Once in awhile comes along a study resource thats so good, you revel in the treasure you’ve found and for a moment the thought of keeping it to yourself flashes through your mind.
Podcastle is one such site, and when I first discovered it I thought it was too good to be true. It’s a general purpose search Engine for audio podcasts as well as videos (YouTube, Nico nico douga, etc.), which supports both Japanese and English languages. It searches not only the titles but also the content within, and allows looking at transcriptions while listening to the the audio in real time. The voice recognition is done by a special engine designed by AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology or 産業技術総合研究所), a research facility housed in Tokyo. I haven’t listening to too many yet, but the transcriptions seem pretty accurate.
Just as I’ve recommended viewing Japanese TV shows and movies with Japanese subtitles, listening to audio podcasts with the parallel transcript is a great way to expand your vocabulary. Over relying on this could actually dull your listening skills (or at least make you lazier), so I would recommend first listening to a podcast without subtitles (you can download the original media file by clicking on the ‘Details’ button near the top of the page), and then a second time with the transcription.
Podcastle currently has over 250,000 episodes, and this number is growing at a surprising rate each day. Try searching for a keyword that matches one of your interests and you may discover an interesting podcast.