JLPT BC 20 | Using Japanese Music to Study

JLPT podcast Japanese MusicQuick Update about the Tohoku Earthquake

As of March 21st, the Fukushima plant seems to be mostly under control.  They have reduced the temperature of the spent fuel ponds to below boiling.  The situation is getting more stable, but there is still some uncertainty about the outcome of the event.  We are still holding our breath, but it appears to be a lot better than a few days ago.

I also found a funny video that explains the situation to children.  It has been subbed for your viewing pleasure:

Most people are estimating that it will take about 5 years for the Tohoku region to fully recover.  During that time, it seems some business will move out of the area down to Osaka, which is good for businesses down here I guess.

Why Music?

So, this week, I’m returning to how to study for the JLPT.  Over the last month, I’ve been moving more and more towards total immersion in Japanese.  One of those steps is to change my iPod over from English material into Japanese material.

In episodes 17 and 18, I went over podcasts, which are freely available.  This week, I’m going to go over Japanese music and what to do with it.

You may first wonder, why music?  Well, music can be listened to passively, while you are doing other things.  It also doesn’t require a lot of focus.  So, you can listen music while cooking or cleaning or some other task and not have to pay full attention to the song.

Also, music is a good way to be exposed to poetic or idiomatic usage of the words in Japanese.  And finally, I think it can be motivating in a different way.  Instead of sitting down and going through some drills, you can simply relax and listen to some music.  It might not be the most efficient way to study for the test, but it can help fill in the cracks.

Ways to Use the Music

Once you’ve found some music, you can do a google search for the song name plus 歌詞 (かし) or lyrics in Japanese.  It’s helpful to at least look at the lyrics one time to get an idea of what the song is about.

If you have some time on your hands and you are living in Japan, you can even practice the song for karaoke.  This can sometimes be more challenging than what it sounds like, but it is good fun.

At the very least, I would recommend mouthing the words to the song as you listen to it.  That way you have the mechanically memory, as in remembering the physical movement of your mouth, of the word.

Action Steps –

1) Do you currently listen to Japanese music?

2) If you do, what do you listen to?  If you don’t, what kind of music do you like?

P.S. I’m now in iTunes.  If you like the podcast, please be sure to visit iTunes and leave me a review.  If you have comments or suggestions for the podcast, by all means let me know in the comments below or contact me and let me know what I can do to improve the show.  Thanks!

Music by Kevin MacLeod, and photo by Shiv Shankar Menon Palat

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