Japanese Immersion: September week 1

The main thing I did to listen to Japanese this week was watching episodes from 『ちびまる子ちゃん』.

『舟を編む』by director 石井裕也I also re-watched the film 『舟を編む』which is one of my favourite films. I love equally the novel by Shion MIURA (三浦しをん) as the film by director Yuya ISHII (石井裕也)

I really recommend this film to anyone interested in the publishing world, dictionaries and the pursuit of one’s ideal against sales and profit considerations. This film always makes me feel that hard work and dedication can always win against the lack of immediate recognition and approval. I also have to fight an impulse to buy a paper dictionary!


I have found a YouTube live video called “JapaNews24 ~ 海外へ日本のニュースをLIVE配信” on the channel ANNnewsCH. I wish I had known sooner that such a live video exist. Apparently, they take broadcasted news in Japan, put them all together in a YouTube live video for people living outside Japan. I don’t know exactly when they add new contents, but it seems to be always news from the same day.

Anyway, I like watching it for several reasons:

  • First of all, easy access is the key to immersion in your target language. If I had to go to a website, select a video or have to wait for something to load… I would certainly never do it. To me, nothing is more accessible than YouTube because I already spend too much time on it.
  • The fact that it runs without interruption is also very useful. They have to cut the program for maintenance for several hours once a week, but that’s it. You can launch the video at any time and let it run.
  • It is much easier to understand the news on TV rather than on the radio. Not only do the images help to understand what it is about, but the text that appears on screen is also great support.

I am very glad that I have found that. I don’t watch it for long periods of time, but I took the habit of letting it run while I am busy with other things. The fact that it is easily accessible on my phone and that it is always current and fresh contents are two very appealing points.

It also helps in keeping touch with what happens in Japan, particularly with the recent typhoon and the earthquake in Hokkaido…

Liberal Democratic Party election

I try to follow the election, but it is not very exciting… 🙄

From what I understand, there are 405 votes from Diet members and 405 votes from the local party members. This being said, there are more than one million party members with the right to vote. I read that the votes are redistributed among the candidates according to the D’Hondt method or “highest averages method”… but here we are far beyond the range of what I can speak of with confidence. So, to summarise, there are votes of the Diet members and votes of the local party members and they are both equal: 405 votes each. The local party members have until the 19th to vote and the 405 Diet party members will vote on the 20th. The results, I think, will be announced on the 20th too.

There was a handful of potential candidates but most of them announced that they would not compete. With Seiko NODA’s announcement this week that she didn’t collect the necessary support of 20 Diet members to become a candidate, we know that this year’s confrontation will be a duel between Shinzo ABE and Shigeru ISHIBA. Their candidature was officially announced today but their speech and the press conference are reported until Monday due to the Hokkaido earthquake.

Abe is looking for a third mandate. He won the elections in 2012 and in 2015 there was no other candidate anyway, so they didn’t hold the election and Abe stayed at the head of the party. Abe’s main propositions are the Abenomics and the Constitution: he wants to keep both the paragraph 1 (Japan renounces war) and the paragraph 2 (Japan does not keep army forces) but add a clear mention of the Self-Defense Force. Shigeru Ishiba wants to modify the Abenomics and suppress the paragraph 2 altogether.

Even if there are two candidates, there is a general lack of interest at the local level for the election because the positions among the Diet members is clear: Abe will certainly win with a crushing majority. This Mainichi article says that 80% of the Diet votes will go to Abe.

People seem concerned with the participation rate at the local level. As our article says:




There is also the possibility that some people might not vote in reaction to the Mori-Kake scandals.

These two scandals, while very present in the news, did not affect Abe’s chances to win a third mandate. Among the reasons that speak for him are the economic results and the fact that people trust him to handle international affairs:

Shunichi SUZUKI (LDP member and member of the House of Representatives) points out the economic results and says that there is no need to change: (source)


and Taro ASO (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance) underlines Abe’s ability to deal with Trump, saying that Abe is certainly the only one capable of being a good interlocutor to the American’s president:


He also adds:


Does 顔 have another meaning I am not aware of? Or did he actually said “その顔を比べて”? 😮


I am glad that I am reading the news again. It is still very difficult to understand the spoken news though. When I watch the JapaNews24, I sometimes understand very little or nothing at all. There is no other choice than to persevere and continue listening to a lot of Japanese while learning new words through Anki!