Is Refold actually going to make me fluent?

Hey so Matt Vs Japan just unveiled this new language learning methodology called refold (found at

It looks like a more polished version of MIA/AJATT and now has an active community as well.

I went through some of the material, but I am unsure if the method will work for me or not.

From you guy’s experience, do methods like this work, or will they make me miss out on a lot (e.g. writing)?


As he discussed, the current state of the contents can be used in general or in any language. He did however mention that he will be working on a Nihongo centered content probably after fishing the two unfinished sections that they need to work with.

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There’s quite a lot to read so I skimmed over it. It does have a lot of good advice in it. I would just advise not to stick to its rules religiously, if something isn’t working out for you, reevaluate it.

When it comes to learning languages, you have to prioritize things that will be most useful to you because there isn’t enough time for everything. Writing, for example, is not something people generally do very often these days so it doesn’t make much sense to prioritize it over other aspects of the language.


Sorry, I meant like the whole method in general and what impact that would have.

It looks like people get results, but at the same time, I am wondering at what future cost.

From what I have experienced, you should take what is offered there and mold it into a system that works for you.

Any sort of immersion program will likely see the most benefit in the long run, and have less drawbacks than other methods because you are using native materials.
I have been following a sort of semi MIA / curedolly immersion / my own methods this year, and I’ve seen really big improvements in my listening, reading, and speaking abilities.
Obviously Matt doesn’t like Wanikani or speaking too early, but I do both of those things frequently because they work for me.

I definitely think starting the passive listening and active immersion after you are at a high beginner level will help you take off into native content

Also, I agree with @TheCodingFox that some skills don’t make sense to prioritize. I learned to write quite a bit in 1st year college courses, and tried doing more with skritter, but your time is better spent on grammar or immersion until you can actually be comfortable with the language. Once you are at a high level you can pick that up easily


Ok, thanks, I will try to mould the method to my own needs :slight_smile:

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Matt in one of his videos talks about using an ipod shuffle full of JP stuff that he keeps on loop 24/7 and listens to whenever he’s not doing anything else. I did this starting in April this year and my listening comprehension has increased probably 10x what is was. I use Nihongoconteppei (first for beginners version) and audio from shows I’m watching. This is probably the best way to get passive immersion in my opinion because the time investment is low

Best of luck - make sure you post if you have other questions


I’ve never tried it primarily because I don’t generally have any interest in podcasts, and so I don’t even know what audio I’d listen to. I’ve also never tried because it sounds annoying/distracting and I’d rather be listening to music or just have silence. Personally, I don’t think I’d be able to listen passively, as something I half hear/understand will catch my interest and I’d be inclined to rewind and listen again. But if it’s not passive, then it would take more of my time, making me even less likely to do it.

Any thoughts or tips based on this?


im the same way
i try putting it on in the background but idk if its my adhd or what but it just makes it waaaay harder to do anything and then im not passively listening & im not focusing on anything its weird lol


I have the same problem you do. When I lived in Japan I used to try passive immersion by listening to NHK news and other podcasts but I never learned anything from it despite trying the approach for 6 months and being well into the intermediate stage at that point. What I found that worked for me was ditching passive immersion completely and turning to audiobooks while reading the ebook at the same time. I found it helped out a lot when it came to reading my favorite books at the time (Kiki’s Delivery Service and 夢を叶える象). I found even in English when I listen to something half heartedly I never grasp the concept so why should I expect to in Japanese? In that sense I found reading about topics that interested me to further my knowledge outside of language learning ie. history, programming and music theory really helped to fuel my passion for understanding every single sentence in the book whether it was Japanese or not. In short try audiobooks on topics that you find enjoyable and read along with the ebook to make looking up definitions a little bit easier. I read at least 1 book every two weeks in Japanese because of the free time I have now and definitely don’t regret the time spent on it because I learned more than just japanese. Good luck with whatever method you choose to use, SRS and passive immersion isn’t the only method out there to learn a language, Marco Polo learned Chinese through brute force :smile:


I usually play something like that while I’m making dinner. It’s something I have to do anyway and it’s much easier to listen passively while I do it.

I’ve found it helps quite a bit. I’ve gone from understanding words here and there to picking up whole phrases. And again, it’s only really the hour or so it takes me to cook so it’s not something I’m putting a lot of time into.

