Mr. BRAIN love!!

A huge part of learning is practice, of course, and this is where my own self study falls flat in its face. I suppose I have so many chances to practice the language here in New York if I applied myself, but, because I’m lame and shy, and worried about looking stupid, I can never make myself try. I take flashcards with me everywhere I go to up my vocabulary, I learn grammar structures every week, and I use several textbooks and reference books, including the ubiquitous Japanese for Busy People, but it is never enough. 

That’s because learning a language isn’t just reading, writing, and speaking. It’s also listening, and that’s another little hurdle I have to jump over, though it’s nowhere near as difficult to overcome as finding opportunities to speak. What should I be listening to in order to help train my ear? 

I visited MYSOJU to check out some Japanese dramas, because I was told they were awesome and addicting and a totally painless way to get some immersion in.  I figured I could watch one “part” (about 15 minutes) in the morning as I did my makeup, and then again at night as I put on my pimple cream/wrinkle destroyer/delouser emollient.  But I only managed to stay with that resolution for about a month or so. The experience was just too dreadful. 

Now, to be fair, I gave up relatively quickly, and the number of shows is staggering, so I may have just gotten unlucky. But, so far, the only  thing I learned from watching a few of these dramas is that female protagonists on Japanese TV, though often stunningly beautiful and polished beyond my wildest aspirations, are actually mean spirited and rotten people I would never want to run into in any context. 

Thankfully, KimuTaku heard my cries for help, just like he hears the petitions of all true believers, and came out with a hilarious House/CSI hybrid called MR. BRAIN last year. Oh! My Goodness!! I think I’m in love. Why can’t all television have this much camp? I love the guest stars (GACKT is the biggest hambone on the planet today; werk), I love him, and I love the adorable assistant’s part, played by Ayase Haruka. She’s drop dead beautiful, but manages to stay goofy and cute in a way that’s believable. 

This series is the first and only one to really suck me in, and I am still re-watching whenever I have a moment that calls for white noise.  But I am sure the novelty of watching the same crimes get solved is going to fade soon, and I doubt very much that I’m going to be able to get into Kimura’s new series, Moon Lovers. It just doesn’t seem like my thing. I want funny, goofy, or creepy, not sexual tension. Does anyone out there know of a funny, charming Japanese series for me to listen to in the mornings? Something with my true favorite SMAPper Shingo Katori, maybe?

Someone give this guy his own TV show!! Oh, wait...he has, like, 82 already.

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