Active learning with netflix

So I watch a fair bit of Japanese content on Netflix, however mostly in the past I have had English subtitles - which often means i’m concentrating more on reading English than trying to understand the Japanese.

I’ve decided to try and watch something with Japanese subtitles on, and actively work out what is been said in each scene. Re-typing on my computer, and saying the sentences out loud.

I was going to try with ‘Midnight Diner - Tokyo Stories’ first, as I like it !

Has anyone used this as a learning technique? any tips recommendations for what shows would be most useful?


I haven’t used Japanese Netflix, yet. But this is on my list of things to try in the next month or two.


Perhaps you use this already but I use this extension for dual subtitles all the time, it’s been a great help. 深夜食堂 is a favorite, I rewatch the episodes all the time.

I’ve been using Viki quite a bit lately, they do dual subtitles and it’s very helpful as well though the translation choices for Netflix are more consistent. I’ve also been keeping Japanese subtitles on for US movies on Netflix. It’s extra reading practice and fun to see the translation choices.

You don’t need VPN necessarily to access Japanese content, it’s just less and not as up to date.


Edit: I’m too tired to read properly, apparently. No, I have not tried working out every single sentence and typing it all out. But I’ll leave you with unrelated ramblings all the same. :joy:

I think it’s good with basically anything that takes your interest.

I sometimes re-watch, but mostly re-listen toアグレッシブ烈子 when doing stuff around the house. Pretty straight-forward language, and the episodes are short.

I also like to listen to 斉木楠雄のΨ難, or re-watch it with JP subs. It’s an anime, so it’s not like I’m looking for examples of realistic speaking patterns, but the dialogue makes for good listening practice because it is very rapid-fire.

KawaJappa CureDolly made an argument in one of her videos for rewatching and re-listening the same things again and again. I can see how some people would hate that, but I actually find it quite useful. It’s as though, as I get familiar with certain parts of the dialogue, my mind can move on and focus on other parts. Every run through, I recognise a word or grammar construct I hadn’t registered before, and go “ah, so that’s the kind of context it’s used in.” I find that harder to do when listening to something just once. Then I focus on getting the main gist of what’s being said, rather than the linguistic details.

But I do have a high tolerance for repetition of things I enjoy until I know every minute detail. Honestly, half of my English is from watching Star Wars episode IV and V about 7 million times as a child, until I could quote both of them from beginning to end.


I happened to watch this 3 NETFLIX SHOWS I used to LEARN JAPANESE yesterday. And I was already watching some Terrace House before coming across the video, but the other recommendations seem interesting as well.

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Oh wow yes this!! I’m new to WaniKani, but have been learning Japanese on and off again for the last 5 or so years (my current level is a mix of N5/N4/some N3 according to my teacher).
Last year I decided to try some Japanese Netflix content (Japanese audio + Japanese subtitles), and now Netflix seems to think I am Japanese :sweat_smile:

I find it really helps both my reading and listening skills – even if I don’t understand everything (because people speak quickly) and can’t read everything (because I’m still working on kanji and grammar), I can usually understand what’s happening enough with subtitles or context to enjoy it regardless of my quite terrible Japanese.
Also I don’t bother slowing it down unless I really want to know precisely what just happened (I did this for a Terrace House argument lol). If a word I don’t know keeps coming up, I’ll usually search for it in a dictionary or Google Translate if that doesn’t work.

So far I’ve had the most success with relatively “calm” anime like Violet Evergarden, Children of the whales, Forest of Piano, Kuruko’s Basketball, etc. Because although I enjoy stuff like One punch man, Death Note, or Attack on Titan, there’s just too much specific vocabulary for me to understand what they’re talking about without English or French subtitles.

I also really enjoyed Dad of light, Mischievous Kiss 1 & 2, Midnight Diner (but I did struggle with the vocabulary). Terrace House is also quite easy to follow, depending on the day.

I wish there were more J-dramas, because Netflix thinks I like romantic stuff in general (thanks Mischievous Kiss), so ot keeps suggesting Korean dramas (which I’m not interested in – I watch all the J stuff for the Japanese!) :sweat_smile:


I did that for a while, with 可愛いミフィー videos, to practice listening comprehension. Had natives check what I wrote down. Worked pretty well actually.

Guess it worked out for you, I thought you were a native speaker :sweat_smile:


I just signed up for Viki for more access to Japanese content even though it is mostly romance options. Including Mischievous Kiss!! :rofl: I am excited to watch the J version of Signal though after seeing the Korean version a million years ago. I figure the annual sale price makes it cheap enough to have.

There’s also some options on Amazon Prime. Like a season of Psycho Pass!!


I’m probably leaving Viki once I get my fill, I like the platform but the library is too limited. Plus, how many romantic comedies do I need as the plots get pretty ridiculous. At least the comments can be funny and it’s great for listening.

