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Podcasts: Simulate Real Japanese Friends

Here at AJATT, we (me? I?) are (am?) all about input. Input, input, input. And that works well for written Japanese. But what about regular spoken Japanese? Well, hang out with Japanese people. But what if there are no people from Japan in your area? Simulate them.

One of my favorite ways to simulate having Japanese friends is (was?…wait, is…is today my day to be indecisive?) podcasts. And one of the best podcasts out there is 「道産子女子高生のしゃべり場!まりもえお!」(ど・さん・こ・じょ・し・こう・せい・の・喋り・ば・まりもえお, which somewhat loosely translates to: Marimoe! Three Hokkaido High School Girls’ Hang-Out Joint!).

By the way, this isn’t another instance of me trying to force gentlemen to talk like ladies :). Marimoe aren’t your stereotypical high school girls who’ve forgone the services of their brains; they aren’t airheads and they don’t really talk in a ditzy or explicitly feminine way; most of their speech is neither womanly nor manly but gender neutral, so do feel free to imitate and listen to them without fear.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Marimoe podcasts is that they have the quality of being both very natural (as if you just happened to be listening to three native speakers having a normal conversation), and very professional in that they actually do/did the podcasts on a regular basis; they pick something of a topic in advance and there are no dumb pauses — none of the narcissism and repetition of poorly done podcasts: “うん・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・ええと・・・”…I mean, after a while, that just gets too much.

Whether or not you are the level in your Japanese where you understand them, there’s still value in having them playing in the background. And the cool thing about spoken word over music is that it’s not as distracting — sometimes you want to concentrate on something else while still to remaining “in Japan”; Rip Slyme are too groovy to let you focus anything else; but with something like Marimoe, you can.

Anyway, definitely give it a try.

  15 comments for “Podcasts: Simulate Real Japanese Friends

  1. April 21, 2007 at 23:21

    There’s something about amateur audio on the internet that I just can’t come to terms with. Everything they say in the “broadcast” seems so forced, like bad acting or awkward speeches forced on people in wedding videos.

    Do you not notice it? Is there something wrong with me? I’m open to the possibility that I’m simply a bad apple.

  2. khatzumoto
    April 21, 2007 at 23:23

    HAHAHAHA! (爆笑) Wedding videos…

    Well, Marimoe is a good apple, I think 😉

  3. JDog
    May 12, 2007 at 23:52

    Is there any way to actually put this podcast on an iPod and subscribe to it like a podcast? I guess you could download all the mp3s separately and put them on that way, but is there an easier way?

  4. khatzumoto
    May 13, 2007 at 00:15

    not sure if it’ll work, but…

  5. JDog
    May 13, 2007 at 13:49

    I thought I had tried that before, and it didn’t work, but this time it did work, so thanks! Phew, that saved a lot of downloading and adding hassle.

  6. Jake
    December 17, 2007 at 20:12

    Hey I am trying to download the podcasts as well and put them onto my ipod. Do you have to have quicktime pro in order to download them? I can’t really read the download explanation clearly enough on the site figure it out. THanks

  7. Jake
    December 17, 2007 at 21:59

    nevermind! Figured it out! Thanks!

  8. Brittany
    December 29, 2007 at 02:48

    Wait! For those that have figured it out, how do you do it??

  9. Brittany
    December 29, 2007 at 02:53

    Nevermind, I clicked on ‘download’, right-clicked on the long blue link and ‘save as’ and then just open it in itunes.

  10. Ashman
    August 5, 2008 at 08:29

    WOW! Just listened to the first episode of Marimoe. I love it!!!

    Who needs real friends, when you have Rie, Moe and Mao inside your MP3 player!?

    Thanks yet again, Khatzumoto.

  11. Mirmana
    June 2, 2009 at 21:56

    At this moment I don’t know any Japanese, I’m a lvl zero. I started reading your blogs and a.t.m. my E is very high. I’m absolutely motivated. I’ve watched 2 Japanese dramaseries with subtitles so far and while doing stuff for school I listen to Japanese songs on my Ipod. I have the RTK books and started reading in the train but I haven’t used any SNS yet, which I’m going to do after I submitted this comment.

    It’s actually learning Japanese about the same way I learned English.

    About this blog:
    I probably won’t understand a word they’re saying for a very long time – but I’m definitely going to download this. Thank you!

  12. KiTA
    August 21, 2010 at 10:59

    Did Yomiuri kill their podcasts? Get a 404 error on that link.

    iTunes now has a pretty extensive collection of Japanese language study postcasts. I’m grabbing an “episode” of each to see what they’re like:

    Some are a bit weird — like the one that appears to be all about learning how to speak with an Osaka dialect.

    (Also: The Table of Contents page links to:

    Which is wrong — gotta kill wp-admin to get it to load right.)

  13. Drewskie
    August 21, 2010 at 16:20

    Yomiuri killed their podcasts at the end of last year.

  14. erly
    August 8, 2012 at 11:11

    The Stitcher Radio app on iPhone lets you select Japanese programs on-demand, like NHK News, PBS, tons of smaller niche shows… lots to listen to all day.

  15. June 6, 2013 at 15:11

    I too found podcasts really helpful for getting used to the flow of Japanese. I found an entire podcast channel through iTunes (ニッポン放送) years ago that has not one, but several shows which you can subscribe to. After a while, I got a feel for the shows I liked and which ones I didn’t.

    I remember one show in particular, they talked really fast and had lots of banter going back and forth. After first I’d listen and not understand anything for 10 minutes. But over time, I could follow along more easily until I realized that I could (more or less) understand what they were talking about.

    What a nice feeling.

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