What I’ve been watching and listening to: assorted visual kei stuff, fluff, and trash
Midorikawa Yuu & co. talk about banning fans from attending concerts from their perspective as band members. (17 min) This was really interesting because it’s such a sensitive topic. I wonder if any bands have ever dared to talk about this publicly before. When I was a regular at other bands’ shows, there were a few times when some high-profile fans who’d been going to every single concert and dominating the front row suddenly stopped, and there was some speculation on the anon boards that they’d been banned, but nobody who knew anything talked about it. So some of the things I observed in the past feel a little clearer now.
Former Popteen model Yulano Ochi shows off some girly fashion looks supplied by tocco closet for the coming spring. (10:30 minutes) She has a running voiceover commentary about the looks, and I feel like fashion videos like this help me develop a better sense for the nuances between adjectives/descriptions in a way that dictionaries can’t.
Another fashion video by a different youtuber who went to the Kera shop in Shinjuku and spent 10万円, (20 min) featuring items from Moi meme Moitie, artherapie, and other gothic/原宿系 brands. She talks a little about the fashion style’s history and the origins of some of these brands. From this I learned that the reason why artherapie’s bags and accessories look so similar to Gaultier bags from the early 2000s is because the designer started as an assistant designer for Gaultier.
Last night I watched the final episode of 仮面ライダー BLACK SUN
No matter how goofy it is, shouting へんしん and doing the transformation pose will forever be cool.
The usual intro song is a simple four-note motif that isn’t really anything special but it serves its purpose (though became very repetitive). However with this final episode they decide to go all out and use the opening from the late 80s 仮面ライダー BLACK all the while the main guy himself is riding around on his motorbike but now without greenscreen, and it is very cool, why didn’t they just use this opening song?
This was really building up but then after the halfway point they seemed to become conflicted if they wanted a solid ending or to leave it ambiguous for a potential sequel and it kinda fell flat because it felt a bit directionless.
Overall I enjoyed this wonderfully goofy mess of a show. I think with some polish and a bit more focussed storytelling this could have been a really awesome entry in the Kamen Rider universe but it’s just a bit too everywhere as is. The acting though was for the most part pretty good, but the lead girl (Kokoro Hirasawa) was the standout, she’s only 15 yet was acting in both Japanese and English.
And whoever decided to keep with using guys in masks and suits for the kaijin needs a special mention (and a hefty raise). As whacky as it was seeing whale-guy flap his flippers at the faces of his enemies with his emotionless plastic eyes staring into our souls it kept that charm of the pre-CGI-laden days. It somehow worked, which is something for the whole show, it somehow worked despite its flaws.
I need to find something else now for my Japanese learning journey.
Watched the first episode of The Journalist today. It looks like a good, complex story, but as I had thought the previous time I tried watching it, it’s rather hard as listening practice. There are times I can barely keep up with the subtitles, never mind focus on the audio. The vocabulary for political machinations and scandals isn’t the easiest either.
What did I listen to?: an assortment of videos related to Key but sadly, no unboxing videos
How much time did I spend listening?: ~21 min
Oh. my. goodness. this was just a string of failed searches today I could not locate a Japanese-language unboxing of Key’s anything, which honestly surprised me because I thought SHINee was pretty popular in Japan (maybe the solo stuff less so? idk). I’m not sure if it’s me not searching well or a genuine lack of content, even though I searched purely in Japanese it just kept giving me results in English If anyone knows how to filter by language on Youtube please share the secret, I tried logging out of my account to see if it was an algorithm thing but it didn’t help I thought that searching in a given language would return results in that language but apparently that’s not how it works
So instead of that, I settled for a reaction to Key’s Gasoline MV (which I thought was going to be a dance reaction or a dance breakdown or something, given that the channel is called Arata DANCE School, but I feel like he mostly commented on the fashion I mean, to be fair, there was a lot going on there xD But most of the commentary was some variation on スゴイ so it wasn’t exactly the most thrilling to listen to. Then I watched this short reaction to Key’s Another Life, which was probably the most understandable video out of the three (he talked the slowest) but it felt like he didn’t really say much either. Overall, both were underwhelming. Finally I found something more interesting/worth watching, which was this vocal coach reacting to Key and Taeyeon’s Hate That. Taught me a new word - 裏声 (falsetto). I might check out more of her videos at some point.