Thus far, I’ve watched Overprotected Kahoko (liked it), May I Blackmail you? (it was ok), Pretty Proofreader (liked it but she talks way too hyper), Sumika Sumire (liked it), Tokyo Tarareba (liked it), Time Taxi (saw it on CR but liked it), Adult Highschool (it was pretty good), watching きみはペット now, the plot is also really ridiculous but at least I’m reinforcing a lot of vocab. Watched Mischievous Kiss a while back, it got really corny but she was funny.

What’s your experience with Amazon Prime? Are you gong through JP Amazon for their library?

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I watched Mischievous Kiss back when it was on Netflix. I got through the first season okay, but after having seen the original in Chinese, and then the Korean knock off, I couldn’t deal anymore. But I hear you on the heavy romance factor with Viki. I don’t foresee keeping it past this next year unless they beef up the content, but I also watch Chinese shows.

I haven’t tried to access Prime Video through Japan. Depending on interest, the US based has some okay options included in membership, but the better stuff is there if you’re willing to rent or buy (which is both good and kinda annoying when one season is free but the others aren’t). But the search option is super clunky if you don’t already have an idea of what you’re looking for.

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In my experience Netflix with either LLN or Subadub (+ Yomichan ) is a really great tool for working on listening. I think if you try this and like it, using a VPN to access JP Netflix will give you much more to choose from.

I really wanted to make use of Netflix content as the base of my vocab building routine with Anki earlier this year and was using another software called Voracious (where you can do the same as with LLN but with better integration with Anki and using content outside Netflix). Now not so focused on the SRS but still watching content regularly I’m finding the add-ons more practical. With that been said, the biggest issue I have with Netflix now is content.

If you aren’t a huge anime fan, Netflix Japan has the originals you will have in any other country but then the local selection is vastly reduced. Amazon and Hulu have the better deals in doramas and local movies, so besides eating and corny school romance doramas, other genres are very lacking on Netflix still.
Movie wise, the local selection is also very reduced, which considering some great Japanese directors is very dissapointing; on the bright side you still have lots of dubbed shows and movies, which for me at least are a great option for listening practice.

Other services you can access from outside of Japan with a VPN include Amazon, which has a much larger selection on dramas, shows, and more japanese movies too. Problem is no subs ( :sleepy: ), no add-ons that I’m aware of to use it as learning tool or the chance to download anything. So is basically a lot of raw content, which feels in my case much less useful for now.

EDIT: also I find using this worldwide Netflix catalog is much more practical to locate content (with due subs and audio language) than the Netflix platform itself. I feel clueless most of the time I don’t look something specific on Netflix with their platform. I was wasting always a good amount of time just finding something that draw my attention… :sweat_smile:


The English is strong with this one:

Often when I am leaving a car, I’ll think of “Lock the door! (And hope they don’t have blasters)”


My Japanese level isn’t good enough to do this yet, but it’s a goal of mine.

I’m actually re-watching Ponyo with English subtitles - because I love that movie - and I’ve already noticed some of the vocabulary (sea, goldfish, etc.). Next, I’m going to re-watch it with Japanese subtitles (and Japanese language obviously) [might skip this step]. Finally, I’ll just watch it straight without any subtitles at all. [edit: I’m using a DVD].

I’m maybe going to do the same with Naruto… but there are soooooo many episodes…
So, maybe I’ll just try it with Rilakkuma and Kaoro.


This is great to know. I had assumed that a JP Amazon account was necessary for the JP Prime library. Too bad about the subs, maybe eventually.

Indeed a JP account is necessary. :sweat_smile:
Besides the VPN you have to make sure the billing address of the card you’re using is a japanese one. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a japanese credit card though.

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I’m obsessed with Midnight Diner and Japanese Style Originator on Netflix, and they’re probably the main reason I’ve started studying Japanese again after a ten year hiatus. I’ve watched them both beginning to end several times now. Once I’ve seen an episode a few times, I’ll switch from English Subs to Japanese Subs to try an immerse myself.

I ran out of Japanese Netflix content a long time ago BUT then I learned a COOL TRICK that CHANGED EVERYTHING: If you go to your Netflix account settings and switch your “Account Language” to Japanese, it will unlock Japanese subs&dubs on tons of extra American content. This is a great way to re-watch something and see if you can follow along. I’ve streamed more Netflix in the last month than in the last 5 years: I’ve re-watched all of Kimmy Schmidt, Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Men In Black 1 and 2, Indiana Jones, Lady Dynamite, the NBC sitcom Great News, and even an episode of The Crown - all dubbed in Japanese. They’ve even got Stranger Things and The Irishman dubbed and subtitled in Japanese. And of course your Netflix menu will be in Japanese too, so you can practice reading the names and synopsis of shows while you browse.

Because I was already extremely familiar with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, re-watching it in Japanese was the most useful thing I’ve done to improve my Japanese other than intense flashcard studying.


You flatter me! O:

There are several things that have been forever changed.

“(Yes,) he’s alive,” simply must be followed by “and in perfect hibernation.”


Sometimes overlapping inner dialogue (monologue?) and spoken dialogue. Very interesting! Will have to rewatch soon!

Also Rick and Morty in Japanese :rofl:


Open University of Japan