Most of us live abroad and don’t have the luxury of experiencing Japanese first hand by living in Japan. Therefore it can be a real challenge to stay motivated after reading countless, dry textbooks one after the other.
By the time you have your first real encounter with a native Japanese speaker, you’ll notice that many textbooks simplified a concept and made it unnatural just for the sake of teaching you the concept. Suddenly you feel like you are back to square one and have to learn “the real Japanese” all over again.
You probably realized that already. Therefore you have resorted to consuming as much original Japanese content as possible. You’re probably following a well known technique called “AJATT” (All Japanese all the time) where you immerse yourself in natural Japanese 100%.
This can be really tough. When you start out, you can’t understand any sentences no matter how hard you try. You have to spend so much time trying to figure out what every sentence means and interrupt the flow of the movie by looking up words in the dictionary all the time.
This is no fun. It really demotivates you. All you ever wanted is to consume and understand a piece of original Japanese media at the same time.
Imagine how cool it would be to roughly understand a Japanese video without having to rely on English subtitles.
While having fun watching your favorite episodes, you would get in contact with real world Japanese grammar. You could get a feel of how the language is actually used. Even if some types of genres are more suited than others. Speaking of anime here. But any Japanese is better than no Japanese. Am I right?
What if you could stop guessing the correct pronunciation of a word, just to find it in an online dictionary. What if you didn’t have to rely on cumbersomely drawing a kanji with your mouse to find this one word to get the gist of a sentence?
In case you are a non-native English speaker like I am, you’ll already know that immersing oneself with original content had the highest impact on your English skills. Unlike Japanese, your native language probably shared the same script and reading along subtitles was never a real problem nor finding words in the dictionary. What if this wasn’t a problem for Japanese?
If you are capable of speaking more than one language, you’ll also know that they can substantially differ phonetically speaking. No textbook can teach you that. To counter that, there is this technique called “Shadowing” where you actively listen to a native speaker and try to imitate the sounds as much as possible.
Again, some genres may be suited better than others, referring to Anime again. But, if you already got the gist of what an actual native speaker sounds like, I see no problem. Therefore, picking out precious sentences for you to repeat shouldn’t be a problem either.
I am telling you — yes you. When you watch Japanese movies with Japanese subtitles, you’ll definitely get the most bang for the buck in terms of your study time. Not only that, but you’ll actually have fun applying your existing knowledge while also picking up new concepts and words.
If you create an account on Kanji Book, here is exactly what you’ll get:
But don’t take my word for it.
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You can convert most incompatible video files and DVDs by using the free video transcoder Handbrake.