Want variety in listening to real people speak real Japanese? I introduce to you twitcasting.tv! If you haven’t heard about it before, it’s a popular live streaming site. The concept is not really new since there are other sites like stickam.com and livestream.com but somehow this site caught my attention more when it came to practicing my listening and reading with real Japanese people.
What can you find at twitcasting.tv?
This site is where people can do live video or radio streams. The ‘CASter’ doesn’t see a list of who is watching or listening but there is a counter and people can comment. The site is popular not only for Japanese users but also Spanish, Brazilians some Koreans. English speakers are rare but they’re up there occasionally. You can easily sign up if you already have a Twitter account (and recently the Book of Face). No worries if you don’t have either as you can view without signing up. Commenting is not required although some CASters prefer comments. The site also has an iphone app so if you really enjoy the site you can carry it with you. When someone is the CASter they get rankings. People can send cute animated gifts and a ‘continue coin’. Each CAS is 30 minutes. If viewers like the CASter they can give continue coins to extend the CAS. If the CASter doesn’t get any then he will have to restart. It’s just a small interruption so it doesn’t matter if you get the coins or not.
How you use it
I use this site mainly for listening. Although I live in Japan and can hear real conversations anywhere, I am also an English teacher who listens to broken English for more than 8 hours a day. Therefore I tune into some random streams at home when I don’t want to listen to the TV. I also use the site for reading. There are lots of viewers who comment and use a lot of colloquial expressions. Depending on the CASter, the comments go by fast so you will improve your reading speed. I use the plugin Rikaikun (for Chrome browser) to mouse over kanji I can’t read. I sometimes write my own comments but I’m more interested in what the CASter is saying. Although it can be exciting to write something since most CASters read the comments out loud and then reply.
Choosing who to watch/listen to
I love to watch イケメン (ikemen) or good looking guys and listen to pleasing voices. I don’t really like hearing high-pitched tones so I avoid them. Some girls who do live streams do things that disinterest me (like putting on makeup) so I mainly watch people who just talk to the camera. You have to discover what kind of material you like best.
Sometimes there are CASters who do all-nighters. One night I left a CAS on and went to sleep only to wake up and find out at 9am he was still going. I’m kind of curious what he was able to talk about for 8 hours . . .
Some ways to use this site beyond just listening practice
– While I hardly use this site to write comments, I recommend anyone who wants to practice their writing to do so.
– If you are an Anki lover, you can copy and paste phrases and words people often use into your deck.
– If you are a Twitter fanatic and use twitter to practice Japanese, this site is perfect in finding real people to follow. I often don’t know who to follow on Twitter because I don’t know if the person is a bot or just plain boring. Twitcasting can help you learn a lot more about the person. Even if you don’t understand what is being said, you can get the vibe of a person by how they sound. I’ve befriended two people from twitcasting and we often tweet each other.
– Start your own stream regardless of your level. Anyone who feels confident enough to try a live Japanese CAS, by all means try!
You get to watch and listen to unrehearsed, casual Japanese. You can learn slang, hear many accents from different areas of Japan, be blasted by kanji and other common words, as well as experience the 絵文字(emoji) trend, which I consider a part of Japanese (internet) language. Add the comments feature and the ability to create your own stream, and you are practicing all four Japanese skills.
A few useful things to know
– CAS: stream
-“____CAS”: name of stream ex. 寝る[neru]CAS (sleep stream), 乾杯[kanpai]CAS (drinking stream), ect
– 初見[shoken]: literally means; seeing for the first time, first sight. But basically used like はじめまして[hajimemashite]. This words is used frequently「初見です！」
Be prepared to hear broken English if you type in English or if you have your picture as your icon and clearly look non-Japanese. Since you are here to study Japanese, make sure to steer away from this.
Happy CAS viewing! Maybe you’ll see me in a future stream? Or maybe I’ll see you?
Follow more of Yana’s experiences in Osaka and her Japanese studying techniques on Twitter.
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