Listening to Japanese

This past week I’ve been making a valiant effort to listen to more Japanese. My workouts usually consist of walking on my treadmill while watching shows (favorites being Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story). Well now I’ve started to watch more anime in Japanese, with English subtitles. Before this, I’d just watch in English, thinking I’d return and watch again in Japanese once I understand it better.

It’s been a coincidence that as I watch some shows, I also learn the kanji via WaniKani. For example, within days of learning the below vocabulary in kanji, I see them in my shows!

東京 – “east capital” – Toyko (in Tokyo Ghoul)

未来 – “not yet, come” – Future (in Future Diary)

So it’s all fun that I can recognize quite a few kanji now, but I need to learn faster! So I’ve started Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) in Japanese with subtitles. I was already starting to read the manga in English.


Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan


I particularly love strong female protagonists, she is strong in both combat strength and intelligence. She’s quiet, yet extremely determined, passionate and loyal.

What I can Understand

Am I understanding anything? Haha, not at all, really, just a few common phrases and words. I’m picking out adverbs like ほんとに and such though. I’m seeing how they use family names to call out to strangers, something I had just learned recently – おねえさn, おじいさん…

I’ll continue to watch at least one anime at a time in Japanese going forward. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep learning more grammar and vocab!

I love walking my dog, but of course have to multi-task somehow. So I renewed my JapanesePod101 subscription this month. I first started it a few months ago, but quickly got in over my head, and then my month expired. This time I’ve splurged on a 24 month subscription.

The picture below shows my tools I use when I listen to JapanesePod101! Of course my cellphone and headphones while out walking, but I don’t walk anywhere without my dog, so her leash is pictured here too.

JapanesePod101 on walks

JapanesePod101 on walks

They are perfect-sized chunks for my walks – about 15 minutes. I usually listen to about 2-3, depending on the walk. I have *only* been using the audio podcasts, but each time I listen, they tempt me with the resources they offer on their site – the lesson notes, the kanji, transcript, and more. Just looking at one lesson shows me so much more, such as quizzes, dialogue in audio/kanji/English/romaji/kana/all. They have a very active community, each lesson has a ton of comments.

I’ve been all over the place, trying to find just the right level for myself, right now I’m mostly listening to the Absolute Beginner/Beginner lessons. I’d love to blog more in-depth about this amazing resource as I get more familiar with the various lesson tracks.

How about you? What are you using to listen to Japanese? 


2 thoughts on “Listening to Japanese

  1. Shadowatom says:

    I mainly listen to Japanese music during my drives and have been starting to watch a few let’s plays on YouTube from Japanese LP’ers. It’s kind of funny to hear how they freak out depending on the game they’re playing (for example, if they’re getting hurt a lot, you’ll hear them go “いたたたたたたた!”).

    Slightly off topic:
    Have you tried shadowing at all yet? I’ve heard JapanesePod’s beginner lessons is actually really good practice for it since they speak slowly. Plus you walk while listening to it, which is good to do while shadowing since it supposedly forces your brain to automate the task of speaking while doing something else. Granted, you’ll probably look a little nuts while doing it, but then again maybe people will just assume you’re speaking to someone on the phone in Japanese. :p

  2. tiamo says:

    I love going on long drives and listening to music, but I haven’t had the opportunity lately. I’d love to get into Japanese music though.

    I do watch Twitch often while playing my video game, and I just checked it out, and you can specify the language! So right now I fired up Overwatch and am watching くるの (Kuronon), he has 144 viewers right now. Reading all the comments in Japanese is an opportunity too!

    I’m too much of a beginner to understand much though… I guess it’s just month 2, I suppose more time will make a big difference.

    As for shadowing, I have heard of it. I do repeat everything I hear on JapanesePod! I usually walk late at night, and my neighborhood is all sleeping by then, so I have no problem speaking out loud. 🙂 The link below says this:
    “It is most beneficial to be walking swiftly at the same time to maximize alertness and oxygenation.”

    So, haha, it looks like I’ll be maximizing the method!

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