N5 listening


I think watching with English subtitles is like training wheels… You’re going not going to get very far if you never take them off, and if you keep using them indefinitely they can instill some bad habits. From my experience, I know watching hours and hours of anime with subtitles taught me little beyond common “weeb” words like すごい and かわいい, because most of the sounds were just going in one ear and out the other. However, after I started paying more attention to the audio and forcing myself to listen, I started to pick up words here and there. Not very much learning for the time spent, but it was something. On the plus side, having a strong memory of a scene has helped me remember certain words more effectively than rote memorization. This may not work as well for people who have more visually-oriented memories.

I think my listening comprehension has definitely gotten a lot better since I “graduated” from English subtitles. These days I always watch Japanese shows and anime without any subtitles (unless they have Japanese subs available), and if I’m forced to have them on, I’ve trained myself to look at the center of the screen so I won’t read them. I only understand about 50-70% depending on the material (if I understand less than that I usually just call it quits), but it’s a lot more rewarding and it trains my ear a lot more than watching with English subtitles.

Well, this ended up being a very subjective post but hopefully it contributes something. For N5 level, I would probably suggest starting with a short video, or perhaps textbook audio (like from Genki) and getting to a point where you feel comfortable listening to and processing short sentences without relying on translating into English. (Or at least work on reducing how much you do so)


If you can do an N1 listening book without much difficulty, I think you’re set! I think doing JLPT specific practice problems to get used to the format of the questions (you need to take notes while listening for some problems) would be really useful too. Overall, I felt it wasn’t too hard and pretty reasonable material/speed wise for the level. Although, I’m not sure if I can say this since it was the lowest of my scores… :joy:


Sorry for derailing… but by any chance do you have a youtube channel where you sing covers of japanese songs and that kind of stuff?


Yes, I do!
I think it should be one of the first things that show up if you search “sokei” on YouTube
Do we know each other? :joy:


No that I know

But maybe in another life? :thinking:
Or maybe right now

I really did not pay attention to your name, but I had stumbled upon your channel before because I recognized your profile pic. I remember looking at it for a while the first time I saw it because I thought the drawing was super cute.

So you’re talented I acknowledge


You asked if I did anything different? These lines kinda made me think, I do this. Whatever I hear, I compare it with the given subtitle and see if what I thought was correct or not. I sometimes read the subtitle first then try to guess what the speaker might say, it felt good whenever I got it perfectly, like the speaking habit too (ending particles stuff like that).

Again, this does feel like a subjective topic, working for some people, not working for others. Understanding the anime language doesn’t make you a master either. Real life Japanese is way faster and words get muddled up a lot too, it’s very clear in anime.


I see, thanks for that, I’ll try to do the same next time I watch a Japanese show. :slight_smile:


Don’t set the bar too high if you’re a beginner, you’ll get frustrated, I never thought of anime as studying, it’s just something I loved and watched.


I think if you have a Netflix account you can watch anime in Japanese with Japanese subs, but I can’t be 100% sure (Japanese Netflix has that, at least.)


It’s hit or miss in the U.S. at least. Many of the newer releases have Japanese subs available, but not all of them. And most of the older shows don’t.


It’s pretty easy for me to read subtitles and hear what they’re saying and think, “Huh… I can see why they decided to translate that since there’s no real direct translation,” as well as other times where I think, “Wow, what a stupid translation. Why didn’t they just say x?” lol

Anyway, OP, while it’s definitely important to have that passive listening going on, if you’re studying for the N5, you might want to stick to materials that have come with whatever books you’re using and stuff. Those sample conversations and stuff will be at the appropriate speed, vocabulary, and grammar as what you’ll find on the test. If anything, it’ll probably help you get used to picking out words faster since you’ll be listening to stuff you already know and can focus on understanding everything instead of just saying “Oh, I know that word!” a couple times in a 30 minute time span.

If you don’t have any books, just search on YouTube for N5 listening and you’ll find a bunch of stuff.


TV Japan has those Japanese subtitles, too. I signed up from Direct TV/AT&T for $25 a month (in the U.S.) for TV Japan. So I can use that station for Reading or listening practice. It’s pretty easy for me to ignore the Japanese subtitles if I’m only listening.


However, all (recent?) Netflix Original Series (that I’ve checked) have dubs and subs in a variety of languages, including Japanese. But if the show was not originally in Japanese, the subs and dubs will not match.