MIA or WaniKani

I spent ~3 years just watching unsubtitled anime and doing a little bit of RTK. and listening to music.

I went from not understanding anything to kind of getting the plot to passing N3 with minimal preparation.

The important thing IMO is the unsubtitled part. And being able to still enjoy that experience even when you have no idea what they’re saying.

I recently took a trial lesson with a local japanese teacher, and she said that you could actually hear that i didn’t learn to speak by studying vocab and grammar in isolation, because i was clearly speaking in phrases rather than building things from blocks. Take that however you want.


Because they watch with English subtitles. :wink:

Yeah you do sentence mining. But making and reviewing Anki cards only takes me around 20 5 minutes each day.

My perspective: I can have a conversation because of AJATT/immersion. I’m here because it didn’t really work for me from a reading perspective.

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Didn’t you immerse with books too? :smiley:

incomprehensible language can’t possibly do anything for your language skills. that’s impossible, and anyone claiming otherwise is a blatant liar.

comprehensive input however, when structured well, is the easiest way to acquire language, which is why i’d recommend starting with a good grammar dict and graded readers, later manga and light/visual novels.

just “immersion” does zero for you, as my colleagues can attest, who’ve been in japan for upwards of 20 years without learning more than a few phrases.

lastly, i’d be extremely careful exploring whatever faster, easier or better way there is claimed to exist. in my experience, discipline is the number 1 factor, not magic, or sentence mining, or immersion.


That’s rather harsh.
Here are my personal facts:

  • I started working on Japanese sometime ~2015
  • The only textbook i had was RTK
  • I watched way more anime (unsubtitled) than might be healthy
  • I on-and-off used Anki for kanji practice and cloze deletion
  • The first time I had a teacher or another textbook was in 2018, when I decided to give JLPT a try, starting from N3
  • I went through some JLPT preparation books with said teacher, most of the grammar i was already aware of even if I hadn’t explicitly studied it
  • I passed N3 in Summer 2018 with ok language knowledge and reading and near-perfect listening
  • I studied a little more for N2
  • I did N2 in winter and passed with 60/60 listening
  • I decided to work on my kanji some more because i had barely done anything there in ages and i didn’t feel like i deserved that N2 based on my kanji knowledge.
  • I found out about WK
  • I am now here, at level 16.

I would argue that there is a clear difference between immersion and immersion with the clear intent to learn. You pay attention somewhat differently.


You don’t learn from zero comprehension. Unless you have an idea what things are about, your brain cannot search for patterns.

You did vocab and grammar studies, which is what started you on the language. Watching anime alone won’t have done much for your language skills.

What you seem to miss here is the fact that you’re trying to sell your ideas to people with personal experience.

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Have you ever looked at this script extension? It is a wonderful way to build intuition regarding kanji readings. During lessons, I now can sometimes guess the correct reading of a kanji before learning it.


All I wanna do is have you do immersion all day :gun::gun::gun::gun: and take your moneeey :musical_note:


I think you fail to understand how people learn differently. First of all, when we learn our language we don’t have any study in grammar or how the language works, we simply learn from our experiences around us. This says something about immersion and that it works if you do it correctly. Most of the people who fail to do the mass immersion approach have the wrong mind set and give up. You cannot go out and say

because this is a blatant lie. If I did immersion for the rest of my life I would get somewhere, because that is how the brain works. However, if I only do 30 minutes a day and leave it at that I’m going to get no where except maybe a こんにちは here and a なに/なん there. It’s frustrating to see how people can put down other methods and say they don’t work at all when the thing is we all learn differently. I’ve seen people with huge success doing tons of immersion, in fact I talked to a guy who said he did immersion for a long time and was able to fool native speakers into thinking he was native. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not an MIA activist and I’ve only been following some of their suggestions for a short amount of time. I disagree with some of the things they say because I actually look into how I learn unlike some people who blindly just follow their process. I’ve spent 25 hours actively listening to audio and I can tell you can’t just sit there and "enjoy content, you have to actually engage yourself and listen to the audio without spacing out. There is so much more to just immersion, and that is why people fail. On top of that, I think people forget to get to the part where you need to incorporate other learning along with active listening which is why they fail as well.

Anyways, I’ve already learned 300 kanji in around 7 days and I have a 97% retention rate doing RRTK (so far). After I finish, I’ll begin doing N5 vocab and start sentence mining in a month or so once I can understand more.


I didn’t. Neither am i trying to sell anyone anything. I am describing what my process was for getting to where I am now.

Any study of grammar or vocabulary was incidental through exposure or bilingual cloze cards on anki.

