Listened to today’s folktale! Listening gets a bit frustrating, it feels like I almost understand… but don’t. Now I know why two year olds are always so angry, they just want to know what everyone’s talking about
I can be happy that I can pick out one word without fail:
I started recording Japanese’s read aloud; however, not only that I failed to read correctly sometimes, I also failed to read with passion – for example, the style in 入らず山の鬼婆’s native recording in Zakarius’s post earlier.
I started playing games with Japanese dub, like Yakuza (龍が如く) (and ATRI isn’t yet out of question); and there is a subtitle. Now, it might be impossible for me to turn off subtitle as well, as I understand too little. 
Watching anime without subtitle (Death Note, やがて君になる, 進撃の巨人), although I don’t understand enough, and might fail to hear even with rewinding a short audio segment repeated; I probably would continue to do it, but try to collect vocabularies in advance first. 
Podbeans, or of course YouTube, is still considered – it depends on occasions, or whether I only have a smartphone at the time as well. I still watch Japanese YouTube from time-to-time, if I catch a fellow WaniKani-er posting an interesting YouTube.
As far as my actual understanding goes, I probably understand quite well for kid’s YouTube, but quite poorly for everything else.
Since it’s short I listened to it twice to see if I could pick anything extra out, but I don’t think my listening comprehension was any better the second time round
I listened to it a third time while reading and I could understand pretty much everything the narrator said. Come on ears, you can work without eyes doing all the work for you, 頑張って！
That guy has some crazy narrator skills though, he can do a different voice for every character in every story and never misses a beat (some of the ones I’ve read in the past challenges have been hilarious to listen to).
It’s impressive in itself that you managed to read aloud the whole thing! That’s no easy feat. Passion and vocalisation will come out on their own when you get more used to saying the words, and really, even when reading aloud in your native tongue, it is hard to bring out passion etc. on the fly when reading something aloud.
I think the singing might be really helpful, as it’s supposed to be easier to sing other languages than talk them since you’re focusing more on the sounds of everything rather than the word, should help you get an ear for how the words sound.
It’s very hard to let go of the need to understand everything (or at least most). I’ve listened to the first half of chapter 2 of かがみの孤城 multiple times in the hope that I could catch more than before, but of course, my brain instantly recognizes that it’s the same old once again, and resolutely tunes out. There is just no way I can make myself engage with something I’ve already listened to more than twice, not until a lot of time has passed at least. So I guess I’ll just have to move on to the next tracks. I need to constantly keep reminding myself to have a child-like attitude towards listening, but it certainly doesn’t come naturally.
I tried to watch some anime on Netflix but nothing seems to hold my interest. So once again I settled on Stranger Things. There is a clear benefit in watching already familiar material (as long as I don’t get too bored). I know the gist of what they’re saying, so it’s easier (and quicker) to map sounds to expected concepts. I’m still missing quite a lot, but it’s not frustrating since I still follow along, and I’m so elated when I get something clearly enough to be surprised by the difference in expression in the two languages, or even to get to laugh at a joke.
I’m also following along with SpyxFamily in the book club and watching the anime after. I’ve found the anime is much harder to understand (no surprise I guess). But since I haven’t watched much anime, the vocal tones they use have been really surprising to me. So dramatic, but in such a specific way…
For this unofficial early start I’ve not kept up with every single day cause I hit a low point and needed a short break in general, but overall, keeping up a little bit most of the time. Progress is slow on the audiobook since I’m just reading the book for half an hour or so most nights, but I’m finally at the halfway point and understanding a relatively satisfying amount.
I’ve also recently started listening to the さくら通信 podcast I’ve seen recommended a lot online. This one is my furthest step into a true Japanese podcast for Japanese listeners. 4989 is kind of like that but at least with the caveat that she knows she has listeners learning the language and provides transcripts (though I don’t use them). And whether it’s the abundance of loanword use and familiar subjects (since it’s about living in the US) or just her speaking style, it was definitely a simpler one than this.
I had a few attempts at this in the past before I was ready with no progress, but I’m kinda sorta there? It can be annoyingly spotty, understand a lot and then miss a lot, but overall on the last few episodes I’ve tried I’ve understood just enough I think. Often the words I miss are the particularly crucial ones, annoyingly enough, but that’s also pretty natural since less common words carry more specific meaning and whatnot. It reminds me a lot of how I felt back when listening to Nihongo con Teppei and later his joint podcast with Noriko, which I’ve eventually outgrown, so I think I’m on the right track if I keep rolling with this.
Oh also! I’ve only had time to listen to a little, but if anyone is into videogames/speedrunning, there is a Twitch channel restreaming Games Done Quick with Japanese commentary! The difficulty of the language seems to depend on when you turn it on. Yesterday I was understanding a pretty tiny amount of the Crash 2 run, but checking it right now, Link’s Awakening seems easier.
Listened to today’s folktale from Fukushima Prefecture! About a fox and tanuki causing mischief for each other.
This one felt a bit easier, the sentences seem a little simpler. It also has two audio recordings, the first one was a bit difficult as there was music playing under the narration and it was hard to pick out the words, so I used the second one.
