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Reading: What To Do When You Can’t Find Or Think of Any Good Japanese Schtuff To Read Online

November 14, 2012
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The “opposite” of English review websites of Japanese (L2) media is Japanese review websites of L1 (English media).

It’s similar to the idea of looking up the Japanese Wikipedia pages of topics you’re interested in (ultimate frisbee, anyone?), except that it’s more targeted than that, because, really, who just looks up random Wikipedia articles?

Rhetorical question. I know they have that random article button (おまかせ 1表示). But that’s kind of beside the point. The point is that one doesn’t simply walk into Mordor or Wikipedia. One goes to Google first, and then has Wikipedia revealed to one.

Anyway, here are some Japanese sites that review English-language media:


ハリウッド・セレブ・ニュース Hollywood Celeb News

This isn’t a review site. It’s trash. “Gossip”. Pure junk. Half of it isn’t even true and the other half doesn’t matter. I know it. You know it. We all know it. Following celebrities will make you stupid. Except if you do it in Japanese. Then you’ll have fun, get smarter, and learn kanji.

Just remember: anything you do in a foreign language is a valid intellectual activity. Anything. Just keep telling yourself that, coz…it’s true.


Time Travel News 時間旅行タイムトラベルニュース

OK, first of all, just so you know, the usual katakana word for time travel in Japanese is actually タイムスリップ (“time slip”). Um…if you’re into sci-fi at all, you’ll love this site. It’s all about (Hollywood) movies, TV shows, books (comics included) and even real-life science pertaining to time travel. Everything from The Twilight Zone to Fringe…it’s all there, browsable by decade if you so desire. Webmaster really knows and loves his stuff 2. He doesn’t simply review shows (although he does that too, and very well), he even goes meta with funny lists like “The Top 20 Time Travel villains” — bottom of the list is the Galactica guy who fell in love with the yellow-haired Cylon chick…Gaius whatshisname….I dunno; I’ve only ever seen it in Japanese, so…


Go Johnny Go Go Go Go!! ~本物の笑いとイケメンは国境を超える~

This site is amazing. This guy really knows his stuff. His blog’s tagline reads: “true humor and handsomeness know no borders”. Being both good truly looking and truly funny, not to mention well-travelled, I can corroborate this man’s assertion from deep personal experience. Any guy who likes The Thick of It is bound to be a good guy.

  • The Thick of It|Go Johnny Go Go Go Go!! ~本物の笑いとイケメンは國境を超える~ is.gd/RobOlE
  • 今年一番の注目コメディ番組スタートっ!☆A.イアヌーチ先生xジュリア・ルイス・ドレイファス「Veep」|Go Johnny Go Go Go Go!! ~本物の笑いとイケメンは国境を超える~ is.gd/5kfegz

Super Drama TV

Super Drama TV is a premium cable channel here in Japan. These people know their shizzle: they’re the ones who air the Japanese dub of Spartacus. Yes, the 300-meets-Rome sexy one. Wait, no they aren’t. That’s Fox Japan (also premium cable). Anyway, remember how in the fansubbed Samurai Champloo there was all kinds of background info on the real history behind (and being parodied in) each episode? Well, the Super Drama TV show synopses are kind of like that. You see, as hard as this may be to believe, in Japan, America is a foreign country. Almost as foreign to Japan as Japan is to America. So…

Hold on, I’m thinking of that Dave Barry quote: “Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages” and it’s making me laugh.

So…yeah, Super Drama often have to go into great detail by way of what’s rightly considered common knowledge in the US — but isn’t in Japan — in order to fill people in on the societal background behind shows, like, say “The Wire”. Sometimes they even include translations of short snippets of real-life English-language newspaper articles. What I’m trying to say is that Super Drama TV show synopses are detailed, well-written and just kind of awesome.

  • The Sopranos: 海外ドラマ専門チャンネル スーパー!ドラマTV : ザ・ソプラノズ is.gd/iXhyJv

Amazon Japan Reviews

If in doubt, crowdsource it. Amazon reviews of TV shows contain the more or less raw opinions of opinionated Japanese folk. It’s always entertaining and sometimes even enlightening  These are typically regular menschen like you and me, and the passion and realness of their feeling almost always shines through. Amazon reviews are to professional writing as the NCAA is to the NFL: technically competent, but filled with childlike energy and exuberance, i.e. without the bland, workaday jadedness of the pros. 3 People write Amazon reviews because  they care, because they’ve been moved, because they want to, not because they have to 4.

