I don’t know how many folks around here might be familiar with ASMR videos, but I’ve been watching/listening to them for probably at least two years now, and they really help calm my anxieties and also help me sleep at night when my brain naturally wants me to stay up like a night owl .
So anyway, it turns out that, as a result of studying Japanese, with the help of WaniKani, BunPro, KaniWani, KameSame, various books, and other websites I’ve forgotten to credit (sorry!), I’ve actually been able to watch/listen to all sorts of Japanese-language ASMR videos. Now, I’m still not anywhere close to fluent, so I can’t actually understand most of what’s being said, most of the time. But I can understand some things. (Which is really cool! )
In fact, when it comes to understanding Japanese, I’ve found that I can understand a lot more in Japanese ASMR videos than in other kinds of Japanese-language audio-video media (like anime, etc.). I realized that a big reason for this is that in ASMR videos, people (everyone, not just Japanese speakers) tend to speak more slowly, at a more steady pace, using simpler language, and more personal and perhaps more polite language (this is obviously more relevant in Japanese with its politeness levels).
So, not only do I get to listen to calming, mundane activity or chit-chat (like in a hair-cut ‘role play’ or something), but I get to listen to it in Japanese! Again, I’m not at the level where I can understand much yet, so perhaps I’m not getting as much out of it as I would if I could understand more, but I definitely feel like I am getting something out of it. Kind of like a minor form of language immersion.
[By the way, it’s still very ‘easy’ (well, at least, not any more difficult) to get ASMR sensations when listening to someone talking in a language you don’t actually understand; tone of voice and personality are much more important than actual words for ASMR; in fact, there’s an entire sub-genre of ASMR called ‘unintelligible whispering’ where the person deliberately makes unintelligible or even meaningless whispers that nobody can understand, and you can still ‘easily’ get ASMR from it. So, not understanding what’s being said isn’t actually that important for these videos in the first place! Kinda weird, I know! ]
Anyway, I just thought I’d post about this, because it might be helpful for other people to try listening to Japanese in ASMR videos, because, as I said, the speaking tends to be slower-paced, more steady, more clearly enunciated, more day-to-day/mundane, more personal, and in some cases more ‘polite’ (though not all cases).
Some recommendations if you’d like to try, to see what I mean:
This first recommendation, ‘Latte ASMR’, is actually one of the absolute best ASMRtists out there (if you’re skeptical about ASMR in general, her videos will at least give you a sense of what high-quality ASMR is really like). She’s actually Korean, but she speaks both English and Japanese fluently (more or less). She used to do a mixture of Korean, Japanese, and English videos, but because she wants to practice English more, she has recently been doing mostly English videos. Therefore, I will have to link to one of her older Japanese videos to suit this topic. Here’s a good one to start with: ASMR 日本語 保健室の先生の治療💊 Japanese ASMR. Here’s a playlist of all her Japanese videos.
As for native Japanese speakers, for some reason many (not all) of them seem to hide their faces, more so than people from other cultures, it seems. Maybe a privacy thing? Anyway, here’s one by ‘ゆうりASMR’, who is a really good ASMRtist: 【ASMR】眠りのお手伝いをさせてください【囁き】Sleep inducing - YouTube. Has subtitles, too.
There’s also an entire sub-genre of VTuber/ASMR crossovers (among the many many sub-genres of ASMR overall; I’m just scratching the surface here for y’all ). The most talented (IMHO) sleep-inducing ASMRtist who also happens to be a super-kawaii and adorable puppy-dog-angel VTuber is ‘くるみ!’, and here’s a classic 耳かき (ear cleaning) stream that will surely zonk you out, if not from the ASMR sounds, then from the cuteness-overload-induced coma! : 【ASMR】あまく癒すよ...♡ ゼロ距離/囁き/耳かき/マッサージ/はむはむ/心音etc.✧【Vtuber】 - YouTube
Anyway, I’ve found listening to Japanese ASMR to help keep me immersed somewhat in the Japanese language, so maybe it might help others, too.