In the quest to get my listening to at least a lower intermediate level, I frustrated myself today by first listening to a short episode of Miku Real Japanese with subs, then listening to the episode again without subs then listening to it again with subs. I believe that I have understood some parts of the episodes correctly by listening alone before but also realized that I didn’t understand parts or misunderstood parts. Hopefully, this method can work for a month or two and actually improve my listening. We will see. Only two hours thus far today and going back in for another hour or so.
A walking tour of Shinjuku’s Kabukicho with someone who can see ghosts. (21 min) This morning it seemed like a great idea to search Youtube for videos about 幽霊スポット and this one looked interesting and had actual people speaking instead of AI or filtered voices. But I didn’t watch it until night. It was creepy but also fun, especially since Kabukicho is such a well-known place where everyone goes. I paused this one a few times to look up some of the words in the on-screen subs.
I watched this a few days ago but it got lost in my history: Tips to spot high-quality clothing. (12 min) She talks a little about the technical aspects of clothing construction and some of the vocabulary here might be slightly specialized.
(BTW, I don’t understand all these videos 100%, but it doesn’t matter because this isn’t a test, it’s just what I’m watching. Even if I miss a line here or there, as long as I’m generally following what’s happening it’s good enough.)
I’m so glad Netflix has been consistently adding more Japanese content lately! I’m currently watching Dearest (最愛) and it looks like exactly my kind of show. It starts with the apparently carefree, happy life of young people in a quiet village, but with glimpses of tension and secrets just underneath the surface. Then fast forward 15 years later in Tokyo, and the investigation of an old crime in connection with a new one. I’ve watched the first episode and continuing straight to the second. Just what I needed today.
Listened to Teppei for beginners #54. I also tried to listen to a video on book recommendations inspired by some people in this thread but I didn’t understand much and I quickly gave up so I’m not counting it. Maybe in the future. At least it was fun to think about what I might be able to do eventually.
Today I watched Episode 3 of Season 2 of Way of the House Husband.
I had English Subs on because I was eating dinner while I watched so I couldn’t keep going back to re-listen to bits, or pausing to read the subs in Japanese.
I managed to understand a fair amount by listening, but not enough that it would have made sense to me without the subs!
What did I listen to?: Oneus things
How much time did I spend listening?: ~21 min
Today I went searching for content related to my favorite k-pop group in the entire world, Oneus And I had way more success than I did with Key content yesterday First I watched a reaction video titled 【ONEUS】初めてONEUSを見たらかっこよすぎた件www - basically it was these two guys looking into Oneus as a group for the very first time. They read through all the member profiles first (which deeply tested my knowledge of numbers because they were reading like heights and ages and stuff lmao). Then they watched the MV for A Song Written Easily (which is an excellent choice for a first Oneus song imo not like you can really go wrong but I’m probably a little biased) Their obsession with Hwanwoong was so funny literally though he’s so noticeable, he was the first one I could pick out too He’s small and charismatic and he has very distinct facial features/expressions, like he is literally always doing something with his face. Hwanwoong is great, we love Hwanwoong This channel has more Oneus reaction videos that I’m 100% going to watch.
Then I watched an unboxing of the In Its Time album (which is the album A Song Written Easily is on! Fun fact no one asked for, but that was why I picked it lmao). Unfortunately the video was super hard to understand because the person chipmunked her voice for no apparent reason, it sounded like she was being fast-forwarded the entire time But I did get that she’s a Seoho bias and she pulled a Seoho card so that was nice for her