What was your process for improving passive listening?

Hello all, I’m new! Just made it to level 4 and I think I’ve started to form a habit, so I’m likely here for the long haul. I had the opportunity to work in Tokyo for a month in January (fortunately, everyone in that office spoke English quite well), and while I was prepped to read kana and navigate basic questions while I was in Japan, I found myself wanting to be more prepared when I went back.

After five weeks there, I found that my passive listening of Japanese had modestly improved, but now that I’m home, I’m having a difficult time finding listening resources that aren’t, well, really advanced. Do I just keep watching shows or listening to podcasts while studying until it just starts to click? What worked best for you to get better at just automatically hearing and processing Japanese?


As soon as I started learning Japanese I started listening to native podcasts (i.e. not something like JapanesePod101) regularly, and this has worked very well for me. I passed N3 and N2 with the highest score in listening comprehension without ever studying listening. I usually advocate listening to podcasts even if you don’t understand what they are saying for this reason. I’ll put on a Japanese pod while doing the dishes, or taking a walk, or for my commute, or showering, and so on. I do listen, but I don’t really focus on it, if that makes sense.


If you’re into games, I find that Japanese Let’s Plays (実況プレイ) are a nice and relaxing way to listen without actively studying. Doesn’t matter how much you understand either, as long as the game’s entertaining.


I don’t know how much of an anime fan you are, but I often listen to anime radio shows, and I think they’re a great tool to improve your listenning skills. You have loads of translated radio shows on youtube too (by fansubs), so you can check and compare what you hear with what you understand. For me, I listen to them while doing things, or even just focus on them, depends on the mood. They’re usually very funny and entertaining, especially if you’re a fan of certain voice actors (since the radio shows are done by the respective anime’s voice actors)


I have a Spotify-Playlist made out of dialogues around my level, taken from Textbooks (Dekiru Nihongo, Genki, …), Listening task books (Everyday listening, …) and some dialogues pulled from the JPod audiobooks. I update it regularly, adding more advanced and removing lower level dialogues as I progress through my materials.
Much like Kumirei I’m also listening to those whenever I have downtime. These probably aren’t as interesting and since my playlist never gets much longer than 60 minutes of dialogue I also listen to the same ones repeatedly, but I like that I’m able to understand what’s going on.
Knowing that you’ll listen to every dialogue a couple of times does take away some of the pressure though.


Listening is sort of like reading for me, the more exposure I get the more I can understand. It doesn’t really matter what I’m listening to as long as it’s Japanese and not a dialect I can’t understand.

What are this? You mean like そこあに?

Can you recommend some podcasts?

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For now I really only have そこあに in my queue, and Bilingual News, of course. ひいきびいき was very good if you’re willing to go through their catalogue, but it ended somewhat recently.


I know One Punch Man has about 4 short audio drama segments with fan-subs on youtube, from a CD released in Japan. It’s one of the things I sometimes listen to while doing the dishes.


I watch let’s plays and anime, but the trick for me is finding something I like enough to actually watch but care little enough about to be okay with missing things.
If I watch things I like too much, I spend too much time reading and rewinding instead of just actually listening. Last night, for example, I was watching something called クロムクロ on netflix, because it kept me interested while also being pointless enough that I didn’t feel like I had to “understand everything.”
For similar purpose I’ll also put on old childhood favorites like Dragonball or Ranma, too; things that I like but that are objectively pretty substanceless.


I’ve yet to find something like this, which makes it kind of tough. :slightly_frowning_face:


It’s pretty rare for me, because I tend to be obsessive with things I like…
I tried a few live-action crime dramas, because I think English crime-dramas and CSI stuff is the quintessential “I watch it because it’s entertaining enough but pointless”, but I didn’t like the ones i tried ho ho ho

What about a Japanese Murder She Wrote
am i showing my age


I even tried watching an anime I’d already seen 3 times again without subtitles, but about halfway through I got too annoyed and turned the subtitles on. As I’m sure you gathered from my reading habits, I don’t like not knowing what’s going on. :sweat_smile:


I like to watch Japanese drama. There’s a good collection on https://www.viki.com/explore?country=japan


Could anyone recommend podcasts from Spotify?

Thanks, in advance! :blush:

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There are countless examples. Nearly every anime has a radio show, and Seiyuus themselves have their own radio shows. I’ll give you some examples :

You literally have a tons of other events and radio shows too


My show in this genre ended.

Luckily there are still back episodes.

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Woot! I’m not a mecha fan but there was enough other stuff that this show kept my interest. If you like it enough there is a sequel novel out that’s only available in Japanese. Reading it is one of my long term goals.

As for listening, yeah no I’ve got nothing. I listen to J-pop and every time I hear something like こころ or はな I get way to excited and I try to understand the rest of the song. But since songs can be really odd and not grammatically correct I would probably not recommend focusing much on music.


I’ve been watching a lot more anime recently and I started to listen to a lot more Japanese rock/pop as well. I can’t find myself hearing the separate syllables more and more easily. In songs, it’s kind of hard to realize where the word breaks if you don’t know them since they are trying to make them flow. It’s not really the best way for active practice, but I’ve just been trying to expose myself more often to hearing Japanese. I’m probably going to start listening to some podcasts soon like others have recommended.

When I took Japanese in my university, I had a ton of trouble with listening comprehension, and even went I went to Japan I wasn’t good either. It got a little better while I was there though (as it should in 4 months lol).