has vocals (travel, soft news, talk shows, etc)
  • health, beauty, and exercise shows; they can be fun to look at, but the speech is deadly dull
  • large chunks of shows like Music Station; too much rap and hip-hop influence
  • most non-pop music shows, especially amateur singing
  • anime; they simply don’t run anything interesting
  • angsty teen school drama
  • stand-up comedy