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.
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:
- Domestic Japanese Movie Reviews@Metropolis – Movies | Eiga is.gd/Tlr5Y8
- Japanese Movie Reviews | News, Reviews, Spoilers, Images, Trailers, and Video Clips @ BeyondHollywood.com is.gd/k0dXtp
- LoveHKFilm.com – Reviews of movies from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and more is.gd/YJEWtU
- Midnight Eye: A little on the artsy side, but…whatever
- Movie Reviews | Japan Cinema is.gd/JBxo6m
- T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews: This site is by far my favorite, at this writing 4
- The Anime Review is.gd/Um5CJG
- Anime Reviews | Anime-Planet is.gd/WrN9TE
- Reviews – Anime News Network is.gd/F6lG4a
- Dorama World is.gd/Y9hZPn
- [Not Safe for Work. Click to View.]
- lol, japan | your favorite drama sucks | reviews and opinions is.gd/IetjuB
- Japanese Drama Reviews « the road to otakuness is.gd/OtGe4K — poor grammar and writing mechanics can be incredibly annoying, but the volume of reviews, synopses and opinion makes it a useful resource nonetheless
- Japanese drama review — Drama Cafe is.gd/hg4aEA
- Japanese Drama Reviews « aiDorama: An Asian drama & movie fanblog is.gd/uXkVQ9
- Music (CD reviews, live previews), dance, stage and more) | The Japan Times Online is.gd/QVhOtJ
- 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 ↩
- There’s a joke in here somewhere for the attentive ↩
- Yes, this is the answer to the question suggested by the post title…took a while, huh? Yeah…bite me! … No, don’t bite me; that’s just unhygienic. ↩
- What kind of jerk qualifies a compliment? The Khatzumoto kind…. ↩