I’ve actually gotten my listening skills to surpass my reading skills at speed. I still understand more when I read since I can digest the material slowly, but I’ve found that I now just glance at Japanese subtitles since I can comprehend more quickly while listening and then check the Kanji for anything unfamiliar.


hi, I have question. Do you understand most of the Jp content you put in your iPod?
that seems like interesting idea (I remember Dogen also used it to improve his speaking)

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I’m pretty sure “passive listening” (AKA hearing but not listening), where you can’t even understand what has been said has been proven to be useless for picking up languages. Language hacks should always be met with skepticsm.

I would generally say that you want to learn from a mix of sources. Immersion is good and all, but you need to get to a decent enough level of Japanese first, at least to be able to look up things as you read/watch/listen. And even then, you really want to look up everything you learn from immersion, because nuance, politeness, and formality aren’t always clear from context.


The thing about refold, and mia, and ajatt is that, they work. I mean you cant deny the results, it would be a really hard task to find a non Japanese person in the whole world, that speaks better Japanese than Matt… a person who spent only 6 months in Japan lol.

If you are asking if it will make you fluent, it will 100% do that. I really believe in Matt and that whole immersion thing. The results are pretty insane tbh. The downside is that its hard as hell to immerse yourself all day in the language and do the RTK drills… and sentence mining. His method is probably the hardest method, yet the method that will truly take you to real fluency in the fastest amount of time.


The thing is that it’s not supposed to be just random content. If you’re actively studying in a specific domain, then your passive listening should be in that domain, and preferably stuff that you’ve already gone over with active immersion. I’ve never really followed this method, so I can’t say if it works but… I guess there’s one way to find out. :slight_smile:


I’ve been following MIA for almost a year now, but not super strictly. Like others have mentioned, immersion works. I used to passively immerse with a little mp3 player, but that became impractical with school after a while. When I’m at work, I listen to podcasts and that works really well. Every day, I shoot for at least an hour of reading each day and two hours of active listening. I don’t often hit those goals, but I have them nonetheless. My listening and comprehension has skyrocketed since starting. I do anki every day, but I don’t sentence mine. I’ve been going through some of the Tango decks and I find that that suffices. I substituted RTK with Wanikani, which I found helped immensely. I also supplement my grammar with Bunpro.

I’m really happy with the progress I’m making, but I’m still trying to spend more time in the language. Immersion definitely works, but the amount you do immerse largely depends on what you’re comfortable with or if you have time. For some folks, it just isn’t really feasible. And that’s alright. I disagree with Matt on this, that, and the other thing, but I think the main takeaway it that language learning takes time. You can speed it up or slow it down depending on how much time you put into.


While I agree from personal experience that pouring tons of time into a language and forcing yourself to operate purely in that language is extremely effective (to learn advanced French, I bought a dictionary purely in French and used that for definitions when I needed them, and then proceeded to read French news for about 3h a day. My native classmates in university say I speak better French than them. Granted, we’re all science/engineering students.), what evidence do we have that Matt’s method yields results aside from Matt himself? More importantly, what evidence do we have that it yields results efficiently? My listening ability in Japanese rose rapidly after months of watching the same anime, often falling asleep with my earphones in, but I’d say that I probably improved because I was trying to catch words and understand whatever I could. My brain was in an active state. Simply hearing sounds probably doesn’t do much. At least some of your attention will have to be devoted to listening. Otherwise, well… why aren’t people who grow up in multilingual environments automatically better listeners? The brains of adults who have forgotten their first language as children still respond to that language as though it’s a language they ought to know (there was a study conducted on… Koreans adopted by foster homes in America, I believe?), but that doesn’t change the fact that they don’t understand.


It’s not just about passive immersion, a very big part of your immersion in his method should be active, as far as I understand; and that kind of immersion surely does make you a better listener and reader, because you are actively practicing the skills you want to get better at.

The “passive” part is something that you can do in the time when you aren’t able to study actively, because you have other routine stuff to do, like cookiing, commuting, or cleaning. There is also an argument to be made whether that’s even passive at all; I’ve been listening to podcasts a lot recently, although mainly when I go shopping or do some cleaning, and I’d argue my experience is pretty active.

(I’ve only quickly read through the explanation on the website, hope I didn’t misrepresent the method Matt is advocating here.)


I feel like Refold definitely has better advice in certain areas than MIA did. I struggled with MIA because I kind of had no focus with my immersion. I was just watching whatever I felt like, switching between different genres and different difficulty levels. Building up to mastering a certain domain and the difference between free-flow and intensive immersion are things I never even considered before, but they make sense and I already feel like they’re helping me.


Listening is great but I also would warn against buying into “get fluent quick” schemes. The reality is it takes a long time to learn a language, and while listening is super helpful you need to get a base in grammar before that will help you much. Don’t be afraid to try different things and learn in different ways.