If you read Japanese Level Up, you’ve probably seen a few posts that encourage discussions about what kind of fun study materials you’ve been reading/watching/listening to over the past month. Other language blogs that I read have also started to participate, giving me lots of great resources to find new and interesting content (anyone been to Nayugen yet? If you like Japanese media, you gotta check it out). Anyway, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and share a couple things I’ve been using to learn Japanese.
Priceless is about Kindaichi Fumio, an ordinary salary man whose life gets flipped upside down. His superiors craft a devious plot to frame him for a crime he has no memory of, and he is forced to leave his position. Eventually he meets two children in a park who teach him how to get by without depending on money. What I like most about this Jdrama is Kindaichi’s positive and carefree attitude. He doesn’t let anything knock him down as he continues to push forward.
I’ve been watching this with Japanese subtitles, focusing all my efforts at keeping up with the text and following the plot. So far it’s been pretty successful, which is a huge motivation boost for me. Being able to understand Japanese media without relying on translations was one of the biggest reasons I started learning Japanese. Now that I’m approaching that point, it’s only making me want to watch and read more!
But seriously, who doesn’t love pokemon? I managed to find the Japanese version of the original series without any subtitles, so I threw every episode in a playlist and set it to shuffle anytime I’m at home. Of course there’s the nostalgia factor that keeps me hooked, but Pokemon is also just a great children’s show. It will likely remain in my immersion environment set up for quite awhile.
100s – sekai no flower road
This is probably my favorite Japanese band/album right now. 100s is a great pop/rock group formed around the singer/songwriter Nakamura Kazuyoshi. Great band. Great sound. I usually listen to 世界の私から about once a day. I would highly encourage everyone to check them out, even if you don’t like Japanese music.
Detective Conan is a insanely popular manga/anime series that has over 800 chapters of manga and over 600 episodes of anime. Don’t forget about the 16 movies that have been released, with a 17th coming out on April 20, 2013. Don’t get too excited though, because I’ve only read the very first volume of manga. I read through awhile back, highlighting vocabulary that I didn’t know. Now I’m going back through it again and looking up words that seem interesting and adding them to my ever-growing vocab anki deck.
I really like Detective Conan for a number of reasons. First, I’ve fallen in love with the characters almost instantly. The comedic timing is perfect, and the dynamic between all the different characters is hilarious. Second, there’s furigana over a lot of the kanji. This makes searching for vocab super easy. And third, it’s a detective book! They’re always solving mysterious cases, which keeps me engaged with the story because I always want to find out what happens next (even though I already know what happens).
Of course everyone recommends this as a good introduction to manga if you’re learning Japanese, and I’m no different. I powered through 8 volumes during the Tadoku challenge and have read two more since then. Yotsubato is a fantastic slice-of-life manga that follows Yotsuba and her father through the everyday interactions they have with their neighbors, going shopping, going to the zoo, etc. Yotsuba is an amazingly adorable character who is always full of energy and asks lots of questions about what is going on around her. This is great for us language learners because we get easy to read explanations about everyday stuff. If you’re learning Japanese and have a basic grasp of grammar/vocab, I would dive right into Yotsubato and just suck up as much information as you can. I certainly wasn’t reading at 100% comprehension (nor should you expect that) but the more I read, the easier it was to keep reading.