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What immersion materials do you use?

#1
Hi all,

I am curious to know, besides of the active learning of new kanji / new words / grammar, do you use other materials for immersion more related to your hobbies? For example do you watch anime? do you read manga or japanese books? do you use visual novels? do you read newspapers or blogs in Japanese? do you listen to podcasts? Japanese music?

Could you please write the names of the materials you are using with maybe a few impressions about it? How much time do you do such activities a day or a week in average? Do you think it is helping you with learning?

Thanks! Cool
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#2
I turn my anime (and soon j-drama) into flashcards cards with sub2srs, and I turn them into audio files and listen to them throughout the day on my phone. In the past month or so I clocked at least 100 hours from listening to anime, and more from listening to some podcasts, and recently a let's play I found.
Search 実況プレイ on youtube and you'll find some fun material there. I recently found a full playthrough of my favorite Visual Novel, Subarashiki Hibi, complete with commentary and the MC's thoughts read out loud, so it's like 60+ hours of great listening material.

I started using a few YouTubers who have subtitles in their videos, like this one girl Kinoshita Yuka who does a daily MUKBANG, along with Nekoten. I turn those into sub2srs and make my way through them.

I haven't been reading as much recently. I'm making my way through RTK and upping my vocab a bit, saving a bunch of sub2srs sentences and focusing on my listening.

I have a ton of sources (totally legal ones).
I want to check out this site and break into jp news at least by next month: http://www.fnn-news.com/ since it has the script with the audio.
This one has that as well http://news.tbs.co.jp/

I can't understand like any of the news, but my anime and the VN playthrough I can get 80-90%, and it's been speeding up how quickly I can process the Japanese patterns and chunks of words ever since I started.


Anki's been taking a few hours each day, since I'm doing a lot of kanji writing along with vocab, sentences, sub2srs cards, grammar, etc, but I also get in several hours of listening a day. I've been experimenting with finding certain sources and doing stuff to optimize my methods, and I've been hesitant to up my reading significantly before I get through more kanji, since I want to be more systematic. Getting to the point of using native audio is/was pretty hard, though.
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#3
My primary mode of native exposure all along has been manga (more of that in the past) and novels (what I'm mainly doing now). Manga, in particular, has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages - the ability to picture read some parts if your comprehension isn't high enough (could also be considered a disadvantage in some cases); might have furigana (ditto, could be a disadvantage if you're trying to give up the crutch); exposure to lots of slang and colloquialism; fun stories. Main disadvantage of manga, apart from the crutch of picture reading & furigana, is lack of exposure to longer, more complex sentences and the structure of prose argument. Novels are helping me a bit with the more complex sentence structure, although I still need to spend more time with newspaper editorials and such.

For listening, I like to download NHK's news and journal segments to Overcast on my phone and listen to them during my commute. I don't understand very much, but it gives me some exposure. I probably need to do more work with news + scripts, but right now work is killing me and it's hard to even keep up with anki reviews and novel reading.
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#4
I think manga is useful because you can read more of it and get exposure to a large amount of written Japanese with context. So, you might know a word like 個人的 or 本格的 but haven't seen it in context, but then in a sentence you see a certain character use it and it just clicks from there.
I don't think context is a bad thing, basically, because you absorb the context to better understand the words.

On the contrary to the idea that manga pictures give you the pictures as a crutch - manga gives you a way to verify that you understand what you're reading in Japanese.

I think the main disadvantage with manga is that until you're closer to intermediate level, you don't really know the flow of spoken Japanese, so you're now able to "voice' the sentences in your head naturally. The furigana aspect isn't that bad. There are people who have gotten fluent using furigana, especially having Japanese subtitles with j-drama and anime (See MattvsJapan) and I use furigana for initially learning vocab (see ja-dark and MorphMan) , but I keep furigana off for all my sentence cards.

