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    Immersion Media: What To Do When You Run Out Of Stuff to Watch and Listen To

    November 7, 2012
    By

    You’re not broken, the method is. Thus said Khatzumoto, once not long ago.

    But does that apply to immersion media? Is the media broken?
    Short answer: No.

    This is not something I recommend you do unless you already know enough Japanese to fully understand it, but I actually stopped watching all TV, Japanese included a while ago. It’s not like I gave up glowing screens altogether, I mean, I still watch TV shows on DVD, but except for playing Cartoon Network (Japan) in the background, TV isn’t happening for me and hasn’t been for few years now. And even the CN I haven’t turned on in 3 or 4 months.

    So what?

    Well…I notice lately that a lot of the Japanese stuff I share in terms of music, anime and TV shows is stuff that I watched when I was in college. Bands I knew back in college. And that’s nice, but it’s getting to have been an extremely long time ago now. Not geologically, but…you get the picture.

    The typical YouTube commenter-level response to this is to say something to the effect of “they don’t make ‘em like they used to”; “I wish we could go back to the 90s when music didn’t suck”. But I don’t think that’s true at all.

    In every age and era, Sturgeon’s Law 1 has applied 2. It’s just that the passing of years creates a buttload of confirmation bias, because only the things that were worth keeping survive the passage of years. Movie stars weren’t better back in the day; movies weren’t better back in the day; it’s just that we only remember the good ones.

    1970s music wasn’t any better than 1990s or 2000s or 2010s music; it’s just that we only keep playing the same couple dozen or so songs of the 1970s that transcend time, the very crème de la crème, and then we hold these 20 or so 1970s songs that didn’t suck and line them up against the hundreds of sucky songs that came out this year, and convince ourselves that we’re making a fair comparison.

    Well, we’re not. The 70s and every decade before and after it had and will have its trash, but the only trash we ever see is current, contemporary trash because we’re still actively in the process of filtering it out. You can’t compare a room you’ve finished tidying to a room you’re still working on and go: “they don’t make rooms like they used to”. I mean, you can, but it’s unfair and unreasonable.

    If you think about it, this applies to your English versus your Japanese as well. Your English-language persona is a house you’ve been building and extending for a long time. Your Japanese one is still under construction. Of course it feels cold and Spartan in comparison, but that’s not Japanese’s fault, it’s just the nature of…construction.

    Similarly, anime hasn’t stopped being good. Japanese hip-hop hasn’t stopped being good. And Japanese hasn’t become boring for you. You’re just not exposing yourself to enough stuff. You’re not bored of Japanese, you’re bored of the stuff you have.

    So, my most recent solution for this feeling of “there’s nothing to watch or listen to” has been (wait for it)…review websites. I feel guilty writing to you about this because it’s once of those things that’s like “duh”. It’s so painfully straightforward that it doesn’t seem like it would need saying. But if experience has told me anything, it’s that the very things that seem plainly obvious to one person are a revelatory kick in the nuts to another.

    Case in point: watching American movies dubbed into Japanese was an obvious choice for me; I knew it was cool; I knew it would work; I knew it would be awesome. But it appears to have never occurred to 99.9% of the gaijin in Japan, even those who are more or less actively trying to get used to Japanese. Ditto leaving the TV running all day and all night.

    So, with all the bloviation and discussion out of the way, here are some review websites 3 you might want to look into next time you’re feeling at a loss for media to consume:

    Notes:

    1. It even applies to my beloved Cartoon Network; for every minute of an amazing show like The Amazing World of Gumball there are 100 minutes of some ridiculous filler content like those crappy “classic” cartoons that weren’t cool 50 years ago and aren’t cool now
    2. There’s a joke in here somewhere for the attentive
    3. Yes, this is the answer to the question suggested by the post title…took a while, huh? Yeah…bite me! :P … No, don’t bite me; that’s just unhygienic.
    4. What kind of jerk qualifies a compliment? The Khatzumoto kind….
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    28 Responses to Immersion Media: What To Do When You Run Out Of Stuff to Watch and Listen To

    1. Jeff on November 8, 2012 at 09:08

      I almost passed out when I realized that all of these websites are in English! And in the post after one saying that L1 subtitles are not the devil nonetheless. I like the new laid-back Khatzumoto. :P

      • agentxjp on November 8, 2012 at 12:59

        The ‘jatt has always been a 90% English place.

