Both in speech and writing, I have often joked that the secret to learning Japanese to fluency, is to turn on the TV at 9am and turn it off two years later.
Until now, that has been (admittedly) somewhat difficult and expensive to do outside of Japan. Not impossible. Just hard and pricey. A lot of rentals, DVDs, crappy cable (I’m sorry, but the “TV Japan” package that cable operators in Europe, North America and other regions offer is utter schyte), fly-by-night YouTube channels, and shady P2P file-sharing.
Well, that shiz has changed, motherlover. Because there’s this thing called the Internet. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Hey, I didn’t think it was gonna catch on either, but it seems to be here to stay for a while.
So, like, these people aren’t paying me money to say this. But do I care? Nope. Because their service is so awesome, I would practically pay for the right to advertise it. That’s just how insanely great it is.
It’s called Japan Net TV. And it appears to run out of Australia (not that that matters). And it is the dog’s bollocks.
Now, you have to be outside Japan (either physically or by VPN) to use it. Inside Japan, like, just get cable like a normal person, silly. But not everybody in the world who loves Japanese is in Japan. Plus, no self-respecting minimalist wants 17 set-top-boxes and 54 gigantic remotes and a snakepit of wires and a gigantic screen that gathers dust because it’s too freaking heavy to clean the backside of that bastard. So, yeah. Japan Net TV. They have a bunch of different options. The best bang for your buck, however, is the so-called “Multi-OS”, browser-based version:
Multi OS Japan IPTV [Japan IPTV] goo.gl/ZwcQ9f
…rather than the app-based versions with swankier interfaces (like this one: JAPAN TV (75Ch) for Android, Windows, iOS & Mac [JapanTV_APK] goo.gl/Hh74rx ). Why? Because the browser-based version not only lets you see live Japanese TV (terrestrial, satellite and cable — including premium channels) as well as recordings of the last 7 days of TV (again, all them channels), but also allows you to download TV shows, for your repeated viewing pleasure and true time-shifting goodness.
And that includes TV shows from Star Channel 3, the Dubbed Hollywood Movie Channel ([STAR3|吹き替え専門 ハリウッド映画を中心に、洋画を見るなら映画情報満載【スターチャンネル】] goo.gl/H5qbm5 ). So, yeah, you can actually download you some dubbed movies. Plus, Star Channel 3 do a great job of, like, showing multi-film series (franchises?), so, like, you’ll get a all of “Star Wars” or all of “Terminator” in one go.
Did I mention you get sports channels, too? Don’t even get me started on how good watching sports commentary is for your language skills (very. It’s very good. It’s like linguistic growth hormone. If it were a drug, it would’ve been banned already). I say “so, yeah” a lot, don’t I?
To be fair, though, the app-based version (JAPAN TV (75Ch) for Android, Windows, iOS & Mac [JapanTV_APK] goo.gl/Hh74rx ) offers more channels, including weird specialty channels that are long-time personal favorites of mine, like the Period Drama Channel ([時代劇専門チャンネル｜刺激、感激、時代劇。時代劇専門チャンネル] goo.gl/uHNBz8 ) and the Go & Shogi Channel ([囲碁・将棋チャンネルホームページ] www.igoshogi.net/ ).
But, again, the browser-based version (Multi OS Japan IPTV [Japan IPTV] goo.gl/ZwcQ9f), due to its killer download feature, remains nothing at which to sniff. So, yeah, give it a try. They don’t offer refunds (because they actually have to pay Japanese cable companies like SkyPerfect (SUKAPAA! [衛星放送のスカパー！] goo.gl/dbx6Ha ) for each subscription they set up), but they do offer trial subs, so you can try it out for three days or seven days before committing to a full month’s worth of membership.
That said, no money you spend on Japanese TV will ever be wasted. It’s all part of your education. It’s all awesome, even (no, especially) the infomercials. It’s all part of your virtual Japanese childhood. Go for it!
What do you think? Have you tried this yet? Have you tried something else? How do you get Japanese sounds and images piped into your life? Share!