The way I see it like:
Kanji+Furigana - initial exposure, "feeling the language" and getting used to it.
--> Kanji-only and Listening-only: useful when you're able to understand a lot of the material with/without furigana, or without a script. You can essentially watch an anime with kanji+furigana, and then turn it into sub2srs sentences for reading practice and batch learn a bunch of kanji readings in a fun way, and then use the show as listening content, to train your ears to hear vocab without seeing it, potentially priming and refining hundreds of words.
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#5
I watch all kinds of stuff. Whatever's enjoyable. Idol stuff (if it's funny, or, on rare occasion, like with MCZ or Ebichu, they produce good music...links to most of their stuff can be found here: http://momoiroclover.net), comedy, occasional TV show, movies, music, etc. 

When available, I use English subs (even though I understand most spoken Japanese - simply because subs make it more enjoyable, since I know I won't miss anything), when not, I still enjoy stuff without subs. The idol groups I like, for instance, don't get their stuff subbed very often (even though, in Japan, they're extremely popular).

The only thing I can't always enjoy without subs is more grown up style comedy, like the many shows Downtown are involved with. The joke gets lost on me too often without subs. Luckily, their stuff gets subbed pretty often.  (Links: https://gs.reddit.com/r/GakiNoTsukai/new/)

I also read manga from time to time, though I'm not great with Kanji, so it's only stuff that has furigana.

Key is, make sure it's stuff that's interesting and accessible. If it's not accessible, and there are subs, it's better to use subs than have to work hard to decipher what's being said. If immersion is a chore, you're better off just using readers/textbooks, because they have more targeted/concentrated content. But the reason I even got into Japanese is because I enjoy Japanese media and culture. If I didn't, I wouldn't be learning Japanese. I can't imagine having to learn a language without relying mostly on immersion (at this point, with Japanese, that's actually the only thing I do...I stopped actively studying about a year ago).
Edited: 2017-03-05, 4:34 pm
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#6
I post specific recommendations in my diary thread. My diet is: 

- Books (three/month or so)
- News (a couple of articles/day from 朝日新聞, to which I have a subscription; as time permits, longer pieces from 東洋経済, nippon.com, and others)
- Drama (4-6 hours/week; mainly J-subbed dramas from ZhuixinFan; helps w/ ear training to have the Japanese subtitled)
- Variety and podcasts (mainly ひいきびいき and HOTCAST for podcasts, and a few varieties I'm checking out thanks to this thread)

Comprehensive input is definitely critical; if something's too hard, put it down and come back to it at a later date. As you get more and more fluent, it becomes easier to create an environment where the majority of your consumed media is in Japanese as opposed to your native language. The issue at that point becomes having enough time to consume it all!

Portability is also crucial to me. I have podcasts always downloaded and available on my iPhone, and have SD cards loaded with movies and videos I can watch on the go on my Surface. I also invested in a pair of Bose QC35 wireless headphones for noise cancellation on buses and planes. You never know when you'll have a few spare moments to consume Japanese media.
Edited: 2017-03-05, 5:38 pm
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#7
I mainly watch some random japanese youtubers:
Hikakin
PDR
はじめしゃちょー
anime related stuffs:
だらごろ
みるみるミルキィ
and of course some meticulously selected litterature Rolleyes :
日本語よむよむ文章
ワンパンマン
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#8
Many great inspiring, thanks!

I agree with Stansfield123 's point : good immersion environment should be matching your tastes and be very accessible.

Let me share my immersion materials: I often watch on Japanese TV the documentaries of 池上彰さんが教える, Ikegami is the master of explaining complicated things easily (politics, history, medical etc...). You can find some episodes on youtube or on the chinese streaming sites.  Recently I am watching a newly aired drama on the Japan VOD services : 東京タラレバ娘.

I also enjoy visual novels, one of my favorite is CHAOS;HEAD NOAH  

I have another question still about immersion, do you think that passive immersion via listening podcasts, anime soundtrack or music for example is useful? I have myself done it for years (like all the day long), but honestly cannot tell if this helped to me to get better or not. What is your opinion on that?
Edited: 2017-03-05, 6:19 pm
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#9
(2017-03-05, 6:18 pm)deign Wrote: I also enjoy visual novels, one of my favorite is CHAOS;HEAD NOAH  

I have another question still about immersion, do you think that passive immersion via listening podcasts, anime soundtrack or music for example is useful? I have myself done it for years (like all the day long), but honestly cannot tell if this helped to me to get better or not. What is your opinion on that?

