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:
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.
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…
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 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
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:
- Stargate SG-1
- Star Trek
- Star Wars (‘thought I’d keep the “star” theme going…)
- The Practice (old skool legal shows FTW, right? 😛 )
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 🙂 .
- 御任せ ↩
- 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. ↩
- 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… ↩
- 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 ↩
- Not blogs about celebrities, blogs by celebrities ↩
- Oh snap, it’s spring and the days are getting longer just like every spring? NO FREAKING WAY! ↩
- calm down…before you say anything, my best friend is gay and also the Jews made me write this… ↩