I was wondering is there any good anime/drama/music that would be good for a beginner to watch and listen to?
Is there anything that's made for beginners with english and hiragana subtitles, or music that's easy to understand?
it would be nice to find something like this so I can get an understanding of entertaining and casual speech as well, The only problem or maybe excerise well be that there might be more slang and such.
Myst-san, I always think any materials for kids are actually really good. If you don't have hesitation to use such materials, they really are effective and useful.
When I was in high school, I actually used Sesame Street to study English by myself. Easy words, people enunciate, no slang or corrupt language, good manner and some famous or "everyone knows" kind of music. That was a perfect material for me. After that, I also used some movies. We can usually find transcription with translation in bookshops, so I watched the same movie several times using transcription book. But I'm not too sure if you can find the same kind of books for Japanese films...
I don't recall any good TV shows, but luckily, we have thousands of "mukashi banashi" (old stories) in Japan and despite the dialect and "typical old people talking in written world", there could be many things you can learn from. If not this kind, any children's book could be also good.
We have many books, mangas, songs and so on introduced to other countries and there're always people who upload TV drama with subtitles (although many of them are Chinese or Korean). You might want to dig them a bit
I know this is an old thread but people always read through old posts so...
Chi's Sweet Home is an anime with episodes about 3 minutes in length, aimed at children and the language is simple. My only complaint is that sometimes Chi isn't very clear when he (maybe she? It's a cat) speaks. There's things like "I want to go home" and "I'm going to the pet store to buy cat litter" and so on. That may help!
I also enjoy watching Disney movies in Japanese - Especially ones that I know very well in English, because I already know the story and what is being said, so it's good to see how it has been translated.
To get an idea of culture and language, I'd recommend anime like Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star. Sometimes the language can be a little tough, but you might find you can pick things up easily.
To improve your reading skills, try picking up a copy of Momotarou or something! It helped me lots. It is a well known children's story, and I think it was even mentioned in the newbie series when somebody is crying over how they thought it was sad.
More than anything for getting a feel for the language, if you like anime or things like that, really listen! It's easy if there are subtitles to tune out the audio and just read it, but really listening to how it flows, seeing if you can pick out words or grammar here and there, like the copula, spotting verb forms, and so on, is great fun!