How to immerse yourself at the beginning?

Hi,
I’ve been studying Japanese for a few months. I do Wanikani, Bunpro, Kaniwani, Kitsun and a level of Japanese at my university, but sadly I’m kind of poor, so I can’t pay for all those services. That means that I’ll have to study by other means. The real problem is that I have seen that most of you say that is important to immerse in the language since the beginning, and those who didn’t do it from the beginning, usually regret. My personal problem is that I can’t really understand the material from N5, then it has been frustrating to “immerse” myself in the language. Any advice for this poor soul that wants to learn useful Japanese and not just random words from apps. Thanks.

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If you like anime there are some places you can watch for free with Japanese subtitles. Some recommend Japanese subtitles since you won’t rely on the English and have to actually actively listen/look things up to understand. There’s some resources here: http://learnjapaneseonline.info/2017/05/09/learn-japanese-with-anime-new-free-resources/

I remember at least one of them having both English and Japanese subs as an option… which can be nice, that way if you really don’t understand you can turn on Eng subs for a second lol.

I finished N5 and N4 vocab and knew some basic grammar before I even attempted immersion but everyone is different.

If you want to learn words in context/example sentences then I would recommend 10k anki deck, it’s not immersion but at least it’s not just “words from apps” as you say. I like the Nayr’s 5k deck a lot too. I say the sentences out loud usually to practice my mouth. xD;

Graded readers are a good starting point.

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This isn’t an inexpensive option but you can get a tutor on italki (I’m sure there are similar sites too), with rates that vary but many have $10 per hour, so once a week would be $40 for the month. Paying for my tutor (I think she was $15 an hour) was a bit of a struggle for me but I think it was worth it. I don’t like learning by apps, so I would lose some of the apps and put that money towards a tutor. I don’t currently have a tutor for misc reasons but I still think my tutor was extremely helpful to me. If you can make $40 a month work somehow, do consider it.

I just sat down with a dictionary, a grammar reference and some OCR software and got to work.

animelon , i believe! :slight_smile:

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What has been working decently well for me: Get any long text availble online, such as stories, web novel, or anything that interests you. Use a reading tool such as yomichan or japanese.io to read without caring too much about vocab. At first, just focus on getting used to the sentence structures and how the grammar is used. Search for grammar points and read about them. Add the vocab you find to anki or any other SRS app you like if you want to review them later.

After getting used to the sentence structures, continue reading while focusing more on vocab, just don’t rely too much on the reading tools and always try to figure out the meaning of the vocabulary by yourself through context or the kanji you know before looking it up. Give physical books a try as well. Continue mining words and adding to Anki. Keep reading for at least 2 hours everyday.

Slowly start substituting the sites you visit for equivalent Japanese ones. Try finding Japanese blogs that write about hobbies you have, it’s easier to read about things you are familiar with, and also more fun. Change the language of your computer or apps to Japanese. Make accounts on social media solely to follow Japanese artists you like.

Listen to as much Japanese as possible, be it songs, podcasts, or youtube. Watch shows in Japanese and focus on understanding words you don’t know through context, visual cues, and voice intonation. Rewatch episodes if needed. Alternatively, watch shows with Japanese subs and look up the words you don’t know. But I personally think it’s better if you don’t worry too much about understanding everything at first, things will slowly start making more sense as you read more and learn more vocabulary.

It will be hard at first, there will be days nothing makes sense and it might be very demotivating, but just keep going on and things will eventually get better. Continue studying through the apps. You might improve faster than you imagine.

Good luck with your studies!

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