Trying to Get Fluent In Japanese?

Yeah, I don’t really see how it’s supposed to produce output either, if fluency is the goal. Plus, I have a hard time thinking anything that doesn’t involve you conversing (or at least being surrounded by people conversing) all day in that language can be called immersion.

Thats what I’m doing starting tomorrow! Moving into a sharehouse with only Japanese people in Japan… :s

If anyone is around Michigan, there is an intensive program at a university around there where you spend the summer in a Japanese only environment

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I’d like to pose a mini question to everyone: Would semi immersion via Japanese shows with english subtitles… “count”? I know Japanese subs are the best way, but I’m not entirely sure I know enough to really understand much of them, and I would worry that my lack of understanding might result in me becoming bored and ceasing. ;;

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I would say try using both if possible! I found a Netflix extension that let me put both English and Japanese subtitles on while watching Terrace House, and could understand a surprising amount from just Japanese.

I’m not sure where you are in life, but I just graduated, worked for a year to save every $ I could, and moved to Japan to pursue this dream :slight_smile:


You can always watch multiple times.
Watch once without subtitle, trying to get anything you can.
Watch a second time with Japanese subtitle, the crutch should help you get a lot more
Watch a third time with English subtitle if necessary
Watch a fourth time with Japanese subtitle
Watch a fifth time without subtitle. By that time, you should know the whole thing by heart anyway.

Yes, it may not be fun to watch the same thing so many times but (a) you don’t have to do it in one sitting, and (b) studying requires some work after all…


I never was against immersion. That’s how I went from intermediate to advanced learner in English. However, immersion by itself doesn’t help with output. It gives you the materials to build the house, but you still have to build it. AJATT reinforces the idea that having the materials to build the house is enough, which is not.

Just my 2c.


Adding to what @Nath said, I feel like a lot of people try to go from EN subs to no subs at all and that’s too big of a jump in my opinion.

What distinguishes reading from listening is the senses used. With reading, you’re using your vision while with listening you’re using your hearing. That’s one of the reasons why most language learners have a superior reading ability. Specifically with Japanese, I bet there’s people reading harder stuff than the speeches in anime, but they can’t still really follow these same anime speeches.

I’d suggest that once you get some significant amount of vocab and grammar knowledge, you should start watching stuff with JP subtitles. I never did this step with my English, that’s why it took me years to be able to drop subtitles in movies, etc. Because by having JP subtitles, you can associate your reading ability with your listening ability.

I’d not suggest adding English subtitles, at least not on your first try. Between EN and JP subtitles, your brain will choose the former.

Again, just my 2c :smiley:


nope… the brain will stop trying to figure out the meaning of the sounds and just treat voices as background noise. The same happens to me if I listen a movie in a language I know with subtitles in another language which I also now… I do not listen/read both things at the same time and it is annoying.

Give it a chance to the AJATT blog, it also speaks long about why JP monolingual study is always superior etc (or antimoon which is the same but to learn english)

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I know. It would be crazy to be against immersion if the main goal it’s precisely that for most learning any language :sweat_smile:

But whenever there’s mention of AJATT here the dicussion loses the north… and the benefits of promptly doing immersion it’s lost in other arguments.
There’re lots of topics about grammar, vocab, kanji aids, etc. But few on actually starting with real material (the when, how and the basic troubleshoot for japanese immersion) in this forum (at least in the months I’ve been following the forum).

I get that there could be some material that it’s designed for this that falls into the grey copyrights zone, so it’s understandable why it’s not openly shared here, but it’s like it’s not a common topic even.

About all the intput vs. output theory. Mmmm… it’s just too easy to accomodate one’s own experience and generalize about it.
English it’s not my native language either, but if I had to examine how was it that I got to a fluent level… I would be like :man_shrugging: … it was so easy to do immersion in english (and for sure it took me much more than 18 months). Probably my experience was more like heavy input for years… then output through writing (forums) … output through speaking. So it actually fits more or less with the input theory :thinking: . But then again I’m no expert, and my only experience it’s my own and somewhat biased :sweat_smile:

I would love for sure to hear (read) other’s people routine on immersion, struggles and tips, much more than I would like to read yet another “AJATT” or “interesting conversation about language adquisition” post :roll_eyes:.

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Thank you~ I think I’ll go ahead and try this! Going without English subtitles sounded rly daunting when I thought about it, but the way you worded it makes it seem a lot more doable ^^

(And thanks @ everyone who replied to me! I appreciate the advice~)


In my experience watching with English subs is pretty much a waste of time when it comes to studying Japanese. If you just want to enjoy a show and your skill level isn’t quite there yet, there’s nothing wrong with turning on the EN subs but don’t lie to yourself that you’re learning Japanese.


Well, because AJATT is absolutist? Precisely because there’s no solution fits all, we tend to ignore AJATT. I’m sure the method has something to learn from, but all I heard from it is “It’s better than anything else” from people that think they’re “better than anyone else (natives included)”. I’d say that people in this community are relatively open minded, but we prefer discussing about actual stuff :slight_smile:

There’s two Japanese Book Clubs active 365 days a year.

Beginner Japanese Book Club (魔女の宅急便)

Intermediate/Advanced Book Club



How fast is quick? A month, three, a year? Is it even possible? To become fluent in Japanese in less than a year you’ll have to live in Japan and have a huge amount of free time to spend learning all the different aspects of the language and exercising them. Nothing good can come from becoming fluent quickly if it’s not really necessary, in my opinion.

Getting fluent quickly or immersing oneself in the language without being really prepared can be counterproductive and cause a huge amount of anxiety when reaching a plateau where one cannot distinguish any progress, to the point of even giving up just because of the immense sensory load.

If you are a self learner and want to learn the language just for fun or make friends or travel or watch anime without subtitles or even live in Japan in the future, my advice is to learn at your own pace, set your own goals and enjoy the process. You can even find a tutor or someone to guide you in the process. There are great resources on the Internet.

Japanese is a beautiful language that will open the gates to an even more beautiful culture, and it would be a shame to close them ahead of time wanting to get fluent quickly without being prepared for the challenge.


Actually I’ve somewhat forgot about those. Maybe not the lectures of my choice, but I’ll look into those posts, as to see in what ways have people there tackled those books.

I’m about to do something like this with the drama 1リットルの涙

Will make a post about the actual process as I go by :+1:


Exactly! :slight_smile: I already watch a bunch of stuff with EN subtitles, so I’m going full JP subtitles. I already watched some actually, but now I just need to stop watching anime/dramas/movies late at night :eyes: #NoBrainWorksPast10pm


you alone 8 hours a day with 4 teachers…

1 for teaching the language
1 for teaching culture
1 for teaching how to perform a kame-hame-ha
1 for teaching how to catch legendary pokemon

where is this beauty located?


“The” quickest way? Idk, marry a Japanese lingustics professor? While living in Japan and spending 16 hours a day studying and 8 hours of sleep for optimal memory retention. Maybe listen to some Japanese audiobooks in sleep as well.

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Just for the record, being a linguistics professor doesn’t mean being able to teach a language or explain what’s going on in it in a way that even very intelligent people would understand.

Glad you cleared that up, cause I was being totally serious

Funny you mentioned the book club…
Reading about the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon a week ago, and then bumping into this video today :sweat_smile: