Listening Practice to Japanese

Hey everyone,

I know there is the resources thread with a section for listening tools and podcast recommendations but I’m kind of lost with all the options and need some directions.

My Japanese listening/speaking is really not that good I can manage to chat on Line and HelloTalk app so much better now compared to last year but my listening and speaking skill are really bad.

Someone from another forum who is using AJATT method (from what I saw preaching too lol) told me to start listening to podcast and record the anime I watch in MP3 and play them all the time even if I don’t understand.

I started listening in my car to ひいきびいき podcast when going to my job and returning home and sometimes at work too because I can work while listening to something.

Problem is, I understand 1% of what they say so my question is, am I wasting my time with this method and should I find something more beginner friendly? should I stick to this and I will eventually make sense of it? I have limited time studying Japanese so I want to make the most of it and not waste my time with a method that is is not working for me.

Also, is there more beginner friendly podcast ? or listening practice for a beginner a little bit above N5? N5 stuff is okay I can understand pretty much everything.

JapanesePod101 has a ton of learning podcasts that are great for listening practice, ranging from absolute beginner – advanced.

It requires a paid subscription, but there are plenty of legitimate discount codes you can find out there to make it that much more worth it. They can be pretty spammy about their ads and everything on the site, but the mobile app (called “Innovative”) doesn’t have any of those ads, so it’s really convenient for practice on commutes ^^

I’d recommend signing up for their free trial and seeing if it’s something you’d like, I think it’s a great place to start!

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Satori Reader is very good.

I heard about Japanesepod101 but was not sure if they are actually good but I might as well try it, I don’t mind paying for quality Japanese learning tool .

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Yes I started using it last week, I really liked Human Japanese (same creator) this is one of the best app I used to learn Japanese grammar and Satori Reader is very good and well made .

Human Japanese has been a life saver for me.

I do frecuent listening with my mp3 player playing my show’s audio while doing iddle activities… mainly while commuting, cooking or doing shores.
I must say that the most benefits I get from this is while listening to content I’ve already watched, since the visual context and the plot it’s alread there, so I can focus more on the words and single phrases. Anyway you must have into consideration that it’s an activity that works very slowly, rounding up your current knowledge. And yes, there’s lot of listening that won’t be understood. :man_shrugging: … so mixing it with some other iddle tasks is no lose situation when doing this :sweat_smile:

Another approach I’m doing it’s doing sentence mining from the shows I watch. I posted here about it. Though it’s a tool that you must create by yourself, so there’s that.

The main advantage with the posted method, it’s having native content that can be adjusted to your knowledge to provided sentences (with audio or video) to be used as comprehension practice, and then the same content be used as passive listening. and are websites that provide a similar approach, but with premade content.

Though I’m subscribed to Jpod101 until 2019 I now scarcely use it, since the actual speed of the dialogues I realize it was totaly off compared with real media (beginner and intermediate seasons anyway).

Anyway, there’s a free trial to all the options mentioned, so you might as well just try them :+1:


Thanks for the tips :slight_smile:

I need to figure out a way on how to find sentence my current ability +1 difficulty method because a lot of the text I read I end looking every word and I remember nothing because there is too much stuff that is new :frowning:

I will check more in detail the post you made later tonight but I checked Koichi’s explanation of +1 thing and it makes perfect sense to me and I actually learn many words in the past month with text that was my level but with some new words, I did not know.

The AJATT people will tell you that not understanding (but still spending hours of your time) while listening is fine and to just keep doing it even if it’s not fun because if you aren’t dedicated enough to make Japanese your life what are you even bothering for jeez.


I’ve had decent progress using “The Cut-Tongue Sparrow” which is available on Spotify. If you listen during your commute, you’ll get a combination of listening to natural speed Japanese, listening to slower Japanese, listening where you can’t understand, listening where you’re already familiar with the content, listening and repeating, and you can even shadow a bit once you’re somewhat familiar with the material. I think it is one of the better resources for high beginner level.

The only real downside is that it is sort of a limited version of the language. What I mean is that it is not casual or conversational, but someone reading prose, sort of like an audiobook.

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Yes I noticed a certain … passion about the method :slight_smile:

Thanks ! I will check it out

Also, ひいきびいき is great. I find their Japanese a bit easier to listen to than some others. You may want to also try the SBS Japanese podcast. I like this one because it has a lot of different voices and speech styles.

Don’t forget music! While singing adds in some less ideal factors such as alternative pronunciations and lax/strange grammatical structure, listening to and singling along with Japanese music can be a great way to practice speaking/listening. Casually listening to songs will help you learn the sounds, and taking time to sit down and read the lyrics with a side-by-side translation can add to your vocabulary and further ingrain what you may otherwise just memorize by rote as sound patterns into language. The other great part about using music is that you can pace yourself by picking slower and/or simpler songs if you need to at first.

Being able to understand songs by the Japanese groups I liked has always been my biggest motivator for learning Japanese. I first came to like the songs because of the instrumentation and the sound of Japanese, but now can appreciate them for the message they carry as well. Of course, there are those times where learning the lyrics made me highly question my opinion of the song, as well! :rofl:

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Just to point out: there are two things going on here.

  1. listening for comprehension practice. The above resources are all great for that.

  2. listening to let your brain learn how to parse spoken Japanese. You said in your post that your understanding was really low when listening to podcasts. A lot of beginning students (which i don’t know if you are) haven’t spent enough time listening to spoken Japanese to allow their brain to train itself to parse correctly.
    Here is a way to think about it. When you are listening to Japanese, even if you don’t know the vocabulary being used, can you hear where words/phrases begin and end? could you write what you hear phonetically? can you pick out words and then look them up in a dictionary?
    If you have a hard time doing these things, then I think you want to spend more time listening to natural spoken Japanese, even if you don’t understand the content.
    This process doesn’t take a huge amount of time but it is in the hundreds of hours range. And this is not bulls**t, it really works, your perception of hearing the language shifts dramatically. It slows way down, and “spreads out”.


That’s actually a very good point you got there but yeah I’m ok with understanding word and particles and where it end etc …

I already listened to hundreds of hours of anime in Japanese and play my games mostly in Japanese with subtitles so this probably helped me without realizing it lol.

And just to make sure, I just listened to some stuff in Japanese and yes I’m ok for that :slight_smile:

Yes I listen to Japanese music a lot only problem is, I don’t take the time to check lyrics :frowning:
I guess I should do that once in a while to at least learn new vocab.

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