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