Listening Comprehension 🎧 : YouTube, Drama CDs, audiobooks, podcasts, radio etc

This thread is for talking about your favorite sources for improving your Japanese listening comprehension. That could be YouTube, radio shows, podcasts, Drama CDs, interviews, video games, JP dramas etc.

Please share stuff you like to listen to.

If you feel like adding an assessment of the difficulty level as you perceive it (no guarantees) that’s also nice as it might help others! :slight_smile:

Have fun!*

I’m revamping the entire thread as I realize by now that it’s just too narrow in scope for this forum. Clearly, most people on here do not listen much to audio-only media. So, I thought it better to just let people talk about whatever in here.

But, I do hope that the focus is still on listening comprehension, as it’s not meant to be an anime discussions thread (we already have that).

In any case, enjoy! ^>^


NOTE that if you wanna talk about something a bit more “adult”, please use “spoiler tags”, “hide details”, etc, with some kind of warning what it’s about, to make this a thread for everyone. Use common sense! ^^;

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Obligatory ひいきびいき. It’s a super fun podcast where two friends talk about random things. It’s not available online right now but you can download it thanks to the work of the forum users in this thread: ひいきびいき will be inaccessible after the end of May 2020

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Favorite resources for practicing listening comprehension?

  • Podcasts
  • YouTube
  • JP Dramas
  • Japanese movies
  • Foreign movies dubbed in Japanese
  • Anime
  • Japanese TV
  • Video Games
  • Drama CDs
  • BLCDs
  • Freetalk CDs or interviews
  • Japanese music
  • Talk Radio Shows
  • Japanese music radio
  • Japanese News Reports
  • Study materials for listening comprehension
  • HelloTalk or similar
  • Conversation practice (tutored or other)
  • Other
  • I don’t use anything for listening practice

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Summary

A great suggestion! I’m sure to check it out.

(I knew this forum was special! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:)

Any favorite episodes? ^^

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Well, I don’t understand it enough to have a favorite episode yet :sweat_smile: But I can say every episode of it have the same good energy, they’re enthusiastic even about the simplest things. So just start from wherever you please :slightly_smiling_face:

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I will!

As for my own recommendation, I choose: Flesh and Blood.

It’s a BL historical drama played out during the 1500s, when Spain was at war with England - leading to the sinking of the Spanish Armada in the English Chanel.

So, the story is about this guy, Kaito Togo, descendants of Japanese parents living in the UK, getting into a time-wormhole of sorts, and getting transported back in time. He’s merely clinging onto the first person that helps him, but he ends up on this ship, the Gloria, under the Captain of Geffrey Rockford. His understanding of the future, and as a history student, puts him in a unique position as the historical events unfold.

There’s a lot of political intrigue, both on land, on royal courts, and on the ocean! (+well-produced music, SFX and an A-start cast making it a true gem of BL audio production :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: ).

Cast:
Kaito Togo: Fukuyama Jun
Geoffrey Rockford: Suwabe Junichi
Nigel Graham: Konishi Katsuyuki
Vincente de Santillana: Ookawa Tooru
Christopher Marlowe: Miki Shinichiro
Leonard Barreta: Kouki Miyata
etc. among others
also Jouji Nakata, Kouji Yusa etc.

Notes
BL romance themes are kept on a leash in this one and the historical drama at the forefront until later on in the series as those themes flourish. It’s an action/intrigue-driven drama.

Difficulty: medium+ or advanced?
You’ll have to brush up on your historical Japanese words and phrasing, because all the court drama uses it. The main character is easy enough to understand, being born in the 2000s, but the other characters are not as easy at times. It’s a historical drama through-and-through. :sailboat:

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The only podcast I listen to right now is Coten Radio. I believe it’s a history podcast with 3 guys talking about different world events. I like the vibe of the podcast, they seem very upbeat and some of the effects they do are funny but I still can’t really understand them so I can’t say if the content is great or not :sweat_smile: . It does seem popular though! Can be found on google podcasts:)

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Some years back I used to listen to Dear Girl~Stories~ with popular voice actors Ono Daisuke and Kamiya Hiroshi.

A pretty random talk show, but which had a segment where listeners could request the actors to do specific voice acting, sending in their own (embarrassing) lines (that’s fan service for you! <3).

I’m not sure if it’s available still over on NicoNico Douga, but there are 300+ episodes, a live show, and even a movie made with these guys based around their talk radio show. ^>^

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Since I aleady mentioned some mainstream Drama CDs/audio CDs over in the POLL-thread - I thought I should post about them here as well. This is original content you won’t find in the actual anime.

Some mainstream animes with audio specials, drama CDs

Gintama has several audio specials. They’re all in different formats, but you’ll feel right at home as it’s the same wacky, nerdy, fastpased humor you find in the anime and manga.

