Advice for people living in Japan that want new ways to study

Hey guys, I know quite a few people here are currently living in Japan, and more than that are planning on coming here in the future for working holidays, etc,.

I just thought I would make a thread for study advice for those that want to make the most of their time here. Feel free to add your own advice if you also live here and have found good methods. Please do not post things that can be done from outside of Japan, let’s keep this to (only doable in Japan) advice.

My number one tip, take a portable hard drive with you (or buy one in Japan), then get a membership to Tsutaya. Tsutaya is a DVD rental shop and has very affordable prices, especially if you rent in bulk. Copyright laws are different in Japan to most other countries, and you are legally allowed to copy most forms of creative media (for personal use only) … Actually any rental shop will sell blank DVD’s and Bluray discs right at the counter to help you do this. Almost any movie you can think of is available in DVD or Bluray format with Japanese sub, Japanese dub, English original and English sub. So it is a perfect opportunity to stock up on movies that you may want to watch at some point in Japanese. For the most part, the dubs are fantastic quality, and beyond that, most Japanese people watch big budget movies in the dubbeb format, so you will hear a lot of ‘catch phrases’ etc that become part of common cultural vernacular. On top of this, Tsutaya doesnt just have DVDs and Blurays, they also have CD’s and manga.

Edit: (Here is a little bit about the laws in Japan for those who are interested)

私的使用のための複製
カーステレオで使うために音楽CDをMDにコピーする場合や、テレビ番組を録画予約しておいて後日自分で録画した番組を見る場合などのように、家庭内など限られた範囲内で、仕事以外の目的に使用することを目的として、使用する本人がコピー(複製)する場合の例外です。インターネットを通じて得た著作物をダウンロードしたりプリントアウトしたりすること(いずれも「コピー」に該当する)にも、この例外は適用されます。また、学校の児童生徒などが本人の「学習」のために行うコピー(コンピュータ、インターネット等の利用を含む)も、この例外の対象です。

【条件】
ア 家庭内など限られた範囲内で、仕事以外の目的に使用すること
イ 使用する本人がコピーすること
ウ 誰でも使える状態で設置してあるダビング機など(当分の間は、コンビニのコピー機など「文献複写」のみに用いるものは除く)を用いないこと
エ コピープロテクションを解除して(又は解除されていることを知りつつ)コピーするものでないこと

Basically the translation is, use only for personal use. You can only COPY digital media, not download it, you must not use it for commercial purposes, you must not share with other people.

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Wow I didn’t know that. I haven’t used a DVD or Blueray disk in a very long time. Do the disks themselves not have some kind of protection on them? Do you use a particular program to do that that you recommend?

Anyway it might seem obvious but a lot of people don’t seem to know that if you are a resident you can make a library card at your city library and borrow books for free from your city library which may have many branches. If your Japanese ability is low and you want to study through the extensive reading method by reading easier content in large quantities you can save a ton of money because lower-level books like childrens books are expensive and hardly take any time to read, so if you use a library you can borrow tons of low level books and read through them quickly for free. Borrowing books from a library can also be good for habit forming/goal setting. For example if the return limit is two weeks you can try borrowing two books every two weeks and setting the goal of finishing two books every two weeks etc.

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The most common way is using a program called makemkv, it automatically reads the cds/blurays and gives you a list of the files on it, from which you choose what one you want to keep. The movie file is always the biggest one, so very easy program to use.

Discs do have copy protection, but makemkv bypasses it. From the user perspective it’s super simple, no button pressing required apart from ‘copy’. Good idea with the library card!