🔉 🎙 Listen Every Day Challenge (Summer Edition) 🏖


Well, some of you are discussing the difference between Extensive listening (where you’re not purposefully trying to listen, but it’s just “on”) and Intensive listening (where you are actively trying to at least parse every word if not understand).

I don’t get bored listening to the same thing over and over in extensive listening, because I’m not even really listening. I thought it was a waste of time, and BS when people said that one’s brain is doing things “behind the scenes”… but now I think there’s a nugget truth there, because my listening did improve. And my brain did interrupt me and say things like “what is the たしかに that I keep hearing them say?” Etc.

I don’t think anki-audio would work for extensive listening unless you can autoplay them for 30 minutes to an hour. Having such a sentence deck from a show that I’ve already watched world be so nice. Plus if I could also review certain words and phrases from the show, as well.

To me, an audio chapter of Harry Potter is like a song playing in the background. I can tune in when I want. I also have been getting more out of going back and reading a book or manga or watching a video again, months+ later. I get different things.

The key is finding what you like and listening to that. Just like with the Tadoku rule, if it doesn’t work for you, try something else.

Even if you still want to focus more on reading now, it’s still good because it will build your Vocabulary and prime your brain to recognize things in audio.

I used to only manage one or two Intensive listening sessions a week. It’s exhausting and time-consuming!

Hmmm…I haven’t read in several months!! Yikes!


For what it’s worth, reading you all talking about these struggles with listening is somewhat comforting in how much I relate to them, heh. It always felt like adapting to listening was just easier for other people than me (obviously not to say that listening in a foreign language is ever easy, but let’s say relatively to reading and whatnot) – but either people have been keeping the hard struggles to themselves, or I’ve just found my people who are similarly more naturally inclined to reading, haha.

The nice flipside of that is, while I wouldn’t call myself too great at listening right now, I’ve seen big progress. And it usually felt like what I was doing was useless and I was gaining nothing so… I guess those feelings were wrong, if you ever need that comfort.


Hmm yeah I don’t know :thinking: this might be over complicating things but I think for me it is useful to distinguish between passive and active extensive listening to make three categories:

  1. what I would call ‘passive extensive listening’ - this is where there is Japanese on in the background but I am not giving it any real active attention. I will do this sometimes when I’m working or something, or as I’m going to sleep. It’s just like having music or the radio on, mainly just white noise that I will occasionally tune into. I’m not really expecting to get much from it and will only tend to do this with things like Japanese translations of books I’ve read in English, or Japanese dubs of films or to I’ve seen. Something I’m not going to ‘spoil’ by only getting a bit of. I do think it was pretty helpful early on in just getting comfy with the sound of Japanese though.
  2. Active extensive listening - listening while walking etc. I’m giving what I’m listening to pretty full attention and (unless I’ve made a silly pick and am listening to something way above my level) can happily listen to podcasts or audiobooks and not feel like I’m missing much. Sure, there will be some unknown vocab or whatever (if there is too much unknown then I would probably drop it or maybe read along with the book if it’s an audiobook) and I generally won’t look up any words (though I occasionally have) but I’m aiming for decent comprehension. Content I’d use for this would be podcasts or easier audiobooks (having started from the place of listening to one beginner teppei episode multiple times before getting enough to move on to the next)
  3. Intensive listening - listening, pausing when you don’t get something & looking up words etc, or something like the audio Anki cards @pocketcat has talked about. I haven’t really done this much as I am lazy and find it gets in the way of enjoying what I’m listening to/watching but I don’t doubt that it’s really beneficial if you have the patience for it. Closest I get to this would be something like the approach @pocketcat has also discussed, where you listen, then listen & read at same time, then listen again, though I’m not sure if that even quite would count as ‘intensive’ :thinking:

Anyway, that is my thesis on listening styles :joy:


I like your 3 divisions… passive listening, active listening and intensive listening (I think extensive was also used correctly, but I like short names) This it’s probably something official somewhere for linguists etc … but I like your classification…


Yeah I was going to add something along these lines, I agree completely. For me, all of my studying is active, my only distinction and understanding is this:

  • Extensive: actively listen to something around my level where I don’t usually pause, I just keep listening and try to catch everything as it happens. If I don’t understand something, no biggie, I just keep going. Usually this happens with something that I like but that I’m not extremely into, so I don’t mind missing things. Sometimes I really like a podcast chapter and I’m invested and I just go back to relisten, turning it into a semi-intensive listening for a little.

  • Intensive: actively listen to something very carefully, trying to understand everything or most that is said and looking up vocabulary I don’t know, and so on. I don’t really like intensive listening, so I don’t do it much, takes way too much effort sometimes.