At least it seems that way to me. I dunno.

Anyway, so, yeah, the basic idea is to look up stuff about your favorite English/American TV shows in Japanese. You know you’ll like the subject matter; you know you’ll get what’s happening; the writing will be lively and filled with personality so it’s not like reading a freaking newspaper AND (bonus) it’s better than all those ridiculous, Tumblresque housewife and celebrity blogs 5 with the pictures of food and insipid, personality-free one-liners that are so boring, unoriginal 6 and inoffensive that you find yourself wishing some 2chan forum trolls would show up to raise the intellectual level. Coz…yeah…no.

I have nothing against those sites; I just think they’re gay 7 intensely disagreeable gay.

In case you’re unsure what to look up, here a couple of suggestions to start you off:


OK, so, now that we’re back from the off-color humor cliff, let’s wrap this up. We’ve come a long way and seen some interesting sites. Yet there remains a nagging fear inside you, doesn’t there? Gnawing away at you. I know what you’re thinking: “but Khatz, this is real Japanese by real Japanese people for real Japanese people, how do I process it?”

Easy. MCDs :) .

Notes:

  1. 御任せ
  2. I’m assuming it’s a guy…probably unfair, but…I’ve done worse. Tell you what? Let’s make a deal — if it’s a chick, I’ll be at her place tonight.
  3. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but a football lover in the family told me that this is why he prefers NCAA ball to the NFL, so I’m just parroting him…
  4. Fake reviews written by people with blatant “conflicts of interest” (yeah, good job using the publishing company’s IP, buddy) do exist, but on Amazon Japan that’s more a business book thing than an American TV show thing; there’s no need to drum up interest or sales in an American TV show through anything as gauche as fake Amazon reviews
  5. Not blogs about celebrities, blogs by celebrities
  6. Oh snap, it’s spring and the days are getting longer just like every spring? NO FREAKING WAY!
  7. calm down…before you say anything, my best friend is gay and also the Jews made me write this…
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8 Responses to Reading: What To Do When You Can’t Find Or Think of Any Good Japanese Schtuff To Read Online

  1. Matt on November 15, 2012 at 07:24

    For the seven other French learners out there, the most comprehensive, insightful, hilarious French website for movie/TV/music/etc. reviews (mostly English stuff) is www.ed-wood.net

  2. Kanjiguy on November 15, 2012 at 09:50

    Another good one is 知恵袋 chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/ basically Yahoo! Answers, but in Japanese and not shitty like he US one. Pretty much any topic you can think of from politics to what it’s like to date a foreigner is being discussed there. There are some pretty candid questions and answers on sensitive topics if you ever want to know what Japanese think about certain things, it’s in there. Now if I could only find a Korean site like that I’d be set.

  3. Mesqueeb on November 15, 2012 at 17:22

    Finally in a third instance, please give us some Japanese websites that review Japanese anime / native movies / …
    As this is something I have been looking for a long time.

    Cheers!

  4. フレヂィー on November 16, 2012 at 10:33

    Here are two good ones that I peruse through from time to time.

    gigazine.net/
    dailynewsagency.com/

  5. Jack Cotton-Brown on November 16, 2012 at 11:27

    Don’t forget 痛いニュース for your endless source of crazy and recent happenings. This site is very popular amongst the Japanese folk too, with each article getting hundreds of comments. The comments are great to read too. They wreak of nativity.

    blog.livedoor.jp/dqnplus/

    • Awk on November 19, 2012 at 09:36

      I have been reading some sites like this too, and am gonna post them up. It should be noted that many of the articles posted to these sites are NSFW. However, they are incredibly funny and at least for me that gives me a lot of motivation to keep reading and learning.
      itaishinja.com/
      blog.livedoor.jp/kinisoku/
      burusoku-vip.com/

  6. 出伊 on November 21, 2012 at 00:55

    でも同人ゲームの話は?!と憤怒込めて考えているそこのあなたに、これですよこれです

    gekikarareview.com/

    Well written, in depth reviews on legions of Doujin Games. I’ll just leave this here

  7. Jason on November 22, 2012 at 09:18

    If you know sites like 2ch and Majikichi it is impossible to run out of things to read

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