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.