That being said, I do look up vocabulary when I listen, just not as much as when I read. Perhaps a few words per podcast or so.


:sound: :palm_tree: Summer 2022 Listening Challenge :palm_tree: :sound:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9

Status: Completed.

Shameless copy paste from the reading challenge :joy:


that is what I meant to say!!

It sounds like omk3 does everything actively, as you do rikaiwisdom san!

I’m not good enough yet to do active listening much without always slipping down to intensive or getting frustrated. LOL!


Honestly I think that’s completely fine until you’re able to relax a little bit and catch more with less effort eventually. I personally think podcast have helped me a lot, though I understand that “learning” podcasts are not very engaging and can get somewhat boring. I like Teppei because he also thinks that and tries to spice things up a bit with different topics. When I first started listening to him I don’t remember understanding a lot of it, and now I do understand virtually everything, so something must have worked. I just kept listening to it over time, and it’s not like I have listened to hundreds of episodes either, I’m relatively just getting started with podcasts.

I would suggest perhaps picking one of these learning podcasts and just listen to an episode a day or something, without caring much about understanding it completely. Teppei’s are longer, close to 20 mins usually, but there are many others that are 5 or 10 mins, that could work.

I think it’s positive that as language learners we learn how to tolerate some degree of ambiguity, but ultimately just know that I really get you, I do get frustrated myself too occasionally :joy: . Just maybe not so much with listening, because I don’t treat it as harshly as I do reading, and I think that’s why it’s actually paying off. The difficulty not being much higher than what I can understand might be playing a big role, too.


More accurately, I try listening actively, but then inadvertently switch to passive (or totally indifferent) listening after a few minutes of concentration. :rofl:


Thank you, I’ll have to try this!

I’ll go on a hunt for some longer listening material and give this a try, see if I fair any better.

Also agree with your second post about the listening styles! Perhaps practicing all three is the key to becoming Japanese masters :thinking:


My friend who I read out loud with had been suggesting Teppei to me for a year! I’ve been resisting because I’m having to much fun fooling around with other random stuff. She studied with Teppei IRL for a time, too! Her accent is really nice, she knows a ton of vocabulary stretching games, and she always finds a way to express an idea, even if her Vocabulary is getting rusty (which is why I think she reads with me, to “keep it fresh”).

Now with you also saying it, I will probably start actually trying it more. --If I can find my way out of this Breath of the Wild rabbithole that I recently fell down.


Jun 30, Thu of Week 1 of Summer :beach_umbrella: 2022

I listened to 野ギツネ just now. I read aloud too, so as not to make “active listening” a failure (and it’s not really intensive, yet).

Interestingly, ()ギツネ can be read with ()ギツネ; and only the latter is in JMdict (Jisho), while the former is pronounced in this chapter’s title.

  • The sound change here is similar to 野良猫, btw.

Actually, I listened to Podbean’s podcast yesterday, while doing physical exercise, as well. It gave a different feel, for a different occasion, that I want to reach. (Unlike Anime, Youtube, VN, games, etc.) Needless to say, I don’t understand much, though I do catch some words and structures. I am doubtful to how much it will help with overall listening improvement…

I might uninstall (or just ignore and turn off notifications) for audiobook.jp Android app. It gives too many notifications. Also, I prefer podcasts to audiobooks right now.

Actually, I notice that I am ahead of Zakarius, the introducer of Hukumusume, and many other people here, by one day (because of my timezone). It might seem to be the case for a while, as I will probably always read in the morning (of GMT+7; though Japan is in GMT+9), when I am certain that I have some spare time (and have concentration power).


Summary post

My challenge ends tomorrow, so I’ll do a proper wrap-up post then, but I wanted to post one last update.

I finished season one of La Casa de las Flores a few days ago! I’m definitely going to keep watching the show, though probably more sporadically when the challenge is over. There are some things I’m very confused about in season two already, but I believe the show is deliberately withholding information from the audience, haha, because there was a time skip between the seasons, and a lot happened during that time for the characters.

I also finished watching 夢プロレス-dream on the ring- #4, which spotlights 真中ひまり (I’m linking instead of embedding this one because, once again, there are some images/footage from 真中ひまり’s gravure work). ひまり loves saunas, so maybe if she isn’t able to become a TJPW wrestler, she’ll be able to find a place in DDT Pro Wrestling as part of The 37(サウナ)Kamiina faction :sweat_smile:.

