I’ve just discovered a new Japanese TV show from ytv that is a great tool for advanced learners of Japanese called 「日本人の知らない日本語」 (“Japanese that the Japanese Don’t Know”). It’s a comedy that plays on much of the confusion that many of us non-Japanese have felt while trying to learn about the language while living and studying in Japan. It also shows a glimpse into the frustration that many Japanese must experience when confronted with questions about aspects of their own language that they, themselves, don’t know or understand.
The first episode tackles such topics as why Japanese definitions for certain Chinese characters are different from those in China (earning the teacher a scolding from one of the Chinese students and a demand that the Japanese stop doing this), the names for various kitchen tools, the system for counting different objects in Japanese, and how to refer to tea depending on when in the meal you drink it. It also establishes the main characters and shows the how teacher character comes into her own and develops her own outside-the-box (for Japan) system for teaching her language students.
If you are an intermediate-to-advanced student of Japanese, or have a high tolerance for not understanding a lot of what is thrown at you, this show could be a fantastic learning tool. It’s also pretty amusing.
Ironically, I had just ordered two comic-based language books last week from Amazon.JP that share the same title. Apparently, the comics were the inspiration for the TV show. So now I will have not only the show, but the books to go with it, despite not even knowing of the show’s existence when I ordered the books.
I’ve added the books to my store, but it doesn’t seem that Amazon will let you buy them directly. There are, however, other options available once you click over to the main website. Provided your Japanese is good enough, you always have the option to go straight to Amazon.JP to search for and order the books directly. Warning: International shipping costs from Japan to the US can be quite steep. If you’re going to do this, I recommend building up a number of books to ship at once, rather than ordering them one or two at a time.