The Japanese Drama

Hotaru no Hikari


1. Download the variety show/video (usually they’re subbed avi files).

For variety I usually watch “Himitsu no Arashi-chan” (Find it on livejournal) . For dramas, I’ve watched “Kimi wa Pet,” “Yamada Taro Monogatari,” “Ryusei no Kizuna,” “Hotaru no Hikari,” etc. If you can’t download it, you can probably find it on or

2. Jot down words you don’t understand.

do it. here’s what my list looks like:

Notice it’s anything but neat. It’s just a list of words I noticed and the translations as provided by the subtitles.

If you’re watching the video online, you could use bookmarklet to look up words as you watch. which allows you to search words instantly with definitions displayed in a separate pop-out menu.

3. Make liberal use of the pause/slow down button.



If you’re already advanced, you may not need to do this, but if you’re new to listening to people talking fast and furious, I recommend pressing the pause button frequently. VERY FREQUENTLY.

If you’ve already downloaded the file, you can use to watch it. This free program allows you to slow down the speed of the video so that it is easier to understand what the heck is going on. So instead of “qwoieujakfagj,” you hear “なんやって??”. Ahhhh~ much better!

4. Look up the words.

Then, after watching, I look up the words and find examples via dictionaries and the occasional google search. Sometimes, you’ll find that two words have the same or similar pronunciation but different meanings, and you can’t remember which one was mentioned in the video. You might have to go back and listen a few more times.

I also compile them into a list and loosely categorize them, although this is probably not necessary.