I am not making a claim that this is the be all end all. It did get me to the point where i was able to speak with italki teacher in only Japanese immediately (even though speaking for the first time read immensely stressful)


You’re wrong.

When you’re a baby, what input you get from your mom is relevant. If it’s comprehensible for you, you’ll pick it up. If it isn’t, then that content will wash over you. That’s why you start out with kiddy language as a toddler, not with adult vocabulary, even though your mom 100% uses it with other people than you (and you listening in).

Your mother will likely also correct and guide you when you produce your first utterances. You don’t have that as an adult learner, but this time around, you already know at least one language and have an understanding of how certain things work.

This is the third and last time I’ll state it here: Incomprehensible input is incomprehensible. Might as well run head first against a wall, same effect.
Comprehensible input following the n+1 rule leads to predictably fast and stable progress.

“Everyone learns differently” is also a statement I’d like to challenge. That’s something people seemed to think 20 years ago and has been proven to be wrong countless times since. We all acquire language the same way. But that’s besides the point and just something I wanted to add.


I learn horribly in a classroom setting. I can self-teach myself something in almost half the time it would take a professor to teach it. On top of that, if a professor is teaching it I end up not learning it because they go too slow, I zone out, etc. This is what I mean by learning differently. So for MIA, their learning style fits with how I learn, which is faster paced if I want it to be. The “immersion” part is something everyone needs obviously because without it you can’t reference anything you are learning to how it sounds.

This is hilarious, I’m wrong? It’s an opinion my guy. I don’t understand why you are arguing with me, you seem to want to make sure people DON’T use the MIA. I never stated that immersion is the godly method and everyone should do it over WK and other approaches. From what I’ve seen you haven’t even used that approach, and you are telling people what not to do based on your peer’s experiences. When someone posts their success doing it you turn it down and say they are wrong? It’s just mind boggling to me how you can’t open your mind and see how this method works for people.


i don’t care about mia one bit. what i’m disputing is the belief that incomprehensible input “somehow” does something whatsoever for your language ability.

i am a proponent of immersion. who isn’t? i just can’t stand bs like “i watched 10.000 hours of anime / mined 10.000 sentences, didn’t understand anything, but i’m fluent now”.
immersion is a tool like flashcards or grammar studies. use it properly and it helps.


Oh, okay I see what you’re getting at. Yeah, their claim that straight immersion for 2 years and you can be fluent is pretty preposterous. I can see it if you are actively engaged in listening the whole 2 years, but it would need to be a lot conversation listening where you are forced to listen and try and give a response. The reason being is because you are forced to actually listen which creates a certain amount of stress which helps learning. But, that isn’t possible because no one can just stop what they are doing, fly to Japan, and never speak a lick of their native language.

But that’s not different. Classroom teaching doesn’t work for anyone, or at least is horribly inefficient :smiley: I’m saying this as a person who took 10 years of German and can’t talk shit. With Japanese I took a different approach (same as with English, tried to learn through absorption). In classes other people could maybe answer some word quizzes and grammar questions better, but were clueless in actual communication situations.

That said I’m somewhere in the middle of these opinions. I do think immersion is super important but just by listening you don’t miraculously learn the language. I don’t really learn grammar by itself anymore, since I think just listening, talking and reading is going to do more.

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It’s funny you say that, because people tell me I should go learn Japanese in a college classroom because it works (it did for them)! Haha, see? We do learn differently, but I’m starting to come to the conclusion it really comes down to your mindset.


It plainly worked for our first language.

Sure, it required an environment where we could lay around doing nothing but listen intently to incomprehensible input for six years, parsing out the bits of babble we heard constantly until we identified something with a sufficiently strong association to a visual cue to go from incomprehensible to nearly-comprehensible, and—depending on our particular culture—having caregivers actively invested in presenting us with input structured in such a way to optimize the frequency of those intuitive leaps—but, one way or another it obviously worked. And even if it’s not necessarily a process that’s easily reproduced again, or the most efficient way to learn another language, it’s ridiculous to claim that the approach “can’t possibly do anything.”

you don’t learn it in a college classroom, nobody does. it’s inefficient, because the teacher will dictate the pace, and probably not optimized for you. the content has to fit in semester-sized chunks of time, and things you’re better off doing alone (things like wk, or podcasts, or nhk easy news, many popular sources for self-study) can’t be done in a classroom without wasting time.

i know people with a master’s degree, speaking terrible japanese with a thick accent, and i know self-studying learners who can communicate fluently (not necessarily perfectly).

there’s many ways to rome, college isn’t one, lol.