For quite a while I was listening to a science-related Japanese podcast (here), and then after getting a bit tired of that I decided to take a break from podcasts for a few weeks. For my next podcast to use as Japanese listening practice, I went to the NHK podcast site, which generally has episodes with both high production quality and useful content.
The first one I tried out happened to catch my attention so I’ve decided to listen to all the episodes available online. It’s called 子育てカフェ (childcare cafe) and as you would expect from the title it’s all about childcare, with topics ranging from bullying, sex education, and “is my child normal” type of questions. I’ve only listened to a few episodes so far, but much of the talk has been about children in the range 3-6 years old.
This podcast has several points that make it worth listening to. First, the recordings are no-nonsense without commercials, background music, or weird intermissions that some other podcasts or audio blogs suffer from. The content also is very well structured, with experts discussing childcare-related issues by answering questions emailed in from everyday parents, and they are very frank and straightforward on many of the issues which are brought up. As a result, each episode is very information dense and I feel I’m making a good use of my limited time.
The Japanese itself has been completely 標準語 (standard Tokyo dialect) so far which is nice, and the speakers all enunciate well which makes listening easy, especially for someone like me who has a hard time following conversations when several people are talking at once, or there is bad recording quality. Some of the participants join via a phone line and occasionally I have to struggle a little to understand, but it’s bearable.
If you are currently a parent yourself with a young child you will find the content interesting and that will motivate you to pay more attention, and as a result your retention rate will increase. Of course, if you are raising your child (or children) bilingual Japanese then this is the perfect listening exercise!
Regardless if you agree with all the viewpoints presented or not, thinking about different childcare approaches (hopefully in Japanese) will do wonders to help your linguistic abilities. Even if you don’t have a child yourself, the discussion is an interesting window into Japanese culture including things like morals and the Japanese school system.
Check out the podcast and let me know what you think: