Thursday, April 18, 2013

Japan Radio Review: FM Hirakata

So I mentioned some time back how I'd been fiddling with getting internet Radio working with Android, but I've also been doing some tinkering and made a website with links to live stations in japan. More on that another time, perhaps.

Principally I've been listening to FM Hirakata. My goal here is to learn Japanese while doing other things (usually work, programming or translating*).

FM Hirakata is a fairly good mix between talk and music, and here in the UK, my listening times often coincide with the Hirakata top 30, which generally airs from about 1pm GMT and again at around 7pm GMT, but check the link for the exact JST times if you're interested, as it varies.

You might be thinking that if you're keen on learning Japanese that picking a station so heavy on music isn't terribly helpful... To an extent, you'd be right, music is a terrible, terrible way of learning Japanese. Obscure language and concepts that you're almost never going to use in conversation litter music.

What I would argue (and this may well just go for me) is that I really can't passively take in that much Japanese in one go. After a few minutes my brain has completely blocked the radio out. Its at times like this I switch over to FM hirakata, and like pickled ginger cleansing the palate, my brain is able to take on Japanese again.

With that in mind, the fact that I find most J-pop pretty... Well, terrible... Doesn't really matter all that much. Though I can imagine there are lots of people out there who would be totally horrified by the idea of switching over to a Japanese chart show**. Then, I also quite like to have an idea of what is going on culturally in Japan, which also takes an edge off of it.

*You might be thinking that it is strange that I differentiate between "work" and "translating"... Ironically, the reason for this is that I get paid for freelance translating, whereas my "work" is my PhD, for which my funding has run out.. Nevertheless, I spend far more time on my PhD than translating.

**Indeed, even for me, the very mention of AKB48 is enough to warrant a scramble to change station, find the mute button, or failing that, run screaming from the room.

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