How to properly and consistently practice listening

Honestly, I think that their copyright protection would hold up in a US court. But since Japan doesn’t have a fair use clause to their copyright law, I think they’d run into some issues there.

1 Like

The study features on there are awesome, I’d happily pay for a service like that if it was legally available. But actual legit streaming sites often don’t even offer Japanese subtitles at all (not even without all the cool tools).
Even worse, some use hard (non-Japanese) subtitles, meaning the subs are added to the video itself and therefore can’t be turned off at all. Like… come on.
It’s a shame, really.

1 Like

I went to bed just shortly after I posted this and am just now getting back to it. Thanks everyone for your replies, they’ve been very insightful. Anyways here are my responses to those I wanted to add input back to

wall of replies

I’m at the stage in learning where using any english at all feels like it hurts more than it helps. I’ve been trying to also avoid Japanese subtitles since I was afraid I’d end up relying on it as a crutch when I can’t understand something when spoken but can read it.

I like vtubers as well, and have even recently been trying to practice through some of their videos. But it gets too much for me fast, especially with multiple in a single video and I have a hard time keeping track of who’s saying what as well as trying to even understand what is being said at all. I’ll definitely try the anime with subtitles though, and yeah I’m going to keep trying and hopefully some day actually get to see some improvement

I’m not really able to have actual conversations very often. I have recently started italki conversation practice lessons but those aren’t very often since I’m poor, and have messed up a lot in both with seemingly little if any improvement. I doubt I’ll ever be able to visit Japan, but maybe I can eventually find some other way to get more speaking practice in.

For the most part, every time I’ve tried doing listening practice my major struggles are actually processing what is being said. Currently like you said it feels like a jumbled mess and things are going much faster than I’m able to process what’s going on. Another somewhat related thing is that a lot of vocab I struggle to remember in the moment either due to having to remember it in such a short time, having only ever read it and not hearing it spoken, etc. Understanding grammar itself and colloquialisms haven’t been bad at all really, at least not compared to the other issues so far.

I’ve never heard any audio dramas so far. If they’re better for practicing as you say I would definitely like to try it. Where might I find some? And yeah relaxing more while listening is definitely something I need to work on :sweat_smile:

Since I don’t know what TV you have, the following might very well not apply to you, but NordVPN has an android TV app that has been working with Netflix for a while now. It’s really nice as it allows me to watch stuff from other regions on my TV without having to use any additional hardware

1 Like

I primarily use a Fire stick, so I could probably sideload the Android app.

1 Like

The DramaCD medium is a big industry in Japan. A lot of manga and light novels get adaptions. But, also some anime can have drama CD adaptions. As do some games. You’ll just have to start looking for it.

Perhaps, you’ll find something worth listening to here: :slight_smile:

1 Like

Blockquote
For the most part, every time I’ve tried doing listening practice my major struggles are actually processing what is being said. Currently like you said it feels like a jumbled mess and things are going much faster than I’m able to process what’s going on. Another somewhat related thing is that a lot of vocab I struggle to remember in the moment either due to having to remember it in such a short time, having only ever read it and not hearing it spoken, etc. Understanding grammar itself and colloquialisms haven’t been bad at all really, at least not compared to the other issues so far.

I’d maybe look around Youtube for a person who speaks Japanese at a speed where you can keep up with the processing. A lot of learning channels try speaking just a little bit slower than average. An example would be Sambon Juku, but there are many many more. Start with learning to understand one person who speaks slower than average. If that still sounds jumbled, I’d say focus not on what is being said, but just try to identify the sentence structure of every sentence.

An example would look something like this:
。。。で、。。。ます。
When you can consistently identify the structure, move on to focusing on the subject/topic and verb. You can ignore the rest of the sentence, just figure out who is doing what.
Finally you should have a little bit of structure to the sentences to where you can begin hearing things you understand. You’re not going to understand everything, and that’s ok.

Also, feel free if you think you recognized a bunch of words but couldn’t organize it fast enough to hit the pause button, listen again, or write down what you think they’re saying.

Listening skills comes with a lot of practice. If you were to try and read Japanese at the same pace that a native speaker does, you’d run into the same issues, so take it slow and don’t get discouraged!

