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Step-9: Japanese Learning Environment: Complete Immersion

Posted by J. Pierre on August 22, 2011

Creating your unique learning environment means that you’re surrounded by Japanese media all day! Because  the world you live in does almost all the work for you, you don’t have to spend as much time sitting down and focusing on textbooks! This is where the real fun begins!

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What’s the purpose of an immersion environment? There are many, but to simplify we can say that an immersion environment:

– Requires no effort,

– Gets your brain used to seeing and hearing Japanese,

– Will help your reading and listening skills,

– Will work as a bonus learning environment,

– Will help keep you motivated!

Japanese Text: Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji

If you’re reading this article it’s assumed that by now, you know the kana — or at least the hiragana, and are familiar with a fair amount of katakana. If you haven’t done so already, ensure that your computer can display Japanese fonts. If you’re running Windows, you can follow this link for more information.

Another big thing you can do that will really help you experience the language on a daily basis, is switch your Facebook to Japanese. To some this might seem obvious — but it’s worth pointing out!

How will you navigate the site? Don’t worry, trust me when I say: “You’ve visited Facebook often enough, to know how to navigate it in almost any language!” ツ

My final suggestion for remembering the kana(かな) and creating an ideal immersion environment, is to read Japanese comic books called ‘manga‘, magazines or regular short books that contain furigana. Because Japanese youth can’t always read all of the kanji, furigana is kana that’s displayed next to kanji. An example of this can be: 日本語(にほんご).

I’ll go over all the details about how to use manga to improve your Japanese in a later article, after we’ve covered how you can go about remembering the kanji!

For now you can order these kinds of books via our specialty store for Manga in Japanese.

Japanese street sign
Japanese TV Shows, Movies, Anime, Video Games & Music

Here are a few rules I live by, when building my immersion environment:

When you watch a movie, watch it in Japanese.
When you watch TV, watch Japanese TV shows and anime.
When you play video games — play them in Japanese.
When you listen to music, listen to Japanese music.

These simple rules might prove challenging to follow because Japanese media is simply difficult to come by in North America — but with the right resources accessing Japanese is easy, as ever!

For TV shows and movies there’s MySoju.com where you can watch dramas and movies for free, but the links aren’t always reliable. If you do chose to give it a try, I recommend myy personal favourite: Great Teacher Onizuka! Another good TV series is Hana Yori Dango(花より男子).

If you’re looking for something a little more familiar, you can once again search our Book Store for your favourite titles in our Anime & Movie store. Everything listed there is in Japanese. Movie genres range from action to drama, and from anime to horror. As far as anime is concerned, we have Rurouni Kenshin, Death Note, Neon Genesis Evangelion and more!

Based in Hong Kong, you can order video games and game platforms at PlayAsia.com. If the item you want to buy is marked 「日本」, then it will play in Japanese(日本語). If it’s marked 「アメリカ」, it’s American and will likely play in English.

japanese video games
When it comes to music, discovering pop culture can be tough unless you have Japanese friends — so I’m keeping Japanese music for a later time when I’ll devote an entire article to the subject. For now you can check out Japanese podcasts such as TBS Radio(news), or JUNK Podcasts (comedy). How do you do that!??? Just follow these easy instructions:

If you haven’t downloaded iTunes yet, head over to their official site. If you’re feeling as daring as I did, you can download iTunes in Japanese by clicking here. Once you’ve opened your iTunes program, to get Japanese podcasts go to the very bottom of the iTunes Store front page. At the bottom you’ll find a little flag that shows your current location (by country). For a full-sized preview, click on the photo bellow:


Click on the Canadian flag and a list of options to choose from will appear. Scroll down to the Japanese flag and click on it. When all that’s done, you’ll have the chance to download all kinds of podcasts from Japan!

For now I leave you the challenge to explore your new options, since it’ll require that you make use of the kana and give you exposure to the language. In a later article about Japanese radio, I’ll explain everything in further detail.




Comment if you enjoyed this article! :)

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  1. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

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