Introduction to immersion study?

Lately I have been hearing a lot about immersion study, which I take it is basically surrounding yourself by lots of media (news, podcasts, media, music etc) to improve learning. However, whenever I search for immersion study I always find references to formal programs or schools.

Does anyone have a good introduction to immersion for self-study? Like an overview of the idea, resources on material to pull from, etc.


Cure Dolly (which I highly recommend regardless of your learning approach) has written pretty extensively about self immersion study. Here’s a link to the “getting started” page. The website is a bit overwhelming in general but WOW is there some game-changing info in there.


Do you recommend their YouTube series as well? I grabbed their eBook about grammar off Amazon for Kindle, I’m always good to read some grammar reinforcing material.


Yes, their Youtube series is an excellent supplement to their other materials (though some people find the animation kind of off-putting haha)


I think the youtube channels is amazing. I prefer to watch the video muted with 1.25 speed though. I really don’t like the slow robot voice.

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I don’t know of any introductions to doing it really, but i can provide a few tips or ideas.

So first off theres the discussion about level of comprehension to get the most out of immersion.
I personally like to just march on with partial comprehension since it worked for me when learning english, but others advocate doing actual translations, and some a healthy mix of both.
Speaking strictly from experience i’d recommend the partial comprehension approach (stuff easily gets lost in translation anyway), but i dont actually have any proof whether its more effective or not.
I am definitely enjoying it more when i dont worry too much about understanding everything, so thats worth considering.
Methods to also consider when immersing is shadowing and reading out loud

I cant really refer to a lot resourcewise, but i can tell you the options i tend to use.

  • For just getting started on consumption, NHK easy is pretty helpful.

  • Generally my main method is reading on a kindle supplied with books from the japanese Amazon.
    Reading is easily the best method of learning a language, the issue is that its often quite a challenge initially. Reading with a kindle definitely helps since theres access to built in dictionaries and a tool resembling google translate.

  • You can also watch anime with japanese subtitles at
    This is the easier option imo but not as effective as simply reading (I still like it)

  • Visual novels using a texthooker allows you to hook the text and paste it into google translate if youre lost and need a bit of help getting the general idea.
    If you combine it with extensions like rikaikun for chrome you can hover single words for a translation

  • Japanese radio, theres no help on this one, just pure bombardment with japanese, There’s a Rajiko extension for chrome that allows you to listen without a vpn.

Regardless of where you start, its gonna be a challenge at first, but if you stick with it, you will slowly start seeing results and before you know it you will actually understand most of it.
Don’t skip out on grammar tho or it will take longer to gain comprehension.

Watching Cure dolly did help me a bunch.


I’d like to mention that it’s a good idea to build up your vocabulary a little but before you get all heavy on immersion. Not that exposing yourself to other language is ever a bad idea per se, but it’s not gonna be effective unless you can already understand the basics.

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Hmm, committing to actively immersing in media of the target language is hard. What’s important is just building a large vocab bank, understand grammar, and you can start absorbing Japanese media. One of these JP language youtubers (forgot his channel name, sadly) recommended creating a secondary YT account where you only consume Japanese videos, prompting the algorithm to advertise exclusively Japanese content on that account. This is one avenue of Japanese immersion–personally it’s not my thing, but for those that can tolerate Japanese TV, comedy, and dramas, in amounts, it can be super helpful.

Consuming raw anime and manga is popular for JP learners, of course. You can get manga from eBay, Amazon JP, Shueisha, CDJapan, etc. Manga might be a good place to start, because while it’s for native Japanese people, popular manga is generally juvenile, thematically simple enough, includes furigana, illustrations give you context, etc.

US Netflix has a lot of Japanese stuff (granted, it’s mostly mediocre anime), but it has one good show in particular: Terrace House. Yeah, it feels like cheap reality TV, but the bumbling cast and the judgmental celebrity panelists both make for pretty valuable listening practice for casual conversation. So this is a specific one you can consider. Personally not a fan of Japanese TV, so I’m not sure of what else is popular.

NHK Easy News, is digestible news in all Japanese, my teacher would occasionally play these segments for the class.

So you’ve got a lot of options, OP! Very difficult transitioning from the textbook, Wanikani, Genki, Anki, what have you, to immersive study. I hope you enjoy it.

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I had a traveling companion from mid-America who taught herself five languages. German in high school, Polish & Hungarian abroad, Spanish on her own never living there. She was a vigorous immerser.

It wasn’t just about shopping for native materials. When working on a language, she would put post-it notes on EVERYTHING in her apartment with target-language labels. She read, of course, and watched shows (no subs) and used textbooks. But the main point, she said, was to have triggers everywhere to get her remembering something she’d read, or heard, or a flashcard she’d made. Eventually your brain just shifts and things click. When we were in Serbia and she was chatting with the cab driver he said he thought she was Slovenian because of her accent. This on a trip where she handled all the Polish and Hungarian, too.

She grew up in a monolingual community and went to a crappy public school. She was quite intelligent, but that wasn’t why she picked up all those languages. It was total all-day daily commitment to making sure her brain KNEW they mattered.

Which is easier at certain periods of life-- like summer after your first year of university-- and with certain (European) languages. For Japanese, the baby immersion I like is watching, at a minimum, every day’s ANN News.

It’s not conversation but it’s clearly-spoken with kanji on-screen, and it reinforces less common WK vocab & kanji like 容疑者 and all the politics stuff. The broadcast loops after about 20 minutes, so it’s a concise, dense thing that is rewarding to have on as background and to focus on when my baby’s not being super-cute and chewing my slippers.

I know the university down the road from me has a summer immersion program. Part of the deal is agreeing not to do anything in any language other than Japanese. Living like you’re there, basically. That’s hard for most people, especially with families, but that’s when you really get good.


Thank you everyone for all the great advice! It sounds like I should focus on grammar and vocab for a while longer (I’m still not even finished Genki 2).

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