K (K Project) has one Drama CD with short sketches with the characters + a promotion talk radio show.

Naruto has at least one Drama CD released with the special edition DVD and Blu-Ray of the 10th movie: The Last: Naruto the Movie.

Shingeki no Kyojin / Attack on Titan has 9 Drama CDs made for the series.

One Piece: One Piece Drama CD: Pirate Bibi’s Adventure

Detective Conan: Drama CD Shonen Tanteidan kara no Chosenjyo!

These are just some of the top of my head, but Drama CDs are a quite common medium in Japan. A lot of light novels also get audio dramas, even if they are deemed too niche to be animated. So that’s also a tip if you’re looking for something fun or insteresting to listen to! ^>^

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Here are my recommendations for absolute beginners! :relaxed: I originally shared this before taking the JLPT N5 last December, but now I can say these podcasts did help: I remember that the listening portion of the test felt alright (neither too easy nor too hard), and in the end I scored 47 of 60. :upside_down_face:

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Thanks to @conan here’s a nice resource for listening to radio from around the world (including Japan). ^>^

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Thanks for the recommendations! :grin:

If you don’t know where to start your listening training, this article gives an overview of listening practice options and some pro and cons for these options.

Also, here’s some other listening resources on Gakuu.com

http://gakuu.com/resources/#listening

Finally, a “Top 5 list” of Spotify-podcasts for learning Japanese

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Oh man, historic fiction and political intrigue, this sounds right up my alley :eyes: That voice cast too! The only thing is I’m not a big fan of some of BL’s problematic elements as a genre. Does it go into r18 territory at all?

I’m not sure if they mentioned this in the article or not, but what worked for me was voiced visual novels. The pairing of reading the text and hearing the words combined with the ability to process and repeat individual lines was so useful for learning how to start picking up sounds.

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I have played some with voiced dialogue. And I totally agree. It makes a load of difference when it comes to comprehension if you can follow along with spoken dialogue. It’s been a while since I took up the last game, but there are some really good ones out there. ^>^

As for Flesh & Blood, there are adult content in this story, but it’s pretty mild compared to some stuff out there. I think you’ll be fine. If you can watch a normal movie with sex scenes in it, you’ll be fine to listen to this as well is my guess. But, it’s hard to tell with these things. We’re all different and I’m pretty weathered at this point! :sweat_smile: I guess, there is always the possibility of skipping forward “x-seconds” it takes for the few scenes there are. In any case, it’s not a focus in this Drama CD-series.

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I’m reposting some stuff from the yaoi-appretiation thread that also belongs here if you’re looking for BLDrama CDs to listen to. It’s easier to keep it gathered in one place I feel.

Sakende Yaruze! (Shout out Loud!)
https://community.wanikani.com/t/yaoi-appreciation-thread/10463/1265?u=ekg

Has anyone on here read or listened to the Drama CD of 叫んでやるぜ ! / Sakende Yaruze! (Shout Out Loud!) by Satosumi Takaguchi?

It’s a great read full of internal yaoi and voice-acting jokes. The story is about a professional voice actor whose teenage son (which he didn’t know about) suddenly arrives out of the blue at the beginning of the story.
Suddenly he has to learn how to be a father to this teenager while having various “complications” at work: since he’s now feeding more than one mouth at home, he lets his manager lure him into the strange world of BL voice acting!

It’s a super funny story, full of meta-jokes about voice acting, BL, and anime in general.

And the cast for the Drama CD is just WOW!

We have Akio Ootsuka of all people as the seme! :star_struck:.
(more knows from his mainstream roles as Batou in Ghost in the Shell or Marshall D. Teach/Blackbeard in One Piece.)
The actor for the main character is perhaps less known (I don’t know what he’s done) but a great choice in this role of the struggling single father. Spot on!
(edit: I almost forgot to mention seiyuu Okiayu Ryotaro being another voice actor in the story and Ryo Horikawa (you know Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z) as Ryo Horikawa in the role of the teacher of the main character’s son. This cast is amazeballs!

All in all, this is a great BL manga & BLCD-series from a wonderful mangaka who really understands characterizations, has a lovely drawing-style and has created something that’s just great fun.

