One of the things I am most excited about in the prospect of being in Japan for a whole year next year is that I get to watch all kinds of awesome Japanese TV when I’m over there!! I’ve grown up watching a channel we can get in America, called TV JAPAN, which is basically comparable to PBS over here. But I still love it, and pretty much spend an hour or two a day watching Japanese TV. 😛 Basically, most of Japanese dramas are very similar to soap operas in that they are so dramatic and cheesy that you must look away once in a while to avoid cringing. But you know, you can still get addicted to them-like me. 🙂
The reason I love to watch Japanese TV is not just because I’m a sucker for dramatics. It’s also because watching Japanese dramas, news, movies, comedy shows, fashion and music shows, etc help me keep up my Japanese. I love the fact that I can keep up with every word someone is saying on TV. My parents actually bought a TV for this exact purpose- of teaching us the Japanese that they, or Japanese school, could not. I believe watching Japanese TV from when I was very little has further immersed my brain in Japanese and made my speaking and listening of this language better.
The other reason for my love of Japanese TV is that it allows me to understand the Japanese culture a little better. I’ve always been fascinated with the Japanese way. I love to learn how the long, unique Japanese history contributes to what Japan is today. Of course, I’ve learned over the years that there are not only good parts about Japan, but also bad parts, like the strict, polite, backstabbing part. But I believe that Japan can change its ways and become a much better society in the future. 🙂 Anyway, by watching Japanese media, I am able to see how Japanese people actually live, and what they value.
Though Japanese television revealed horrendous situations in Japanese society to me, like the astounding suicide rate and loneliness, it also fueled my desire to learn more and more about Japan. I then became obsessed with reading Japanese comics, or manga, as well as read Japanese fashion magazines. These types of media allow me to learn even more about the culture that I love.
My family and I have just watched a J-pop music program called MUSIC STATION. Now my parents are watching a historical drama about the famous historical figure Sakamoto Ryoma. These historical dramas are very popular in Japan, and range from the beginnings of Japan up until the Meiji reformation, when the isolated country finally opened up to foreign trade.
So, if you would like to brush up on your Japanese skills, the best way is to buy a Japanese channel and try to understand the language, along with the culture. Good luck!