        • Matt on November 8, 2012 at 13:19

          I think ‘jatt makes an excellent verb, e.g. “What are you doing in there?!” “Leave me alone, Ma! I’m ‘jattin!”

    2. Strawberry Vibe on November 9, 2012 at 08:01

      I think there are some interesting parallels to this and a recent philosophy switch I had…

      For a while, it had been my quest to find really awesome and engaging anime to watch. Reason being that anime I really enjoyed in the past (FMA Brotherhood anyone?) kept me glued to my computer monitor for hours on end. Naturally, I thought that if I could find more anime like that, it would help with my immersion.

      However, oddly enough the opposite started becoming true. A little while ago, I came across Sword Art Online. Throughout the days until I became up to date with the series, I would catch myself thinking, “should I watch the next episode now? Nah I’ve got other stuff to do – I better save it for later”. Simply because SAO was/is so great, it actually was preventing me from watching anime.

      Either way, I’ve been now on the quest for mildly entertaining series to watch throughout the day out of the corner of my eye while I busy myself with work… thanks for the links, I’ll surely put them to use :)

      • agentxjp on November 9, 2012 at 08:12

        I’m insulted that you would compare Hype Art Online to FMA Brotherhood. The former is childish, plot-less, and is filled with Deus ex Machina and cliches.

        Really D class stuff.

        • Strawberry Vibe on November 9, 2012 at 13:29

          To each their own my friend, the path to immersion is wide enough for us all to walk. For what it’s worth, I think FMAB is better than SAO (the series isn’t complete yet, but I differ…) In any event, D class material or not, it’s 100% Japanese, and that’s my main concern right now :)

        • narcobean on November 9, 2012 at 17:32

          • agentxjp on November 9, 2012 at 18:02

            @Nacrobean,

            Not quite; the “it’s just your opinion” is a cop-out. Even from an objective perspective if you were to create a linear ranking (that considers all other things equal to prevent transparency) with 0 logical holes being A and 100 logical holes being F it would still come out with a D.

            My critiques of it aren’t opinions as those flaws I pointed out either exist or don’t exist. I never directly stated what my opinion of the series is unless you mean the arbitrary ranking I threw out at the end which was based on the general idea that the less unintentionally logically incoherent it is the lower a tier of literature it is; a.k.a not my personal opinion.

            My person opinion of the series is it was lukewarmly enjoyable solely because I liked the visuals.

            • narcobean on November 9, 2012 at 18:36

              None of what you said is anything but your opinion, actually. It was your opinion that Strawberry shouldn’t compare the 2 shows (he didn’t compare them at all… read his post again).

              Everything that follows is simply you trying to back up your opinion of SAO by making up some ‘ranking system’, and pointing out why ‘flaws’ make your opinion ‘truth’.

              Fact: Sword Art Online and FMA Brotherhood are both Cartoons, created for entertainment.

              Opinion: I’m insulted that you would compare Hype Art Online to FMA Brotherhood.

              Opinion: Really D class stuff.

              So, yeah. That’s just like, your opinion, Man =)

              • agentxjp on November 9, 2012 at 22:21

                False. A show containing or not containing Traits X, Y, Z isn’t not my opinion. This is the core aspect of the discussion; the other things were fluff.

                Fact: Sword Art Online has a significant amount of cliches going by the standard general English definition.

                Fact: Sword Art Online has numerous plot holes given the standard English definitions.

                Fact: Your post has several instances of back-pedaling.

                As for the rest I’ve already addressed it; comments like “D class” logically follow this, however the factual part is existence or lack of existence of traits X, Y, and Z. I’m objectively right, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

                So, yeah. That’s just like, your cop-out, man. =)

                • Chagami on November 9, 2012 at 22:59

                  Fact: agentxjp misread what Strawberry wrote and said Strawberry compared FMAB to SAO
                  Fact: agentxjp doesn’t fully understand narcobean’s comments and covers up by saying he’s back-pedaling
                  Fact: agentxjp mirrored “So, yeah. That’s just like, your opinion, man. =)” with “So, yeah. That’s just like, your cop-out, man. =)” because s/he missed the reference to the Big Lebowski clip

                  …therefore…

                  Fact: agentxjp is a loud mouth who isn’t actually paying attention to what others say and is just trying to make sure her/his opinions are being heard by getting into petty arguments about anime.

