Nihongo Switch - a wonderful podcast for intermediate learners

Nihongo Switch has proven very precious to me so far, so I’ld like to let the community hear a bit about it. Here goes :slight_smile:

First, useful links:

Nihongo Switch is a podcast in Japanese, targetting intermediate learners, and released on a weekly basis. Each episode has a duration of ~15 minutes. It is free :money_mouth_face:


I find this podcast outstanding for two reasons. First, it is very entertaining. Listening to a podcast is all the more precious when you are paying attention to what is going on. Usually, I cannot focus more than 30sec on a podcast, though :face_with_raised_eyebrow:. Nihongo Switch catches and keeps my attention throughout each episode, which is a feat. The person talking, Yamamoto Iku (山本郁), is a great narrator, and the episode are very well scripted, so I actually enjoy myself a lot while listening!

Second, it really is tailored for intermediate learners. By the textbook standard, my Japanese is intermediate, and I actually get 80% of what is going on there. The vocabulary and grammar really are intermediate-level, and it feels awesome hearing what you are currently learning.

As a side note, their website provides additional resources:

  • A list of important words is accessible a few days before an episode is released
  • Full transcripts are also accessible
    I don’t use these, but some may be happy to :nerd_face: I think you have to subscribe to the newsletter in order to access those additional resources.

Hope you’ll like it!


I just listened to the most recent episode, and then the very first episode, and enjoyed them both! Thank you very much for the recommendation!

(Also, I love your username and matching avatar)


That sounds interesting. When you say intermediate what exactly do you mean? Would you say JLPT N4 or Genki II is enough to follow the podcast?

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What kind off topics are discussed? Is the podcast based around a specific theme or is it kind of random?

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If you check the website you will see the titles. The latest ones did not look that inspiring, but the one I tried was actually very interesting.

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There are transcripts supplied apparently (I was just listening) so that would help you if you were lower level. The lady who does it introduces herself in the very first episode as a Japanese teacher of Japanese language, only recently to foreigners. She was having trouble finding suitable material for intermediate level learners to listen to, so decided to make some herself. It’s very professional.


I tried listening to the latest episode but could ultimately not get through. She talks EXCRUCIATINGLY slow and enunciates everything so clearly it sounds pretty unnatural to me. Had to turn it up 1.5x speed to even bear it. Not sure getting used to this kind of “teacher speed” is that beneficial, but it can work as a bridge to more native material.

Surprised it’s marketed as intermediate-advanced, as it felt more leaning towards beginner material. And I wouldn’t consider myself advanced yet. I really recommend Shikuhakku for intermediate-advanced listeners.


I subscribed a few weeks ago because it looked interesting, but hadn’t gotten around to listening yet. Thanks for reminding me, completely forgot to check it out! The vocab list and transcript are huge helps, though she speaks clearly enough that I haven’t needed it more than a couple of times per episode yet.

Yeah, I wouldn’t classify it truly as intermediate myself either, though it is a slight step-up from the true beginner audio you encounter most of the time. But as someone who is really weak when it comes to listening (working on it) I find it helpful, would prefer her to speak at regular speed because I could check the transcript, but I can understand her decision speak slower and to enunciate clearly.


I watched the 慣用句 episode on Youtube. Even though the grammar and vocabulary she uses is definitely intermediate, the pacing and pronunciation seems more like geared towards beginner-intermediate learners. This is by no means a bad thing, in fact it can very well be a bridge to intermediate content. :slightly_smiling_face:


Uh, thanks Kyusarin! I actually like your avatar a lot :slight_smile: Glad you enjoyed what you’ve heard!

Yeah, I’m pretty sure! Vocabulary-wise, given your WK level (+ Genki 2), you’ll be like fish in water. Grammar-wise, I believe N4 people going through N3 are the target audience. With that said, I believe I had already been through much of N3 before listening, so I cannot give a great feedback on that. If you give it a try, please let me know how you felt about it!

The lady actually focuses on one topic per episode. It is pretty random, ranging from what you can expect (food in Japan, 天気の子), to more unexpected territories (April Fools Day, what people say when breaking up, motivational proverbs), with here and there a few gracious excursions into her childhood memories.
With that said, from what I can infer from your posts here and there, I think this podcast will be too simple for you, like it was for morteasd :slight_smile:

Erh, your experience indeed feels like a terrible mismatch :smiley:

Like @Uzuki, grammar and vocabulary-wise, I believe Yamoto-san’s podcast to dwell much in the N3 area, so students knowing much of N4 and going through N3 may be her real target.

Regarding her pace, I believe she also has in mind “lower-intermediate” learners like myself? Whatever that may mean for listening ability, though :sweat_smile:, but that’s what I am considered to be in my school.

I don’t know if it will be interesting to others if I add this, but I am not trying to push hard my listening comprehension when listen to this podcast. I work on it more intensively with animenative material. However, I take benefit from Nihongo Switch the same way I do from Satori Reader. To me, these two are well crafted-resources that require little effort, giving me an opportunity to enjoy, and yet allow what I have been studying to consolidate :slight_smile:


It looks like it could be summed up as a resource for people learning intermediate grammar who don’t necessarily have strong listening skills.

Seems like a pretty great stepping stone resource, to be honest. I find it really rough moving up from stuff that is both slow and very beginner-friendly; the next stage always seems to be to use much more grammatical variety and go close to natural speed. It would be kind of nice to have something which introduces more variety without going too much faster :sweat_smile: she does seem to err a little too much towards using that weird drawn-out slowness at times, but the slow pace mostly comes from gentle word spacing.

Thank you for the recommendation!


Will be sure to check it out, thanks Mr. Kakapo. hon hon hon

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I understand that it’s totally unnatural, but I find Iku’s slow, teacher-voice soothing since I have no problem understanding it. Plus it’s short. I’ve been enjoying it a lot more than Let’s Learn Japanese from Small Talk where I have to いっしょけんめい with all my brain power to understand more than 60% of it (which really kills my pace at work).

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Thank you for this perspective because my first impression was “if this is intermediate then what the heck am I?” I can definitely see it being useful to people who haven’t spent a lot of time training listening and might need to go at a slower pace even if they technically understand all the constituent words and grammar.

Nice recommendation :+1: Checking this out now and it seems much more my speed (multiple definitions).


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