YouTube Japan is Srsly Awesome

I visit and use websites in Japanese like it’s my job.  I’m constantly trying to interact with the language as much as possible.  More interaction time = more learning!

One of my favorite ways to do this is YouTube.

No, not looking up Japanese-learning videos.  I mean YouTube the way you’d see it if you were logging in from Japan: Set in Japanese with Japan’s featured content.  (Each country has its own featured videos, categories, popular videos, etc.  The videos that display on the US homepage are different from the ones on the Japan homepage and from the ones on the Korea homepage, etc.)

Here's what the homepage looks like when I log in. I'll let you know how to do this with your account (And why you should!) later in the post!

YouTube opens up a whole new portal to Japan and Japanese for language learners! Music PV’s, concerts, how-to’s, cooking ideas, personal vlogs, game shows, news, cute animal videos, you name it.  There is literally something for everybody, and nearly endless content to explore!  What an awesome way to have fun and immerse yourself in the language!

Especially awesome are the various videos (mostly music and TV shows) you can find that have captions (captions, not subtitles, naughty naughty!).  Woo hoo!  Makes listening a whole lot easier when you can read along, too.

You can use YouTube to find different movies, musical artists, animes, dramas, etc. that you really enjoy and then hunt down the DVD/CD/manga/etc. at stores or online!  This is one of my favorite things to do, and I can’t wait until my BookOff/Kinokuniya trip next week to hunt down the ones on my lists.

How To Set YouTube to Japanese interface with Japan’s content

This is pretty easy, and perhaps more important than how to do it is why to do it. We’ll start with how to do it…

Scroll alllll the way to the bottom of the page.  You’ll see two categories on the lower left-hand side: Current Location and Current Language.  Click “Show locations” and “Show languages” to change them to 日本 and 日本語 respectively, and you’re good to go!  Easy, right?

You might be tempted to set the location to Japan so you can get Japan’s content, but keep the language in English (or your native language if it’s different).  Resist the urge!  Setting the interface to Japanese adds way more Japanese-learning and reinforcement time!  If you don’t know what おすすめ、音楽、動画、人気、or お気に入り mean, I bet you will after a few times visiting the site like this!  And if you already know how to use YouTube in your language, a lot of it is very intuitive.  (Plus, you can always turn on your Rikaichan to help you if you need it.)  You’ll likely see a lot of stuff you recognize too, which is super encouraging and exciting!

If you want, you can get some ideas by finding me on YouTube (veganlizz) and checking out my favorites and playlists.

Here’s a cute commercial that’s been popular lately.  It was the first commercial I ever fully understood, so I tweaked out about it!

Ideas for Making the Most of YouTube

  • Find and favorite whatever you’re into.  Trust me, it’s on there.  Great way to learn vocab for your areas of interest, too!
  • Find new stuff to be into! Check out the related videos on the right hand side of the page after you’re done watching a video.  This will often lead you on a trail of videos where you find great new stuff you dig!
  • Explore the most popular videos and most favorited videos. (In the box 人気の動画)  See what’s popular in Japan right now, get some more cultural knowledge, be in on the “in” things in Japan!
  • Make playlists. These’ll help you sort all those favorites on your ever-growing list.
  • Share with friends.  Send fellow learners/friends links to your favorite videos!  Challenge them to make and trade a playlist with a theme with you.  You both make your own playlist of  “Best/Weirdest Commercials” or “Favorite Japanese Disney songs” or “Top 10 Moments in J-Dramas”, or something less corny… and then share with eachother and enjoy!
  • Have fun! All of this is assuming you enjoy perusing the site, as there’s no use trying to learn by doing something you dislike!  But with the vast expanse of Japanese goodness offered to you by YouTube, there really is no reason not to head over to the site, Japan-ify it, and get exploring!
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5 Responses to YouTube Japan is Srsly Awesome

  1. kanjiwarrior says:

    This is something I need to do, I been lazy about it. I’ll go do it right now!

  2. burritolingus says:

    Good advice, and something pretty much any Internet user can take advantage of (who doesn’t use Youtube, really?).

    The best thing of all about 日本ifying Youtube: far fewer dead braincells! I’d much rather be subjected to Japan’s sponsored videos than the ones forced on us here in アメリカ. Eww.

    Well, no, I lied. That’s the second best thing. The BEST thing of all: Japanese pet celebrities. I’ve spent many an hour watching adorable cats, dogs and hamsters do hilarious things (in immaculate Japanese households, of course). If only they could speak, I’d probably be fluent by now!

    Of course, you could ditch Youtube altogether and go straight to the source of the insanity at Nicovideo.jp, but that may not be entirely… healthy.

    • veganliz says:

      Haha, oh yes, sponsored videos….

      Thanks for the nicovideo suggestion! I’ve signed up and started perusing! It seems like a lot of the videos have captions (I think they’re user-done?), which is a super-extra-awesome bonus!

  3. Don R says:

    Great idea. Seems like an obvious good thing to do, yet I hadn’t done it!

  4. Ady says:

    Oh man that CM is mean 😀

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