                  If you disagree with that logic, then you disagree with your entire argument.

                  • agentxjp on November 12, 2012 at 13:08

                    0/10

                    Keep the tears coming. I’ll be waiting for a coherent argument that addresses at least one thing I’ve said.

                    • Chagami on November 12, 2012 at 13:35

                      You don’t understand what people are saying to you? Sorry guy, I’m not going to re-phrase everything for you in smaller words just so you’ll find it coherent.

                      • narcobean on November 12, 2012 at 14:44

                        don’t confuse him with the facts… he knows he’s right!

                      • agentxjp on November 13, 2012 at 00:43

                        You’ve resorted to personal attacks to substitute your inability to come up with a counter argument.

                        Sorry guy, though I do find your dying screams enjoyable.

                • コーリー on November 10, 2012 at 04:48

                  Couple points.
                  First: SAO is in Japanese. The OP indicated that they were watching SAO in order to improve their Japanese ability. You seem to be expressing disgust that someone finds value in a literary work which you consider to be unsophisticated. The purpose of this website is to provide advice and encouragement to learners of Japanese and other languages. The purpose of this website is not literary criticism. You’re starting the wrong argument in the wrong forum.

                  Second: You’re trying to measure subjective qualities (enjoyability; artistic merit) in terms of objective qualities (logical consistency within a story). I just don’t see that as an appropriate argument. I’ll agree that SAO is a horrific mess from an academic standpoint, but I watch it and enjoy it anyway. The visuals are good, and the setting is interesting even if the story is “objectively” bad. My interpretation is that the setting is what the author was focused on to begin with. The characters and conflict are just mechanisms by which to explore the setting in greater detail. A stronger story probably could have improved the overall quality of the series; It might also have pulled the audience’s attention away from the setting and onto the characters, which may not have been what the author wanted. The point is that there’s no objectively right way to entertain people.

                  • agentxjp on November 12, 2012 at 13:07

                    “I’ll agree that SAO is a horrific mess from an academic standpoint”

                    I rest my case.

                    • Chagami on November 12, 2012 at 13:45

                      The quote you extracted shows you missed the entire point of what コーリー had to say…bravo…

                      • narcobean on November 12, 2012 at 14:45

                        It’s more entertaining if you read all of his posts in the voice of the comic book store clerk from The Simpsons.

                • Drewskie on November 10, 2012 at 05:23

                  You must be really fun at parties.

                  • narcobean on November 10, 2012 at 07:07

                    Indeed!

                    • lauren on November 10, 2012 at 23:10

                      i think fma sucks balls. shitty characters,story,animation.one of the most overrated pieces of crap ever. go watch real anime.

                • Like dude on November 10, 2012 at 10:24

                  did you really just spend, like, a considerable amount of time looking for flaws in an anime to have someone else accept you opinion? This is why I love the internet.

                  • narcobean on November 12, 2012 at 11:59

                    In his defense (lol) he didn’t spend any time looking… he’s just parroting what he’s read on other review sites =)

                    ANIME IS CARTOONZ! poor guy takes them way to seriously

                    • agentxjp on November 12, 2012 at 13:13

                      I’ve never read an “anime review” in my life. I know faulty baseless assumptions are an integral part of your discussion strategy, but you might need to re-consider your approach.

                      The reason I know how many fallacies, cliches, plot-holes, bad characterization (by definition), and deus ex machina SAO contains is because I experienced it first hand.

                • Eriksajatt on November 11, 2012 at 04:06

                  Giving traits “x,y,z” any merit is in of itself an opinion. All it really boils down to is if the viewer enjoyed the show. You can’t argue “show x is better than show y because it had element z in it”. The argument falls flat because the traits you give value might not mean anything at all to someone else. In summation SAO might have a more engaging story, better visuals, acting, whatever but that doesn’t devalue other peoples shows or opinions.

    3. Sukixrose on November 12, 2012 at 08:36

      *ahem* MOVING ON
      Great article Khatz, I appreciate you doing so many recently.

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