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TV program in English in Japan

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How popular are TV shows/dramas/sitcoms in English in Japan?
How often and at what time are they aired?
Several students told me that they watch Supernatural, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Friends; which other shows are popular in Japan? (I realize this is a personal preference, but some are obviously more popular than others.)
Are there any British or Australian TV shows?
Are there any TV shows with professional jargons (Boston Legal, CSI, House MD, Bones)?
Are the TV shows in English dubbed or are the viewers provided with subtitles?
Do you think Japanese translators do a good job translating idioms?
Are DVD rental shops available in rural areas?
I've read that Netflix has been available in Japan since September last year. How popular is it?
Are documentaries in English aired in Japan at all?

I'm asking because I'm trying to help my students immerse themselves in English as much as possible.

Thanks in advance for your answers :)
 

Toritoribe

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Almost all dramas/documentaries are dubbed in Japanese. We can choose original English in bilingual broadcasting, but there is no subtitles there. They are rarely aired. Your students would watch those dramas via DVD/BR or cable TV.
 

cez

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Sure, you can recommend them Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or other streaming services. Mostly there will only be Japanese subtitles available though, probably for legal reasons.

You should also recommend online radio and podcasts which are free and listening to them can easily be turned into a habit.
 
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Thanks! They also mentioned that NHK sometimes broadcasts some kind of program in English, can someone tell me more about it?
 

Lothor

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Thanks! They also mentioned that NHK sometimes broadcasts some kind of program in English, can someone tell me more about it?
The lessons on NHK radio are good (if a bit irritatingly genki!) and all bookshops sell the accompanying workbooks, which are very affordable (under 500 yen a month). Mrs Lothor occasionally feels guilty about her woeful English and uses them for a while before reverting to 'yappari, eigo wa muzukashii ne!' mode.

The foreign language programmes I've seen on NHK television have invariably been cack, with some pretty young female presenter doing that fake 'interested' expression that they all do while listening to a good-looking American guy and some male Japanese experts pontificate (mainly in Japanese) about some grammar point. Almost zero exposure to English, almost zero effort required by the viewer.
 

Mike Cash

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I agree vigorously with @Lothor; the English educational programs put out by NHK on television are just wretched, wretched, worthless junk. But then, that hardly makes them unique. Pretty much every facet of English language education here is horrible. The horribleness can continue due to the unquestioning readiness of the Japanese people to accept the blame onto themselves and believe that they are somehow just genetically doomed to being poor at learning languages. If math and science education got as poor results and return on the investment of time and money as does English education, the people would be in the streets with pitchforks and there would be heads on pikes.

OP: There are also television series (or at least many episodes of them) available on YouTube. My wife is currently hooked on Peyton Place.
 

mdchachi

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@mdchachi Looks like they were talking about this one, thanks!

EDIT: God damn, this really is terrible! No wonder they have a hard time maintaining regular conversations when they think they should act like clowns while they are speaking.
 
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Encourage them to read. Even I can follow simple Japanese programs... Or think I can whilst getting a massive amount wrong.

Reading forces one to evaluate each word, each phrase. One can put in a month parsing a single sentence if they need to, instead of glossing over anything one doesn't understand.
 

mdchachi

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@mdchachi Looks like they were talking about this one, thanks!

EDIT: God damn, this really is terrible! No wonder they have a hard time maintaining regular conversations when they think they should act like clowns while they are speaking.
Haha. Maybe not this one but they are all kind of similar.
Here's a Back to Basics one. They added a laugh track even. Very professional. :)
NHK高校講座 | コミュニケーション英語 | 第33回 Back to the Basics
 
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I tried this, but they either say they don't have enough time or that it is too difficult for them. Besides, I'm trying to find a way to improve their listening skills. Many researchers and doctors take classes in the middle of the night because they have nothing to do during their shifts, so I was thinking that they could listen to English at least as a background noise and maybe they could start adopting phonetic patterns. As for books, the only literature they are willing to consider are children picture books (which are so simple they're silly) and short articles.
 

Mike Cash

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Encourage them to read. Even I can follow simple Japanese programs... Or think I can whilst getting a massive amount wrong.

Reading forces one to evaluate each word, each phrase. One can put in a month parsing a single sentence if they need to, instead of glossing over anything one doesn't understand.
Actually, this is one of the problems they have that holds them back. You can't get them to not spend forever parsing and stopping to look up every little thing. The skill of gleaning as much meaning and information as one can from what one does recognize/understand and to either make guesses about or to discern the difference between what can safely be skipped for the moment and what can't is a vital skill for functioning in a language in real-time. The same applies equally to reading.
 

mdchachi

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so I was thinking that they could listen to English at least as a background noise and maybe they could start adopting phonetic patterns.
One TV show that might keep their interest is America's Got Talent since you can still watch it enjoyably without knowing English; some of the phonetic patterns might seep in. There are many clips on Youtube.
America's Got Talent - YouTube
 
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@Mike Cash I've seen such examples and lots of them have a weak English basis. Many of them don't understand that they should study by levels and acquire layers of knowledge. Instead, they think they can absorb and use everything at once. On the other hand, there are those who find it intimidating to move to the next level and choose to just repeat what they already know. This is usually the time for me to remind them that the journey to the next level begins with the first new sentence construction.
 
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From my conversations about TV I've had with Japanese, the two most popular programs recently, seem to be 'The Walking Dead' and 'Sherlock'. An odd pair.
 
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