Hey, I’m looking for something to listen to in my car. Using Youtube is not comfortable for me, and I still can’t listen to stuff in japanese very well, so I’m looking for beginner or learning stuff.
Not exactly what you were looking for, but I’m currently using news in slow Japanese which is really good, because it gives you quizzes on the material, and new articles every week!
For the car though, you might wanna try something like Pimsleur, I’ve heard really good things.
I listen to Japanesepod101. I mostly just listen to the lessons while driving but they also have a ton of other features that you could do if you aren’t driving. Lessons are usually about 15-20 minutes long.
You could consider trying some shadowing material. E.g. the book with CD “Shadowing: Let’s Speak Japanese (Beginner to Intermediate)”.
It’s basically a series of recordings by native speakers along with all their transcriptions. Good for developing listening comprehension.
I am level five starting today and found this website helpful for absolute beginning listeners. https://www.wasabi-jpn.com/japanese-lessons/fairy-tales-and-short-stories-with-easy-japanese/
I will mention some of the material I’ve been listening over the year and some caveats about those, you might find similar material and have the same caveat perhaps (or not)
Jpod 101: I was super engaged with this website’s material the first 5-6 months into japanese. Explanations about grammar, dialogues that I could follow, and then get some vocab as well… heck, they even have the tool for doing shadowing over the audio.
Problem was the ratio of english : japanese… about 10 : 1 … so that was how much listening I was doing… I mean… 10 min episodes… I did probably 3-4 a day while commuting… for an added quantity of 4-5 minutes of japanese … daily … not so much that was…
Japanese podcast: そこあに … Ok, I found this really recommended podcast in some list of best podcasts to listen to … It was ok… not geting much tbh (probably after 6-7 months into japanese)… and mostly sounded like an endless ramble where I might pick up some sentences and spare words… after some weeks I dropped.
Ripped audio of shows I’ve been watching: I used to watch anime and dramas with jsubs and english subs… and then rip the audio and put that in my mp3 player. I would have the plot of the show fresh in my mind and then the audio of the episodes while commuting would aloud me to pick progressively more and more nuances I missed when watching the show… Some audios where ok (no noise, explotions and overall clear dialogues), some were terrible, after some months I knew what shows might translate well to audio; and if Netflix original series, those have even visual impaired audio track, which is the dialogues plus an extra decription of the scene!! that was super helpfull!!.
Audiobooks. Ok these is where I’m currently after some 10 months doing the ripped audio. I’m listening books I’ve already readed before, s the plot it’s taken care of, and then the audiobook, with a professional voice actor it’s been a great way to keep myself engaged while listening. I’m going trhough the first Harry Potter book, and I might miss a dialogue or several… but it’s ok since eventually it goes to a part of the book I’m able to identify and follow. So it’s proving to be a great resource.
I would say in the end audiobooks and the eye impaired track comming from Netflix have been the better audio practice.
edit: I see you ask for beginner material, and some of the things I threw might not sound so friendly to start with… but I trully think the volume of material you listen makes a huge difference. In some 10 minutes of japanese you might hear several words you know, grammar put into use, etc… Pimsleur and Michel Thomas methods might be ok too if you are seeking for learning material for primming your hearing before digging into actual japanese content. But even so try to find some material where you can comfortably listen while maybe not understanding much initially (something familiar to you perhaps), it’s tricky to find such material, but it’s very worthwhile too.
Just my 2 cents in the end…
I know you asked specifically for beginner stuff, but I would like to recommend not discounting the value of listening to hard stuff even as a beginner. Listening to normal radio will accustom your ear to the rhythm and tempo of the language, the pronunciation, and the intonation, along with getting you used to different voices and manners of speaking. You’ll be surprised how you also pick up words here and there. The key, in my opinion, is listening quantity. The more the better.
I’ve experienced this first-hand when I learned Spanish. At first, everything was pure gibberish. I only heard a bunch of noise. After several months of listening for several hours per week, suddenly something changed. I call it “unlocking” your ear. While I still couldn’t understand what was being said, I could now distinguish words and phrases, even though I didn’t know their meanings.
I’ve already found that my Japanese listening has improved through listening to just regular radio. When words are used that I’ve learned are used, I actually recognize them! I’ve even had it happen that I learn a new word in my studies, and already know exactly how to pronounce it because I’ve heard it so often. (Specifically, I mean the intonation, etc.)
All that said, I recommend getting a podcast app, which there are many free or cheap ones. I have tested many and personally like Podcast Republic. It’s free or you can pay a few dollars to eliminate the relatively unobtrusive ad bar. After that, you basically have access to nearly unlimited free content in Japanese! Here are some of my favorites:
NHKラジオニュース (NHK news. A boring tone, but useful for training your ear for sure. You’ll hear certain expressions quite often, and they use numbers a lot. Valuable.)
世界にひとつだけの本 (This one is absolutely fantastic. She reads books very slowly and clearly and with feeling. Highly, highly recommended.)
The Lifestyle Museum
スマスマE-kids (This one is for young kids, so it’s slower and with simpler language. Plus, you train your ear from another angle as you hear the unique way children speak.)
ヘタレ外人 (Also great for a beginner. This is a Japanese learner living in Japan who interviews his Japanese friends. Some episodes are in English to just talk about various Japan-related topics, others are just the interviews. Really good stuff I definitely recommend.)
You can just copy/paste these right into the podcast app’s search bar. Some podcast apps won’t find them all, but you can easily find and subscribe to most of them.
I can’t recommend this method enough. You can even just have this playing in the background while you do other things. Every bit counts!
Anyway, I hope this helps you.
thanks for all the info, I started with Jpod101 and it’s amazing for me! I could not believed I didn’t started with this earlier. It’s true, they have lots of english but I’m able to graspe the japanese and understand it. It feels great. They also have tons of stuffs there.
Wow, great recommendations! Thank you, I’ll defiently look into this!
Look for Let’s Learn Japanese From Small Talk on Spotify. It’s just two girls talking about everyday topics.