I recently purchased a Playstation 2 in order to save money. The idea was that if I could watch movies and play games at Hello House, I would be less likely to go out and spend money on the many fun things available in the greater Tokyo area.
After work I went to a nearby small video rental shop to rent a DVD. Using a combination of my bad Japanese and the clerk’s awful English I was able to get a membership and rent 28 Days Later. Getting a membership was tricky, but renting movies is also challenging. All of the movies are sorted in Japanese hiragana order; a, i, u, e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc. To find a movie you need to figure out what the name is in Japanese and look there. For example, Star Wars is written as スター・ウォーズ (sutaa uooz), so you need to look in the “SU” section. This is assuming that the Japanese movie name is the same as the English title.
When renting movies that are not in English, you need to be able to interpret which audio languages and subtitles are available. I love Jackie Chan movies, but most of the copies available were in Cantonese with Japanese subtitles.
Having a Playstation also allows me to play video games. However, since the games are available in Japanese only I need to have a dictionary nearby for any of the important dialogue. It is great language practice, but some games can be a lot of work.
Despite the challenges, I love my Playstation and 28 Days Later kicked ass.