How do you guys go about listening practice for Japanese?

I’m not really sure how to get proper listening into my study and I’m just looking for suggestions, Thanks

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Not sure if you’ve tried it yet but Japanesepod101 is pretty good, you can listen to a few courses for free and they play the dialogues three times, once at normal speed, again slower and finally normal speed but with English translations after each line. My worst skill for N5 was listening but I wish I’d have found Jpod101 before I took the test! (just scraped a pass!)


If you have a textbook, recordings of lesson text are usually really good for beginners because they’re not too fast and generally don’t have too much complicated vocabulary for you to recognise on the fly.

That aside, you could look at the lesson from NHK’s Japanese Learning page:

Most of them are meant for beginners or intermediate students and come with Japanese subtitles. Once again, the dialogue is fairly simple and could be a good way to learn or practise simple structures. Admittedly, just like in beginners’ textbooks, the dialogue may not always be all that realistic, but it’s proper Japanese, at the least.

When you’re more advanced (or even now, honestly, if you’re an anime fan), you might want to try watching anime or other media. Many people ask for Japanese subtitles, and some sites do provide them, but they’re usually either illegal (i.e. the site is streaming content without a licence) or require you to load the subtitles yourself (i.e. the site provides transcriptions submitted by users, but you’ll have to learn how to display it in sync with the videos you’re watching). A better solution, in my opinion, is to use transcriptions from reaction blogs. I typically use what I find on Anicobin if the anime aired after 2013:

  • I google ‘[anime name in Japanese] [episode number in Arabic numerals e.g. 7]話 感想 アニコビン’ or ‘…話 感想 anicobin’ (感想=‘feelings about something’, usually after experiencing it)
  • I open the reaction page in another tab behind the tab in which I’m watching the anime
  • I check the words above the screenshots (which are quotes from the relevant scenes) for anything I don’t know

Depending on the anime, anything between 60% and 90+% of the dialogue is transcribed, so it’s really great, and that helps you avoid having to guess what’s going on without any help. I could be wrong, but I also believe that the more recent the anime, generally, the more detailed the transcriptions are. Doing listening practice this way is good for

  1. Reinforcing common words
  2. Picking up lots of new vocabulary while having fun (provided you like anime and you have a good dictionary open to help you look new words up. is one; is another that’s even better, IMO; and if you’re on a Mac, check out what the Dictionary app has to offer)

As for things between ‘beginner stuff’ and ‘anime-level’, I don’t have many recommendations aside from NHK for School, which is aimed at Japanese schoolchildren. There are Japanese transcriptions and subtitles, but you’ll probably have to look around a bit (and learn the names of the different grades in the Japanese school system) before you’ll find something that you can understand and which you enjoy.

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The Level 1 (N5) course is for free, but I had to pay for N4 and up. Still, a very nice platform and the teachers are very polite and encouraging! I second this :slight_smile: .

My listening practice looks mostly like this:

  • mornings with the news digest Google Assistant gives me (weather forecast, 4-5 radio/TV stations)
  • the Japanews24 stream on YouTube
  • loads of anime (some like しろくまカフェ are actually geared towards learners and children, some are a little more challenging, especially when the characters speak fast and very casually)
  • songs (always something playing in the background), but this might not necessarily be the best idea, because in songs the length of sounds is adjusted to the melody

Netflix! Tons of Japanese media with Japanese subtitles. I wait to hear something I don’t understand, pause the show, and write it down to study later. I prefer dramas over anime because the dialogue is more like natural every day speaking. Some that I’ve watched are Alice in Borderland, Midnight Diner, My Husband Won’t Fit, and I want to check out Atelier at some point. Also watching media over structured listening practice can be great because you cultivate a sense of everyday speech between people at the time it was made which is great for picking up slang! It also gives you a point of reference for pop culture outside of anime stuff hehe


Nihongo con Teppei podcasts! Hands down the best. I was just using anime before I found him because all the podcasts I found about Japanese seems to be mostly in English. But anime is pretty hard without subs and when I’m reading the subs I don’t take in what they’re saying as well.

His podcasts are in Japanese, but they are targeted to people learning the language so he is mindful of that and does things like explaining what things mean (usually in Japanese) a lot. It might seem like a lot if you’re a beginner, but I find it exciting to see how I can understand more and more of it as I progress with my vocabulary and grammar learning.

There is the general one for intermediate level:

And there is one where he speaks more slowly and talks about more basic topics for a Beginner level:

They are also on apple podcast and all the other places. Give it a try!


Audible, it always hard to listen to books since it’s not easy to look things up and you don’t have kanji to help you “guess”

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I do both listening practice with and without Japanese subtitles. The former ends up being reading practice more often than not, but the audio and text together help me read faster than I would by myself. The latter is difficult but from what I gather, the actual gains are considerably bigger.

I use JapanesePod101 and Netflix as well. Some other sources that help me:

  • NHK news.
  • Whatever’s trending on YouTube in Japan. There’s a good mix of YouTubers who subtitle their own videos and those who don’t.
  • Asahi Shimbun’s YouTube channel.
  • Tokusatsu shows that I have DVDs of like Ultraman and Sentai shows. Shout Factory has put out a lot of these and they’re good about adding English soft subtitles.

I do this too. Alice in Borderland felt really weird to go through with Japanese subtitles! But fortunately, there was enough visual information to go a long way. I’ve actually been rewatching it with English subtitles just because I’m legitimately interested in the show now.

If you haven’t seen them yet, Erased and Little Miss Sumo are really good too!


I mostly watch Japanese youtubers and listen to podcasts on the Radiotalk app.


you should try watching some news, interviews and documentals in Japanese.

It worked for me!! at the same time try to identify words and Kanjis.
you’ll be amazed that even when you don´t understand everything, you can guess some stuff.
Greetings from Mexico!!


Oh yes, if I’m not wrong, NHK News Web Easy articles often come with recordings, so you can get listening practice and reading practice with content that’s meant to be relatively simple. :slight_smile:

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I watch too much Anime without subtitles.

When I first started it was just to see if I could hear words I knew and after a while, I started hearing where there are “word breaks” (technically concept breaks?) and such.

Still not good at making my own conversational sentences but I am really good at hearing Japanese and being able to copy what I hear at least.


Oddly enough, my boredom threshold is higher with untranslated media. I’ve been watching the original Ultra Q. When I first tried to watch it with English subtitles, I thought it was boring. But I actually stay engaged when I disable the subtitles and force myself to use the show for listening practice. Ironically, I have a wider range of interests than I would if I knew what was going on.

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