Staying on the Immersion Train


See that book on your desk that you keep putting off because you “can’t read it yet”? Pick it up and read it. Do it, now! Stop reading the rest of this post and just read it!

Well, if you are still reading this then allow me to give you this beautiful proverb so that you can add it to your sentence deck.



“Read a book a hundred times over, and the meaning will become clear of itself.” This proverb means that no matter how hard something is to read, if you keep reading it over and over then the meaning will naturally become clear.

Listening, and language learning as a whole, work the same way.

The majority of any language is the same. The same words, the same grammar rules, the same phrases. It doesn’t whether you talk about sumo wrestling or trains, the language that you use will be almost exactly the same. The rest will be specific to that topic. (Words such as 力士 “Sumo wrestler”, 土俵 “Sumo arena”, 時刻表 “Public transport timetable” are the exceptions). So we can take this proverb and replace “book” with “foreign language”, as language is just a massive collection of sounds and drawings.

The more contact you make, the more you will understand.  Keep watching 水曜日のダウンタウン, keep reading the One Piece manga, keep doing your sentence flashcards. At some point you will understand all of it.

The main thing I learnt from learning Japanese is that it is a time game. You just have to spend enough time with the language and you will become fluent. Audio works the exact same way. If you have a TV show you love, then re-watch it as many times as it takes until you understand it, or until you get bored (if you get bored then move on to another show).

With books, skim as much as you can the first time. Attempt to get in some sentences here and there, then come back to it and read it again. You will find that on the 2nd, 3rd, 10th run through, that you will understand MUCH more than the first time.

So stay in contact.

Pick up that book.

Listen to that podcast.

And keep swimming in the sea of language 🙂


P.S. I’m once again head first in coursework and other time-consuming life happenings, so I apologise for the lack of posts :p

Thank you for reading 🙂

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By Matthew Hawkins



Here are some of my favorite tools and sites for learning Japanese

Thank you for reading this blog post, which I hope you found useful for learning Japanese. Here are some of the most useful websites that I’ve found for finding Japanese content to use for immersion as well as some really useful learning tools to help you through your Japanese studies. Some of these are affiliate links which just means that if you decide to use these sites by clicking the following links, then I will earn a commission. But honestly speaking, these are the sites that I use and recommend language learners, even my friends, to use anyway.

Anki Tools: To get started, I really like Migaku for Anki. By itself, Anki is already a super useful tool for language learners but Migaku allows for integration with websites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing it’s users to create flashcards from the shows and videos that they are watching, as they are watching them. If you use my link you can get an extra month for free.

Speaking Practice: For this I absolutely love iTalki. There are thousands of Japanese teachers on the platform that are available at all times of the day to have conversations with you, in Japanese. Some teachers take a more traditional approach while others are just there to chat, these are the ones I would recommend if you are looking to improve your conversational Japanese. Lessons start from just $5 and there’s no long term commitment, I highly recommend them.

Immersion: I’ve used a lot of different earphones / headphones over the years but by far the one that has come out on top is the NENRENT S570. This is a singular in-ear earphone that matches your skin tone to keep it discrete, meaning you can listen to the language you are learning while at work, or school. For a full list of tools and gadgets I recommend for maximizing your immersion time, check out this blog post.