Recently I purchased the DVD set of a Japanese drama show on ebay. I knew the DVDs would come without English subtitles, but I bought them anyway. First of all, I figure that we (Japan-TV) might get around to subtitling it, if I can convince a team to take it on. But more than that, I had previously seen the first few episodes with English subs, and the rest of the series was never similarly released. I really wanted to know how the thing ended, so I bought the DVDs.
I knew going into it that I wouldn't be able to understand the dialoge, but I assumed that, armed with a basic understanding of the plot, I'd be able to gleam enough from tone, facial expressions, and body language to follow around. I haven't finished the show yet, but things have been working out well enough, considering the circumstances. There have been a few developments that I haven't been 100% clear on, but all-in-all I feel pretty good about the experience. I even discovered that I understood more Japanese than I thought I did.
Many people would find watching a show in a language they didn't understand a frustrating experience, but I'm pretty used to it. When I was younger I used to watch Chinese shows with relatives, and they didn't have English subtitles and I don't understand Mandarin or Cantonese. I actually had a pretty good time. You can gleam a lot, even without understanding the words, and with some imagination you can even work out some kind of plot.
Anyway, if anyone gets a chance to check out Tokyo Love Story, preferably in a language they can understand, I recommend it.