I cheated slightly on Sunday. I ended up counting Forbidden Door(禁断の扉) (the All Elite Wrestling/New Japan Pro Wrestling crossover pay-per-view show) as my Japanese listening practice, despite the fact that I watched it with English commentary. But the ring introductions for all of the wrestlers were in English and then Japanese, and there were a few (English subtitled) Japanese promos in the video packages, plus occasional Japanese phrases yelled out by the wrestlers. And of course, the English-speaking crowd managed to yell out a very loud 風になれ! when the chorus of Minoru Suzuki’s entrance song hit.

It was pretty neat to see an event like that happen in America. I’m happy for the Japanese wrestlers that they were so popular and beloved with the American crowd, to the point where the crowd often cheered for the NJPW wrestlers instead of their AEW favorites. It was also really amusing to hear some of the clips from Japanese commentary when the video footage failed, like this one, where they have some fun with American accents (blood warning for when the footage comes back).

Regarding the matter of extensive/intensive listening, I’ve found that I’m effectively unable to do intensive listening. I can do intensive reading and then pair that with listening (which does help my listening comprehension), but intensive listening is basically impossible for me.

So my approach with listening is basically just to take it as it is. If it’s way above my level, that means I’ll likely gleam very little from it (like with wrestling commentary, I just catch a few words here and there and rarely understand full sentences). In this situation, I don’t even try to pay too much attention. I just let the sound exist in the background. I’ve found that I pick up more and more the more words I add to Anki from my reading.

If it’s moderately close to my level (like if I’m able to understand 80% with native language subtitles), then that tends to be enough for me to watch at normal speed without pausing and understand enough of it in order to roughly follow it and still enjoy the story without getting too frustrated.

If it’s at my level (like I’d say the Duolingo Spanish podcast is, where I can listen without a transcript and understand 90-95%), then I’m able to listen while walking, doing dishes, knitting, etc… It takes just enough brain focus that I have to pay pretty close attention to the words if I want to understand it, but I don’t have to give it my complete undivided attention if I want to have any hope of comprehending.

As far as I can tell, all of my big leaps in understanding with listening have primarily come from doing intensive reading (especially intensive reading paired with SRS). That’s where I pick up new vocab, new grammar, etc. It’s how I get used to unfamiliar sentence structure and get faster at taking in entire sentences.

However, what listening is great for is applying and testing the vocab/grammar that I have learned. Watching La Casa de las Flores hasn’t really taught me more words or grammar, but it has helped me get much, much better at processing Spanish at the speed it’s spoken at. I realized how much I’d improved when I heard my coworker helping someone in Spanish, and I was able to follow a large portion of the conversation.

I don’t think I’d have been able to do that if I hadn’t been listening to the Duolingo podcast and also watching La Casa de las Flores. Those things sort of primed my brain for being able to match the sounds to the words that I know and process the meaning before the conversation moves on. With just reading, I think you’d probably get there eventually, but listening really forces you to think faster.

So I guess instead of having three different approaches with extensive/intensive listening, I do purely extensive listening, and just get different things out of it depending on the difficulty of the material and my current level:

  • Impossibly hard material — Low effort background passive immersion. Requires little effort, but I don’t get a whole lot out of it.

  • Slightly too hard material — Requires very high level of focus (as well as native language subtitles) for mixed results, but is also probably the most rewarding, in terms of being able to watch and enjoy interesting content.

  • Material that is at my level — Requires moderate focus, and is moderately rewarding. This is where I get the most out of it for the least amount of work.

Admittedly, with Japanese listening, most of what is available to me at my current level is either impossibly hard or slightly too hard. I’m much further along with Spanish. So the majority of my Japanese listening practice is either passive immersion, or intensive reading paired with listening reinforcement.

But, even so, I can still see myself slowly improving! A lot of it is just continuing to fill in the holes of my understanding with reading, then practicing/reinforcing what I do know with listening. I think as I continue to improve, active listening practice will become more and more useful. I’m not really worrying too much about it, at this point. I can focus on reading intensively, and then just let listening be purely about whatever I can do and still enjoy the experience, regardless of my level of comprehension.


Double-posting because I just watched a really interesting interview with TJPW wrestler Yuki Kamifuku (or Kamiyu as she typically goes by). The interview was produced for a Chinese program, and it’s half in English and half in Japanese. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

There are English subtitles for the whole thing, but I’m pretty sure they’re machine translated. It’s kind of neat, though, because they helped me understand what she was saying, while still requiring me to understand what was happening in the Japanese in order to fully comprehend haha. It was good listening practice for today :blush:.


I wish he was taking beginners still, because he would be an awesome conversational tutor.