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Repost/rewrite

https://community.wanikani.com/t/yaoi-appreciation-thread/10463/1270?u=ekg

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Sanzen Sekai no Karsu wo Koroshi (三千世界の鴉を殺し) - is a sci fi BL Drama CD-series based on a light novel series with the same name (I haven’t been able to read the light novel-series yet, but I do love the Drama CD-series! ^>^

There’s sci fi, alien, and supernatural aspects to the story. It’s full of action and intergalactic intrigue, but more than that, I love the chemistry between the voice cast:
-Suwabe Junichi in the main role (the army-hacker-psychic) Lucifardo Oscarstein,
-Miki Shinichiro in the other leading role (the army-surgeon), Saradin Aramudo…

…but also people like George Nakata (father of the main character), Kenta Miyake!! (a detective/police here but All Might in My Hero Academy), and Canna Nobotoshi (another medical doctor), but also (unbelievably!), Norio Wakamoto!!! No kidding! (he appears in a minor role)

There’s an astounding female cast as well, though, as a BL fan, I’m not equally god at pinpointing everyone’s names through their voices alone (so sorry, no cast list, but it’s a note-worthy one if I ever saw one. Sanzen Sekai has perhaps THE best female cast I’ve ever seen in a drama CD.

It’s a very professional production through and through; casting, music and sound all-together. Romance is a central thread throughout the story, but still isn’t pushed very far as it’s mostly focused on the sci fi and thus refreshingly exiting and fun through-out. (though I do adore the theme of gay romance in space! :blush: )

crows

More info can be found on the BLCD Wiki which I highly recommend as a place to find new stuff you like, whether it’s because you like a particular voice actor or a creator of a story, it’s all searchable!

(It’s only in Japanese though, unless the title is English. I use Anime News Network as an intermediate to get the kanji for voice actors’ full names and then search the database on BLCD Wiki)

https://wikiwiki.jp/blcd/三千世界の鴉を殺し

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Thank you for all of the resources and recommendations, @ekg and @Windgreen! I really want to work on my listening comprehension, but I don’t really know where to start. :\

I will definitely be making a list of your drama CD recommendations, ekg. :eyes: These all look right up my alley. Probably won’t be able to actually understand anything for a good while, but I like making lists of resources for when I can understand.

I don’t have any recommendations atm, unfortunately, but hopefully that’ll change in the future. :muscle:

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I’m happy you’ve found something of interest here! ^>^ And please come back when you have something you’ve found yourself.

It’s hard to rate the difficulty level of stuff, but I think you might wanna go for slice-of-life type of Drama CDs, to begin with, since the vocabulary is more straightforward and you might have encountered words from anime etc.

Sci fi is always its own world and historical drama also comes with its own vocab.

I think my first Drama CD that I managed to understand more or less, was the one for Yami no Matsuei or Descendants of Darkness as the anime was called. Since I had the anime fresh in my mind, that helped a lot since the drama CD is an original story not featured in the anime. But, it helped that I knew the setting, especially with the supernatural aspects of the story.

So that is a tip as well. :slight_smile:

In any case: good luck with your studies! :+1:

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If you are a fan of Japanese voice acting, then you might enjoy watching ぼいすた! Voice star, is a quirky show that invites seiyuus to talk about their careers and also get them to do some live some voice acting. (several episodes can be found on YouTube when searching ぼいすた!)

In this episode we have Toshiyuki Morikawa and Jun Fukuyama! :heart::purple_heart:

Enjoy! <3

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Since I just rewrote the welcome-post for the thread, I’m gonna put what I wrote about my own interests here in the comments instead! :slight_smile:

I’m a huge fan of Japanese audio productions and audio media. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: A lot of my motivation for learning Japanese in the first place was to appreciate Japanese voice actors, getting to read their blogs, listen to interviews, and of course the audio dramas (+anime, games, movies, etc) they lend their voices to.

I’ve been into a variety of stuff, but mostly BL Drama CDs. But I also go for audio dramas of various genres that are created in parallel with anime-series as they’re ongoing or before the mainstream anime gets launched. Also, games can get the Drama CD add-on-treatment. But, I also like online radio talk shows.

I simply feel it’s great to be able to listen to something interesting while I do other stuff. But also, I like to settle down and enjoy some quality time with an engaging and emotionally involving drama - it’s very calming, almost meditative as you get sucked into the story. :blush:

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Lately I’ve been listening to the Drama CD adaption of Kazuya Minekura’s
manga series Wild Adapter.

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It’s a rather long Drama CD series (6 CDs in all, one for each manga volume). Even if I consider Wild Adapter a BL series, there really isn’t any overt BL content. Considering the themes, you might even call it a seinen series (the underworld crimes, the drug angle, and the violence).

But, it has a surprising amount of slice-of-life type of banter between the main characters of Tokito (voiced by Hideo Ishikawa) and Kubota Makoto (voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa).

Other notable seiyuus making apperances are Susumu Chiba, Shinichiro Miki, Kosugi Juurouta, and Toshihiko Seki.

This is a solid production. Suitable music, sfx and Morikawa shines in his interpretation of Kubota (he’s really pulling off some pretty unique voice acting here! ^>^).

I really love this series. It’s interesting and captivating and also not too difficult from a listening comprehension perspective. Highly recommend! :+1:

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