I bought the free month of YouTube premium, so I could listen to the videos without looking…
But darn it, I love Breath of the Wild a lot, and it has very much more written Japanese than spoken… so unless the narrator is reading the text out, I wasn’t getting much Japanese from Japanese Quest, and even then it helped to look. I took a lot of screen shots to look things up. Here are some BOTW notes. I spent waay too much time. But I’m really driven to being able to play the existing title in Japanese before the “Breath of the Wild 2” comes out (it’s already been delayed a few years). …
I tried to find some other streamers, but nobody was really reading the Japanese out loud or even making Japanese comments… mostly just playing the game through with stunts…
I did enjoy watching a Japanese girl play Genshin Impact (while I did the dishes), just to hear her excited comments. There was a lot of よしよしよしよokokokok which I liked, etc. And several 殺さないで which I wasn’t fully certain whether it meant “I can’t kill (the boss)” or “don’t kill me!” (I think the later).
And I mostly just posted here today, because I understood a surprising amount of the conversation by this guy Onomappu. I think he’s using simple vocabulary, and had been clear speech… and he’s funny
One more day before the official challenge begins … I was supposed to spend June getting used to listening and finding out how I would go about the challenge proper, but I’m only a little less lost than before. What I’m finding out is that it’s not easy for me to keep up with every day listening. While theoretically it can be done in the background while doing other stuff, if I actually want to understand a good amount of what I’m hearing, I need to be on constant alert. When however I have that kind of time and energy to devote to Japanese, I’ll choose reading every time. Not only do I enjoy it more, but I somehow feel that it’s better use of my time, even if my listening skills definitely need more work than my reading skills. (probably something to do with reading having been encouraged as a pastime since my early childhood? Not that anyone discouraged me from listening or anything…)
So in short, I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to keep up with the challenge every day, nor do I know what I will be mainly listening to. I guess I’ll continue as best I can with the audiobook some days, watch a video or something (why do videos bore me so much??) on some others, and sometimes totally forget about listening. It’s still better than a month ago, so it’s all good.
I don’t know if you’re into anki or not but I mentioned to someone on the forum awhile ago (in this thread I think) that I trained my ears to pick up more using Subs2SRS flashcards. They’re best for series you’ve seen before, but barring that any simple series will do. I can’t link premade sets on the forums because legal reasons but they’re a Google away. There is also SuperNative which has a Listen+Recall feature that can also be used to train your ear although I don’t like it as much.
All this to say that maybe a way to make it a habit but a lower stress one is to start smaller? You know yourself best, so whatever you think would work for you, but I had to work up to listening to audiobooks and not having it be a wall of noise.
That’s absolutely true. The audiobook is usually going well for the first 5 minutes or so, then it becomes a wall of noise as you say. Part of it is my resistance to listening attentively to anything, but mostly it’s that my brain gets tired, I’m sure. I’ve tried the mini stories @Zakarius listens to, but while shorter, they feel somehow more difficult than my audiobook, maybe because by the time I’ve sort of understood the context the story is already over?
Anki then would be a perfectly reasonable solution. Too bad it feels too much like studying
It’s something to keep in mind though, as are Visual Novels and other things people have been suggesting.
For me it’s that if I want to gain deep understanding of something, I need to look up a lot of vocab, which is relatively easy to do in a book (stop reading and look it up one way or another), or I need to go over it once more, which is also super easy to do in a book, but with audio, it means stopping, rewinding, figuring out what was said, and all that messy stuff
But yeah, maybe I should also accept the challenge and work on this
I’m finding this a difficult aspect of this challenge too. Even though what I’m listening to are usually only about 1-6 mins long, it feels like a really long time, I have to keep telling myself not to do the washing up or whatever while listening, just concentrate on listening. But it’s really difficult to keep on track when after about the second sentence I get completely lost.
Also having a hard time judging any form of progress. Not expecting like super results after a week but I don’t really feel like I’ve learnt much of anything so far.
It’s definitely a lot harder. When reading きょう I know that きょう is きょう - but hearing it, it’s like am I sure it was きょう? Or was it ぎょう? Might have even been ひょう…
Could just be that the hurdle for even basic listening comprehension is a whole lot bigger than the reading one, still, it’s pretty demotivating.
Gonna try my best to keep listening everyday anyways, but I might try a few different approaches and see what works best.
クラゲんばって！! (Jellyfish ganbatte)
(I am disappointed that there is no jellyfish emoji for additional motivation)
I relate so much to everything you said!
Especially the part about not being sure what exact sound you heard. Just the other day I was watching something with a friend, and we had an argument about what name we heard being called. I heard a two-syllable name (which was the correct one according to the subtitles), she heard a three-syllable name. Funny thing is, not even the vowels matched. Even funnier thing, when we replayed it and I tried to listen for the three-syllable name, I heard it! A name that was never spoken. That was all in English, by the way.
It happens when reading, and apparently it happens when listening too. We don’t properly take in all the words, and certainly not all the letters (that’s how we miss typos). Our brains just fill in the gaps. Now with a foreign language, or even a name you’re unsure of, it’s very hard to fill those gaps as there’s not enough prior experience.
At least that’s my excuse. The doctors say my hearing is fine, so that’s not it!
My brain gets tired from listening too, and even if it’s just listening, I can’t do much of anything else concurrently. Those 童話 / 民話 are just at my limits, so I have to study and re-listen; and usually I don’t do well the first time.
I found out about <img class=emoji src="..."> just now, but it is hard to find images that also look good when very small. ↩︎