:sound: Listening Room: Date 20220630 :loud_sound:

Day IX: 野ギツネ :fox_face:

Listened to today’s folktale, about a fox doing what foxes do best… transform and cause mischief.

One thing I love is the grammar rule that when speech is in the middle of a sentence it is followed by と, I really like how it’s pronounced softly.


Also realised that playing games and watching shows in Japanese (even if there is subtitles) counts as passive listening, so now that the challenge will be starting ‘officially’ tomorrow I’ll start listing any other Japanese listening adventures with some of those fun little boxes.


Hello! :durtle_hello: I’ll be joining the listening challenge with y’all~

:beach_umbrella: Redglare’s home post :beach_umbrella:

Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31


  • Do the exercises in SKM N2 Listening textbook. Already passed N2, but I left the N1 book at other place. Haven’t really been using this book, so why not durtle my way through it anyway. I guess this will count as intensive listening.
  • Listen to Hiiki Biiki podcast. Extensive listening. Currently on episode 145.

Link to daily updates

July                  01, 02, 03,
04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

Aug 03,


Jul 1, Fri of Week 1 of Summer :beach_umbrella: 2022


I listened to 子育て幽霊 just now. [1] This one is classified as 百物語, which I see resemblance to 百鬼夜行 (but not sure of the relevance); and the URL does say 怪談(かいだん), so 間違いない. (Also, read-aloud.)

This one is also on YouTube.

And yeah, there are also translations in the website. And in the Japanese version, there are illustrations too.

  • アメ() candy – At first I thought this one is rice because of 水アメ and can be poured.
    • I wonder if 水アメ is popular during that time period, that アメをください is sufficient to know what she meant?
    • Also, is that stuff even OK for 赤ん坊 ?
  • (あめ) – of course, rain :sun_behind_rain_cloud: . I noticed vocal differences from the earlier vocabulary later on, when I listened to the vocabulary’s recording on Yomichan; but not sure if I will be able to remember respective patterns in the end…

If I got as far as making my own 演説や作文, I would try reading them aloud too.

  1. Read aloud :studio_microphone:

    • Probably the first time that recording goes beyond 10 minutes.

Summary post

And that’s it! June is over, and so is this challenge for me. I managed to complete the rest of the month with a perfect score :blush:.

Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25

= Japanese
= Japanese and Spanish

The listening I got done in Spanish:

I listened to… a bunch of episodes of the Duolingo Spanish podcast. I’m not exactly sure how many :sweat_smile:. Doing the math, probably nine?

I also watched 14 episodes of La Casa de las Flores (all of season one, and the first episode of season two), all with Spanish subtitles.

The listening I got done in Japanese:

I watched four episodes of 夢プロレス-dream on the ring-, listened to ten 童話 stories, and watched miscellaneous other things (Japanese wrestling shows, press conferences, and assorted other videos)

All in all, it was a very successful challenge! I made a lot more progress with Spanish than Japanese, but that’s understandable, considering the fact that I’m further along with that language.

I wasn’t exactly sure how much I’d get out of this, because I feel like my Japanese isn’t far enough along to benefit terribly much, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to take my Spanish to the next step, but I’m really glad I ended up going for it anyway. I’m especially glad that I took the leap and started watching La Casa de las Flores, which I wouldn’t have done without this challenge as an incentive!

I did actually see noticeable improvement in both my Japanese and Spanish listening, even though I didn’t even do this a full month.

I’ll probably be back at the end of the official challenge period to participate again during the off month :sweat_smile:. In the meantime, I’ll be doing the read every day challenge :blush:.

Good luck to everyone starting the challenge, and to everyone who started already!


I decided to listen to the opening of an audiobook I got off Audible, 殺人ライセンス and was honestly surprised by how easy it felt. I have my audible app sped up to 1.15x at the moment because 硝子の塔の殺人 is honestly a bit slow for my tastes (doing a read-along with it), and even without resetting the speed I had no trouble keeping up. It’s probably not going to be the most challenging book, given the summary:


DeepL English for those who want it:

A high school student encountered the online game “License to Kill”. The same incident as in the game happened in real life. The names of the victims are also the same, and high school student Kyu, together with his classmate’s father, a detective, begin to investigate the case.

It was published in 2002. That kind of plot line was part a whole vibe in the early 2000s. I’m here for it.

I also relistened to a few chapters of 謎解きはディナーの後で and found it’s no longer at the upper edge of my listening abilities, so that was neat. I feel like I slack so much on listening after reaching a decent-ish level, so when I realize I’m still making progress I’m somewhat :surprised-pikachu: