There are a lot of tools that you can use to help learn Japanese and improve your abilities. One of them is a social media site that most of us use on a daily basis. Today’s post will be about using YouTube in Japanese and the many things you can do with it.
You can watch Japanese videos very easily by typing the right words into the search bar. You can also change the interface and geographical location to get a more immersive experiences.
There is one special quality that I recommend that always look for in videos, and I’ll talk about that and how you can use it in a really powerful way to learn Japanese near the end of this article.
Watching Japanese Videos On YouTube
In order to access videos on YouTube that were made by Japanese people, all you have to do is go to the website and then type something into the search bar in Japanese.
You can do this pretty quickly if you have a Japanese keyboard activated on your computer or phone.
This can be a great tool if you know what you want to look for, such as DIY videos, comedy, or even a specific YouTuber from Japan.
If not, you can also try typing in some random words, names, or even genres to see what pops up.
One useful phrase that you might try is やさしい日本語 which means “easy Japanese” and is generally easy to follow along when you’re learning Japanese as a second language.
The two most important things are to find content that you can understand and enjoy. IT might be a little tricky at first to find videos that fit both of these, but there are countless videos on that site so I’m sure that with some searching you can find some.
Changing Your Language & Location
If you want to have a more immersive experience with Japanese and YouTube, then you should change your settings in two major ways.
The first is to change your geographical location to Japan. This will allow you to access the Japanese version of YouTube, but more than that it will tell the site that you are interested in the videos that people in Japan are making.
The most obvious change will be the “Trending” tab. Try clicking on it and seeing which videos are hot right now in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Overtime, as the system’s algorithms see what videos you watch and combine that information with other factors, you should start getting recommendations from other Japanese YouTubers.
The other thing to do is to change the interface language into Japanese. This will allow you to start learning all of the verbiage that gets used for the different buttons and options in Japanese.
In my experience, it can be a little overwhelming and hard to learn the readings and meanings of these buttons at first since there’s not a lot of additional context besides the kanji that it shows.
But by sticking with it and interacting on a daily basis they will begin to sink into your mind and you will eventually be able to navigate your way around it like you currently do in English.
In order to makes these two changes, all you have to do is click on your profile picture in the top right corner (assuming you’re on PC) and then go down to the Language and Location buttons.
Look For Videos With Subtitles
Earlier I mentioned that there is one quality that you should always look for in a Japanese YouTube video. That quality, or element, is subtitles. This is also known as “closed captions” which is why you typically turn them on or off with the CC button in English.
There might be multiple options as to which subtitles to use, so you then have to click on the gear symbol next to it and then select “Japanese” from the list.
The reason why this is so important is because a lot of people speak quickly on YouTube videos and if you don’t already know the words that they are using, there is a pretty good chance that you will miss it.
However, if you find a video with Japanese subtitles, you can turn them on and then see exactly what the person is saying and look up the meaning of any new words that you encounter.
Something to keep in mind is that YouTube uses technology to “auto-generate” subtitles for a lot of their videos. When it comes to the English language, it’s actually pretty good (although not perfect by any means).
When it comes to Japanese, it is terrible!
I highly recommend that you only use subtitles that have been manually entered. Stay away from the computer generated ones.
Importing Videos With LingQ
If you’ve been to my blog before and taken a look around, then you probably know that I am a big fan of the language learning site LingQ.
I’ve written a review on LingQ before that goes over my complete thoughts and experience with using it, but for the purposes of today’s blog post I only want to talk about how it relates to YouTube.
LingQ has the ability to import YouTube videos and the subtitles into a lesson that allows you to easily watch the video and read along at the same time.
Furthermore, the way that LingQ works is that every time you click on a Japanese word you can look up its meaning instantly.
The reason why I love this is because it makes learning new words quick and easy. Before when I would just watch videos on YouTube with the subtitles turned on, I would have to do a lot of searching when they used a kanji that I didn’t know.
Looking up a new kanji by radical or stroke order is a real pain, but that particular problem gets solved by utilizing the technology that LingQ has.
Which Videos Do You Like?
At this point, you should have a good idea of how to use YouTube to learn Japanese. I’ve talked about my own thoughts on how best to use this tool, but I’d also like to hear your own thoughts.
If you’ve got any questions over the things that I’ve mentioned, then let me know by putting your question in the comments section below.
Or if you know of any other ways to use the site in order to improve your language skills, then be sure to share that knowledge as well so that others (and myself) can benefit from it.
As always, thanks for reading!