Keeping A Special Place For English Entertainment

After just getting through discussing why you should say farewell to English, I would like to follow up that you don’t have to ban English entertainment from your life. JALUP is hardcore about full immersion, but face it, we’re all human, and sometimes we don’t want to give up our favorite TV shows or movies. We need that special time to just push off Japanese and remember who we are.

So is it is acceptable to break away every now and then and watch your favorite Western TV show? Yes. But, there are some guidelines to keep in mind to make sure that you aren’t significantly casting a negative shadow on your Japanese studies.

Scour All Available Alternatives

Before you resort to a slip away into English, you should first see if there is anything you can do to decrease or remove your cravings.

1. Find the Japanese dub

Most big TV shows and movies these days eventually get Japanese dubs. While sometimes it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year from its Western debut, think of how much motivation it is to watch your favorite series in Japanese. You will want to understand everything, especially if you are in the middle of a series, so you are going to feel the desire to spend that much more effort into improving your comprehension.

2. Find the Japanese sub and turn of the sound

This is more engaging than it probably sounds and Japanese subs (especially fan subs) come out at a much quicker pace than dubs. You can even add your own background music if you can’t stand the silence. Try it. Really.

Getting Your English Fix

Assuming you can’t accept any replacements:

1. Keep your English entertainment down to as little a possible. This means 2 to 3 shows a year that you follow and 1 or 2 movies.

2. Do not start watching new shows (unless they are dubs). Be happy with what shows you like now. When they end, no replacements. You shouldn’t be tempted by what you haven’t seen and don’t know about.

3. Avoid English binges. Sometimes watching an English show during your immersion phase can cause a sudden dam bursting where you end up watching a few more, and then a few more, and then before you know it, you’ve transported yourself to full “English immersion.”

4. Treat them as rewards. If you are going to watch your weekly episode, only do it after you finish a painful Japanese task that you have been pushing off (ex. a large back log of Anki reviews).

Know your self control

You know yourself best. Are you a “one-potato chip and you can be satisfied” person or are you a “must eat the whole bag, and possibly another” type. If you are the latter, take extra precautions.

A little English entertainment won’t kill you. It may keep you sane and give you the occasional release that you need. Don’t worry, you’re still hardcore.

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Keeping A Special Place For English Entertainment — 5 Comments

  1. What does one do when her husband only watches English tv?

    He’ll watch the occasional anime series/drama/movie in Japanese with me, but he’s really into English tv and will leave it on at night and during the weekends. I’m okay with the series we follow (like The Office or Alphas), but not for mindless watching. And it’s not for his immersion, just for interest.

    But I’ve been equally bad at this on my own behalf. We’ve tried to get into series, but lately I’ll just say, “Oh, I don’t feel like watching [anime series] tonight. I just want to turn on the TV.” Which is anti-productive to getting him to watch things in Japanese with me. This summer, we did really good with it and watched some DVDs of series and movies that I’ve had for years and haven’t seen in a long time.

    This Thanksgiving break, I should make it my goal to finish Kino no Tabi (I’m close to finishing it, so I want to get it done before starting new things) then start RTK and cut down on the English TV and start following Japanese series again with my husband. I do fine on my own. But when he comes home, it becomes practically all English. At least I’m doing well on my own, which takes up most of the day during week days.

  2. I sort of take the idea of “immersion” as being in Japan, and when I was in Japan I ran into a lot of English music. Which is the hardest part of keeping things only Japanese for me. There are bands that there just aren’t Japanese versions of… I mean, sometimes i can find cool covers of them buy random dudes on youtube, but it’s not the same. So I decided that I’ll pick a one or two CDs a month and have that one CD on my iPod, which is otherwise all Japanese. And with the amount of music I have and the fact that I rarely don’t just shuffle all songs, I barely run into the English tracks. Yet just having them on there satisfies my want for it.

  3. I’m a Prog Rock fan, and has only found a couple of Japanese Prog Rock band that I’ve liked (六合 (りくごう) and 四人囃子 (よにんばやし)). Well, I also listen to a few other Japanese bands as well, like ムック (MUCC) and Alhambra.

    This makes it hard to not listen to English music… It’s impossible to almost completely neglect your favourite genre of music just because of Japanese.

    I never really watch any English (language) TV shows anymore, except from when I’m watching it together with others. In fact, one of the last few times I watched an American show, there was some Japanese dialogue (a phone call, so nothing fancy). I fail to find any interesting J-dramas though – they all seems like high school/romance shows or ridiculous mistery shows… I do kind of like 日本人の知らない日本語 though. Any recommendation on crime/detective shows? “Slice of life” stuff doesn’t quite fit me…

    • I don’t really watch too many slice-of-life things either, I’m pretty into yakuza stuff. A few are: Tiger & Dragon, Ninkyo Helper, and My Boss My Hero. The last one there is a little slice-of-lifey here and there, but it’s not too much. Another good mystery one is TRICK.

  4. Personally I’m against this loss of cultural fluency. But then again, I don’t watch that much TV anyway. With the amount of TV most people watch, I suppose this is sound advise. As to dubs of movies and whatnot, I’m happy enough doing that for things I’ve seen before, but I’m learning Japanese to experience more culture in its original language context. It doesn’t make sense for me to remove my own language’s cultural product from it’s context.

    Just my feeling about it, this is closely tied to my very reasons for learning Japanese in the first place though. So it’s very personal to me. Certainly taking this position means slower progress in Japanese, but on my personal scale, that’s a trade off I’m making in full awareness of its consequence.

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