…watching movies in Japanese is so boring when you can’t understand more than a few words or an occasional simple sentence. Even if you’ve seen the movie in a language you can understand before.
And just leaving them on in the background and doing something else is so distracting and gets annoying after a while. The same, sadly, goes for podcasts or ebooks.
I used to feel this exact same way. What changed the experience for me was a realization. I’m not quite sure what the realization was, in that I can’t verbalize it well, but basically when you’re watching stuff in a language you barely understand/don’t understand well, the entire experience is different. I had to change the way I watched movies.
Rather than just kinda passively stare at the screen and let the story and dialogue over me, when I watch L2/L3 movies it becomes an opportunity just to people-watch. See how they act, their facial expressions, intonation, stuff in the background. I’m explaining this terribly but I kinda just take it like I’m observing another world. Frankly, I don’t really care what the story is. I’m just trying to get used to all of this new stuff. 「Hey cool explosions.」 「Hey cute/hot girls.」 「Hey cool-looking guys fighting.」 「Hey that was funny; I don’t know why but I’m laughing anyway.」 Whatever yo.
From what I recall, this was kinda how I watched stuff when I was a kid. I think one important AJATT principle is to, as much as possible, mentally return to childhood. That has helped me more than anything else but it’s such a personal thing and so hard to verbalize…which is, I think, why I haven’t seen anyone else try to write about it. But the way I see it is kinda like…each new language you learn is a chance to sorta relive childhood. While your Chinese/Japanese/French/whatever self grows. Luckily your other nationalities grow a lot faster than your native one. ^^
P.S. Another thing that helps is to put all your movies/tv shows into a giant playlist and just have it playing all the time. If they’re actual dvds (hah) rip them. When you shift your attention to what’s playing, just keep hitting the skip button until you hit something that can hold your interest at that point. If you skip into a long video file, keep skipping a few minutes at a time through the video if need be. Screw continuity.
Also, screw trying to figure out what’s going on unless you REALLY want to. most of the time it’s just a pain in the a$$ and makes you want to stop watching entirely and run back to Englishland where things make sense.
The funny thing is, you’ll find that language isn’t actually necessary to get the gist of what’s going on, in terms of character interaction at least. This also requires some skill on the part of the production. If it’s a bunch of people siting and talking without much emotion, 1 good luck with that. But that’s a boring movie in any language.
Also, don’t automatically assume your tastes will be consistent between languages. In English, I love science fiction and crime shows and don’t really care for sitcoms. In Japanese, I’m all about sitcoms and character drama. YMMV.
Final tip: if your reading is better than your listening, Japanese subtitles 2 are extremely useful.
AJATTeers are way more articulate than I am. It’s hard for me to use more than the simple English, so I just get angry and yell and fake swear. Thanks, ブライ and ahndy 😀 .