Advice for Listening Practice

does listening to podcasts, etc. for even 5-10 mins a day make a difference? I watch YouTube videos of people talking about their journey and one of them had 4 hours of listening everyday. I want to be able to improve my listening skills as fast as possible but I feel like I need to do at least 3 hours a day for that.

on top of that I’m confused between active and passive listening. I don’t have time to do active listening for that long and I’m worried if that will make me take forever to get a hang of listening.

sorry if there’s already a thread about this :sweat_smile:


Passive listening is good for giving your brain a chance to get used to the sounds of the languages. You won’t start to magically understand stuff just from passive listening, but more passive listening could make your active listening attempts more successful. You start to get a better sense for the rhythm, hearing common combinations of sounds, distinguishing similar sounds, etc.

But yeah, active listening is the most critical. I wouldn’t worry that you don’t have time for 3 hours of active listening… that would be exhausting for a beginner.

I would say, try to make time every day for some active listening, and make sure it’s something you care about. If you don’t care, you’ll either find yourself zoning out and not remaining active, or it’ll just be excrutiating.


thank for the quick reply!

this made a lot of sense i just needed someone to tell me this haha


Well…As fast as possible would require you to put in as much time and effort in as possible. From the sounds of it though, you don’t wanna do that though, and I can’t say I blame you. Realistically, any amount of work you put in will make a difference, so just do as much as you’re willing and it’ll add up. Like leebo said, active listening can kinda be exhausting as a beginner and maybe even frustrating depending on your personality.

As for how long it will take to get the hang of listening, it depends on your goals and time/effort spent. Honestly, it might take forever if you have high goals and low time/effort put in. Japanese in general just takes a lot of time, yknow. So much so, in fact, that I would say its not even worth worrying about how long some long run stuff will take. Just focus on maximizing the day to day learning and try to enjoy it. If you can enjoy the process, then suddenly it really doesn’t matter how much time it takes. That’s what I did and it served me well. Honestly part of me wishes I could go back to the days where I was struggling to read and was hyped to be working through a visual novel.


this was kind of a wake up call for me lol. i don’t know why i thought i put in a lot of effort because i actually don’t. also yes you’re right about the high goals and low effort. i’ll stop slacking and GET ON WITH IT hehehe


ganbaroni brotheroni


I think there’s a huge difference between what different people imagine when they say “passive listening”. Personally I think that listening to something you’ve never heard before while doing another task that requires a lot of focus isn’t worth the distraction.
Whenever I can spare maybe 30% of my attention or more (while doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, exercising, shopping, …) I’ve found it really helpful.

Some general advice for passive listening I found helpful:

  • Make it something you’ve actively watched/listened to before so you know what’s going on even if you miss parts of it. (No using eng subs ofc!)
    E.g. taking the audio from fitting anime episodes and putting it in a playlist.
  • Make sure it’s something that has lots of talking and not so much screaming. Maybe cut out the opening with Audacity.
  • Make it something you don’t mind listening to multiple times. Personally I still chuckle at Slice of Life/Comedy animes even when it’s just the audio.

Side note: It really surprised me just how much you could have potentially understood watching an episode for the first time, but simply didn’t.


I found it really helpful in the beginning to actively listen to a mix of interesting native material (anime, drama, podcast etc) while also including simple, below your level material for learners (N5, N4 listening tests for example). In this way you get to remind yourself WHY you are learning Japanese while also experiencing a sense of achievement when you can really understand what you are listening to even though it’s super basic stuff.


This is exactly where I’m at right now. I’ve been studying Japanese for nearly two years at this point and I’m now at a point where I can stumble my way through books and it’s incredibly exciting. I’m starting to understand stray Japanese that shows up in the background or pick up what someone is saying in a game or anime. Things are just starting to click (and this is even without having really studied grammar).

Listening is the next hurdle for sure; v good tips in this thread to consider for the future.


This is A LOT. Perhaps if you love watching anime after school/work you can get some of that time in, but it seems like you’re overdoing it or maybe are in love with Japanese radio or podcasts. I don’t know.

I think just putting in any amount of time listening is worth-wile. And doing so regularly is probably best.

Like @Leebo said, first up you’ll want to get used to those sounds and just let your mind start to parse what you hear into distinct words and then phrases. That will help you relax more while listening, so it’s less strenuous.

This is mostly a matter of time and exposure. So, be patient with yourself. You’ll get there.

I can’t say I’ve done much passive listening. I’ve mainly done active listening as part of media consumption: Japanese music, drama CDs, anime, movies, games etc.

Something that is engaging and that I want to listen to, is what I go for and I recommnend. Also, when I feel tired and my brain refuse to Japanese anymore, I just stop and do something else for a while.

You sort of build up tolerance with time so you don’t as easily get tired from listening. Take your time and just find something enjoyable and work on it regularly and you’ll get there.

Also, if you want tips on what to listen to, you can find some tips here:

Good luck! ^>^

listening cat


thanks for the tips I think these will really help for passive listening :slight_smile:

i really like this because I remember how motivated I was when I saw just one word that I understood in some anime that I was watching. this will make sure I won’t burn out if I’m motivated enough

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thanks alot for the listening resources!! and I really like the detailed response. this actually motivates me to do more. I’m excited to start listening now :grin:

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nihongo no teppi
noriko with teppi.

when u finish basic grammar and beginner to the beginning of intermediate, thats when you should start listening to podcast.

but its better to listen to audio drama on youtube. just google translate audio drama in japanese, copy/paste that youtube, listen to it as u study grammar.

the nihongo no teppi is 5 mins a day. since i know grammar, sometimes i replay it back too.

noriko no teppi has varies of times. 5 min conversation to 10 min conversation.

I actually do listen to nihongo con teppei. His are pretty easy to understand too! I replay them alot haha. I’ll try noriko no teppei for sure too thank you!

I think the most important thing is to think about what is sustainable for you in terms of practice. We all have different schedule and life responsibilities; obviously in an ideal world you’d be able to listen to Japanese all day everyday and improve faster, but that’s likely not possible.

So the real question is, what can you do everyday? What can you do every week? Maybe what works for you is to do 15 minutes of passive listening everyday and then have an hour on the weekend where you do active listening. Maybe it’s having podcasts in the background during the day and then actively listening while watching a short video once a day, etc.


you’re right. I think I try to do too much in one day and end up overwhelmed. I’ll start doing the maximum I can and like you said I’ll write down daily and weekly goals. thank you!

Depending on your work/commute, you can also actively listen while doing other things. I used to listen to downloaded TV episodes at work, and now listen to audiobooks while working sometimes.

Another thing is that you can kinda combine some of your study time. If you can find an in-Japanese explanation of N5-N4 (or whatever level you’re at) grammar, you’ll be reinforcing grammar study while also listening to intentionally-simple and clear-spoken Japanese that uses terminology you’ll already be familiar with as it’s language learning terminology. I thiiiink 日本語の森 has stuff like this, but I’m not positive. I know they have plenty of in-japanese discussions of N3-N1 material.

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