I’m back in Japan for a big part of the summer. The jet lag hasn’t hit yet, my wife is busy, so I’m in my home away from home—the Aprecio manga kissa.
I managed to stay in a Japanese bubble for a large part of the trip. I recently bought an iPad mini. Part of my ‘packing’ involved loading the iPad with Japanese music and podcasts. It was kind of like stepping into a time machine because my computer loaded in a lot of podcasts that I hadn’t listened to since 2009.
One that I particularly enjoyed was G+ 英語館 (Eigokan) a play on the Japanese word for movie theatre, ‘Eigakan’ (映画館). This is a program that uses movies to teach English to Japanese viewers. Each episode concentrates on two English phrases from the movie. A bilingual English speaker explains in English and Japanese. What’s nice is that even though it is geared towards learning English, a lot of the explanation is in Japanese so I get exposure to Japanese phrases. The biggest selling point is that the episodes were interesting enough to break up the times when I woke up during the flight.
The Youtube clip has a lot more English because it includes an interview with Vigo Mortenson. However, as I watched this, I realized I have made some progress with my Japanese. Teaching and raising children has been intense so my Japanese “study” usually consists of 30 minutes of intentional study in the mornings, followed by little bursts of immersion when I can get it throughout the day through music, etc. It’s not necessarily “All Japanese All the Time.” However, I am the living embodiment of AJATT’s article, “Stop Trying to Do Things Well: Getting Over Zero.” Khatz writes:
Say no to 0. Do something. Anything. Any. Thing. Now. Play that Japanese. But don’t play Japanese that’s good for you. Don’t play something you “should” learn. Don’t should all over yourself — you do not have mental or physical bandwidth to do the right thing, let alone a right thing or even a good thing, all you can do is something. Don’t even bother to make sure the volume is up all the way; don’t bother make sure it loops forever; just play it. Now.
So yes, Eigokan had a lot of English. But I was tired, bored, and on a thirteen hour flight. This little podcast was entertaining enough to keep me interested in between heavy naps. As I watched, I noticed myself doing a couple of things:
- checking the Japanese subtitles to see how they were translated
- waiting anxiously for the hosts Japanese explanation of phrases that I already knew well in English
During my time here in Japan there are actually a lot of things that I have to do in English: writing projects, courses I have to plan etc. Luckily I am in an environment where I am constantly “Getting Over Zero.”
Jet-laggedly yours, Samurai Juan.