Yeah there are so many kinds of IRC channels, and for some reason people is quiet most of the time. Try saying hi and asking something, then wait for a while...
You could try irc.2ch.net
(the webpage has a "flow" rate, which shows what channels have people talking in them) and at least confirm rather than just think no one is speaking.
Or call a friend and tell him to get in a web based version of irc (like 2ch's above, or efnet's), and try it.