1 Like

I realize this is true for many people. But if you approach conversation in a more organic way and actively look for people with similar interests and such, places like Hello Talk can be very useful.

1 Like

I was thinking of saying this too. I think there comes a time when the only way to grow is to ditch the English subtitles entirely.

I mentioned earlier that I practice both by using Japanese subtitles for some shows and no subtitles for other shows. That’s really why. The former gives me practice in matching written and spoken Japanese. The latter gives me that pure aural comprehension practice. But the English subtitles cause my brain to choose the path of least resistance, then the gains don’t last.

It’s frustrating sometimes not to be able to follow the full story, but I usually just read episode summaries on Fandom afterwards or rewatch later with English subtitles (for fun, not learning).

3 Likes

Just wish it wasn’t such a cat and mouse thing with the VPN. None of the ones I’ve tried worked :confused:.

I think it’s just a matter of which one you’ve been exposed to more. I usually find podcasts easier, since people usually rephrase stuff, say things in another way and use a lot of filler words etc.

@RysingDragon Podcasts are great because you don’t really have to care if you phase out. It’s easy to get an hour or more in doing chores, walking etc. I prefer stuff that isn’t too long and is unstructured, but has some overarching theme. Nihongo con Teppei is great for getting that listening routine, which is what I started with as well. They have an beginner and a intermediate version.

1 Like

I’ve looked into nihongo con teppei before, and my impression is that it’s specifically aimed towards learners of Japanese. I want to practice actual, native, natural Japanese. For podcasts I tend to choose from a selection of creators on Radiotalk that I’m interested in. They seem pretty good especially since each episode is pretty short and easy to hop into compared to others that are an hour or so long.
Since my last post here I have found something I like and seems to be mostly comprehensible so far. I started with this particular youtube series but the creator in general seems quite easy to listen to, at least for me.

I use softether. Its free and netflix has never blocked it

It’s aimed towards upper-intermediate learners, but it is absolutely actual, native, natural Japanese. Not a ‘teacher’-style at all. I wouldn’t dismiss it that easily, even though he may sometimes explain expressions etc. The older episodes are 20 minutes long and I really enjoy him just rambling about stuff. I still keep up with the podcast.

i wanna make a really short recommendation that is simply ‘netflix - jap subs - little witch academia - space bar’ and floflomo/koohii has little witch academias vocab pack for free

and to try and sell it - little witch academia is so ridiculously expressively animated that it doesnt get boring no matter how many times you watch it, cause if you’re as bad as me repetition is the way to go, from the first watch where you get nothing, to the later re-rewatches where your wanikani vocab starts doing work, to the watches where you can turn off the subs and hear all the things you managed to read on the previous watch to the watches where you’re watching it to appreciate the show itself. little witch academia saved my soul. i hope this very concrete sympathetic recommendation can help you, because i personally hate encouraging but vague advice. its probably gonna suck for you, but lil witch aca might make the sucking more fun

I’d try the 4989 American Life podcast https://www.4989americanlife.com

It’s spoken relatively slowly and is about every day life, so it’s fairly easy to follow. She also does scripts for each show, specifically for language learners! They’re on the website. I listen once, then read the script and look up words, then listen again while reading the script, and then listen once more without the script. That way you really get a sense of progress because by the third listen you should be able to understand most of it.

I personally find that actually focussing on listening as study, rather than trying to do it passively really helps, otherwise I do just zone out.

1 Like

Nice podcast. This is another one that I’ve caught up with and listen to new episodes actively :blush:. Haven’t used the script, though.

Yeah, I’m not really sure what ‘passive’ listening is, but definitely you need to have most of your focus on the listening. I personally can’t just ‘sit down and listen’, so by walking or doing dishes I can still have 90% of my focus and really have no problem following along.

HI there great question and i was wondering about that streming service you guys were talking someone put a suica /watermelon but i did not get the reference, as for me i watched netflix with language extension and that it is great as you can hide the english part and keep the japanese subtitles on , cheers

Animelon I believe is what it’s called

2 Likes

got it Vanilla, just checked it, really thanks and congrats on your 60 level

1 Like

My ideal “passive” listening time has been when I’m driving. I still have to pay attention to the road, of course, but that’s mostly muscle memory, and I still have plenty of brain space to listen to Japanese audio.

1 Like