As many of you know, it’s one’s duty as a geek to love Neon Genesis Evangelion. Recently, I was rewatching the show, and then reading about in on Wikipedia. Anyway, there’s a link there to the text of a 2004-ish TV interview with the creator/director, ANNO Hideaki (庵野秀明[あん-の-ひで-あき]). It’s a good example of very natural, semi-formal spoken Japanese.
In my time in Japan, I’ve found that when you first meet someone, it’s normal to start out very formal and distant, but as you get to know them better (even within the course of a single conversation), there’s this natural relaxation of the stiffness; of course, unless you’re the same age and rank, the tone remains polite — you’re not likely to be dissing each other’s mommas — but you’re certainly not talking to them as if they were Emperor Palpatine, either. In a sense, that’s exactly how it is in much of the rest of the world, too. Anyway, it’s that typical semi-formal tone that you’ll find in the interview.