+1 for VNs Smile
The listening definitely helps. I think it depends on what % you can understand.
I've been listening to an audio playthrough of Subarashiki Hibi (my favorite VN that I read) and I understand about 80% of what's being said in the VN and from the 実況プレイ lady.
I also listened to about a hundred hours of audio from different anime over the 5 weeks, and I couldn't keep up with AnoHana when I first tried, but so many words, word chunks, and grammatical pieces are becoming instantaneous, so I think the passive immersion is extremely helpful.
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#10
I left Japan 1.5 months ago, after 4.4 years of living there and I'm now doing an internship translating documents into japanese, so that's one.
I need to download some podcasts to keep my listening skills sharp. Besides that, I intend on downloading some ebooks into my ereader and read stuff on lifehacker jp and that sort of website.
Also, there's a few anime series that I want to watch so that too.

Oh, and anki. I'm going to start a new deck (after 4 years when I stopped using it) to learn more weird and interesting vocabulary.
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#11
(2017-03-05, 10:16 am)tanaquil Wrote: Manga, in particular, has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages - the ability to picture read some parts if your comprehension isn't high enough (could also be considered a disadvantage in some cases); might have furigana (ditto, could be a disadvantage if you're trying to give up the crutch); exposure to lots of slang and colloquialism; fun stories. Main disadvantage of manga, apart from the crutch of picture reading & furigana, is lack of exposure to longer, more complex sentences and the structure of prose argument.

A slight disadvantage of manga is weird fonts (that are used for effect) making things hard to read. Similarly, "lots of slang and colloquialism" can be a disadvantage at early stages, in particular the corrupted spellings that try to represent speech - it seems easier to learn the word and how it's used with proper spelling, then how to hear it in real speech, then how to read the speech version.

The biggest disadvantage for me is that there's not much text in it. If you're getting unlimited quantities online then you can just read more; but buying paper books, it's going to cost a lot and take up an awful lot of storage space.
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#12
(2017-03-14, 8:16 am)HelenF Wrote:
(2017-03-05, 10:16 am)tanaquil Wrote: Manga, in particular, has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages - the ability to picture read some parts if your comprehension isn't high enough (could also be considered a disadvantage in some cases); might have furigana (ditto, could be a disadvantage if you're trying to give up the crutch); exposure to lots of slang and colloquialism; fun stories. Main disadvantage of manga, apart from the crutch of picture reading & furigana, is lack of exposure to longer, more complex sentences and the structure of prose argument.

A slight disadvantage of manga is weird fonts (that are used for effect) making things hard to read. Similarly, "lots of slang and colloquialism" can be a disadvantage at early stages, in particular the corrupted spellings that try to represent speech - it seems easier to learn the word and how it's used with proper spelling, then how to hear it in real speech, then how to read the speech version.

The biggest disadvantage for me is that there's not much text in it. If you're getting unlimited quantities online then you can just read more; but buying paper books, it's going to cost a lot and take up an awful lot of storage space.

Yep, agreed on all counts. I spent a huge amount of time in the early stages learning to read through slang (try looking up slang in a dictionary!), and it was frustrating, but it was also worth it because I was getting to understand the material I really wanted to read. I still think there are not enough learners' resources that spell out exactly how to handle slang (the occasional "how to talk dirty in Japanese" is no help at all). Maybe there never will be.

>it's going to cost a lot and take up an awful lot of storage space.

You should see my house...
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#13
(2017-03-14, 9:24 am)tanaquil Wrote: try looking up slang in a dictionary!
Dictionaries don't have slang, but most manga is fan-subbed online, and good subbers add notes to the bottom of the page, explaining any unusual expressions and cultural references. I always read manga with a browser window open to the translated version, just in case I need to consult it.
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#14
I underestimated the strategy of "reading alongside a translation" for too long. It's a highly efficient way to learn from manga or anime, or even visual novels, especially if you can find official translations or high quality fan translations. The main caveats is that you should know some basic grammar and understand the connection between the literal Japanese and a translation, but generally, having a translation for a bunch of the common grammar formats helps you to make the connections I think, and you can save the examples, learn from them, and improve your comprehension.
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#15
I used the wife method. Not sure if I would recommend this method or not.
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