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Japanese Movies to help Learn Japanese for Mid-Beginner

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JeanOfmArc
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Japanese Movies to help Learn Japanese for Mid-Beginner

Postby JeanOfmArc » September 7th, 2009 9:03 pm

Sorry for the long subject line!

Basically, I've been studying Japanese for a bit now, though so I could probably pass the JLPT4 test (though I haven't actually done it). I live in Aomori, Japan, and would like to watch Japanese movies or shows to improve my Japanese.

However, I've been having a bit of hard time finding the "right" one. At first I went and got some Naruto, but whenever it is hard to hear EXACTLY what they are saying, Naruto doesn't seem to have any subtitles to check.

Then I tried Ponyo, but there isn't a heck of a lot of talking in that, and I understand most of it as-is, since it's pretty simple.

Then I was recommended Death Note, and although I can follow what's happening since I've seen the movie, the speed of the speaking and amount of unknown grammar structures and words and such makes it very hard to follow, even with subtitles.

I was wondering if anyone out there wants to share a nice balance between easy enough to follow, having subtitles to double-check what you're unsure of, and not so hard that a middle-beginner (or whatever I'd be considered) would stumble the whole way.

Sorry, I know I'm asking for a lot, but any suggestions would be VERY useful for a lot of people, I think.

Thanks a lot!

Jean Of mArc

Belton
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Postby Belton » September 8th, 2009 6:21 am

Try Azumanga Daioh
I recommend it because the episodes are short, 5 mins. However there are a fair amount of puns that'll breeze by if they aren't explained.
It's fun and not too far-fetched.
Another anime with short episodes is Ghibli's My Neighbours the Yamadas. This has Japanese and English subs if you buy it in Japan.

Films are difficult as you've found out. The language and the speed make it difficult to understand and learn from. Without backup (transcripts, questions, explanations, etc.) a commercial film is difficult to easily use for learning purposes I'd say.

I would watch films subtitled in English, and enjoy them first as a film, maybe get a feel for the overall rhythms. Then return to scenes and try them without subtitles. Ideally you'd have Japanese subtitles as well.
I'd also recommend TV series and more everyday themed films over Samurai or Yakuza flicks and anime, in that the dialogue has more chance of being natural.
Nor would I try to understand everything. A very useful skill is to be able to figure out what is going on when you don't know everything.

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JeanOfmArc
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Postby JeanOfmArc » September 8th, 2009 9:09 am

Thanks for your great response, Belton! I didn't know about 5-minute shows, but you're right, that would be a good place to start.

I will look into "Azumanga Daioh", "Ghibli's My Neighbours the Yamadas". Also, I'll probably only go for films if I know they are reasonably well-paced for the non-native listener, like Ponyo was.

"Nor would I try to understand everything. A very useful skill is to be able to figure out what is going on when you don't know everything." Haha, that's a good point, and that's what I spend most of my days here in Japan doing already!! :)

Anyhow, I'll let you know how it works out. If anyone else has any additional suggestions, feel free!

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Postby Jessi » September 8th, 2009 10:05 am

JeanOfmArc,

You're living in Japan, right? Then (hopefully) you have access to one of the best resources of all - Japanese TV! Why don't you try watching some kid-oriented or family-themed shows? I'd recommend anime like Sazae-san and Doraemon - they focus on everyday life and are really cute and entertaining :) If you'd like to know when they come on, let me know where in Japan you live and I can let you know.
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JeanOfmArc
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Postby JeanOfmArc » September 8th, 2009 11:24 am

Hey Jessi!

Thanks for the suggestion! I do have some channels on my Japanese TV, and I do put it on children's shows pretty often. The only down-side with that is that it is hard to rewind or go back to see something again, which is very helpful when trying to learn what's going on. I often miss things, even if there's a word I know, so that's really helpful... which is why I think I'll head over to Tsutaya and get a video rental membership!

By the way, is there any way for my to check the schdule of Japanese Television for up here in Aomori to see when they are showing anime and such?

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Postby Jessi » September 8th, 2009 11:49 am

No problem! :wink:

How good are you with kanji and stuff? Yahoo Japan is great for looking up TV listings :D

http://tv.yahoo.co.jp/listings/?area=ao ... i=1&page=0

For example, clicking on this will show you the TV schedule for what's playing this very moment. You can also look at the schedule up to a week in advance. The shows with a yellow background are anime! You can also insert the name of a show in the search field at the top and it will tell you the next time that show comes on the air. For example, doing a search for Sazae-san let me know that the next time it's on is Saturday evening, 17:00~17:30, on ATV Aomori :)

This site is super useful once you know your way around it!
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Postby Belton » September 8th, 2009 7:17 pm

Another possibility is YouTube.
These lighthearted reports are usually brief and have lots of on screen captions. Sometimes you can find the items subtitled in English as well.

Kids going shopping
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5k5XTZy0rA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7L6xkpnYc4

Harry Potter fan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ABKwflFZ0

Pankun and James
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... 0073BB8849

Zombie Vs Kids
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBD2dE4pyvM

Japan Probe often has links to these sorts of video
http://www.japanprobe.com/

I also noticed today that a lot of Azumanga is on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... 430B82EEC5

I was trying to remember the title Sazae-san
It's on You Tube too
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... 193A010E01

I don't know if it's on TV anymore but Childrens shows (morning on NHK)
like Pitakora Suitchi are good. Again short items. Often repetitive.

kageri
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Postby kageri » September 8th, 2009 9:19 pm

hey JeanOfmArc,

if you go with Azumanga, I also recommend: Charady no Joke na Mainichi
It airs since april and has, as the titles says, each day a joke(about 3 min) about the habits of other cultures around the world. I think you can find it at niconico (http://www.nicovideo.jp/)
The level is medium, as far as I can see :)

JeanOfmArc
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Postby JeanOfmArc » September 9th, 2009 10:36 am

Wow, thanks for all the ideas everyone!!! I've got lots to go on now!!

Also, last night I headed to the Daiso. There, a found a collection of Children's books, as well as a set of DVDs which are movie versions of the same stories. They are narrated, but they are also animated. I was expecting them to be very easy, but there is a surprising amount of text in them and a lot of the words in them are not everyday Japanese either, since they are more like fairy tales.

I will check out all your suggestions though. Thanks again for the help!!

Jean Of mArc

mieth
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Postby mieth » September 13th, 2009 7:51 pm

I recommend watching american dramas in japanese. Almost all of them have subtitles in either english or japanese plus dubbing. I have really been enjoying prison break and heroes in Japanese.


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