Since where I am currently cannot boast a huge Japanese community I have to settle for Internet resources to keep my Japanese alive. I get quite a lot of stuff from youtube as well as various podcasts. Of these, japanesepod101.com is probably the most popular.
At first I thought it was a good podcast. They’ve got casts at different levels. I could listen to some more advanced stuff while at the same time making sure that my language foundations don’t completely rot away. Then came the cracks.
First of all, Peter, or should I say ピーターさん. Why does the guy have to sound like a teenager who has just caught a glimpse of a woman’s nipples? Stop talking about how amazing your methodology is and just get on with it. I’m sure japanesepod101.com has quite a few paying subscribers by now. Surely you could put a few sessions with a shrink for this guy into the annual budget?
Peter used to be my #1 and only annoyance. Enter Fabrizio. Fabrizio is a regular character on the lower-level casts. He is hysterical, the only one who speaks heavily accented Japanese and a weird character in general. He is also supposed to be Italian. All the other “foreign” characters all speak perfect Japanese. Only Fabrizio, the “Italian character” is singled out to have negative traits. Why is that?
Close your eyes. Think of a specific group of people who tend to be exceptionally bad at learning any language apart from their own. Open your eyes again. Did you think of Italians. No, I didn’t think so. Any character from *that* particular country (no need to mention the name as they are very touchy, but think “nuclear super-power”) is made to speak perfect Japanese (sooooo unlike real life). I don’t mind a bit of fun-making with people’s accents, but why does it have to be that only the “Italian” character is made to look like a hysterical idiot? Do the folks at japanesepod101.com have anything in particular against Italians?
I *cough, cough* wouldn’t really want mention what most of the world thinks of the foreign language talents of the average Japanese person. It wouldn’t be fair. I know a lot of Japanese people who are very good a speaking foreign languages. I once met a Japanese lady who had learned to speak Twi fluently in a very short time (put me to shame). Somehow japanesepod101.com creates a mostly orderly world where harmony is broken by one mentally unstable character from Italy who cannot speak Japanese as well as the Amer.. oops, my typing finger almost slipped there.
I’ve decided to spend a little bit of money this year on a few good podcasts this year. I can’t say I’m swimming in money, but there some people out there working hard to put good language-related podcasts out. Like the good people at chinesepod.com. If you want to learn or improve your Chinese go and sign up with them. They deserve it.
I know I won’t spend a penny on japanesepod101.com. I’ll only change my mind if you (a) don’t ridicule anybody or (b) ridicule everybody, including people from that super-power, even if they are sensitive and can’t handle criticism.
Otherwise I’ll scout around for other Japanese language podcasts. Anybody know of any good ones? Please don’t recommend any Anime/Manga-oriented (don’t even think there is a hidden pun there) casts though..