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Dec 15, 2010

Keep Japanese Close

One of the things I have learned during my time studying Japanese is that the most important thing is to simply use Japanese and stay near it. While many people may think that language learning is about busting out workbooks and answering questions, the truth is that anything in the target language is going to help you use the language more effectively. To that end, there are several things you could try to do to keep your life closer to Japanese.

I've already mentioned taking your hobbies and connecting them to Japanese in any way possible, but I'm going to mention it again because it's just that important. I personally spend a lot of time on the computer and on the internet, so I've changed most of my programs and websites to a default of Japanese. By changing websites such as facebook or hotmail to Japanese you can learn quite a few words simply because you already remember what buttons and such mean - even if you haven't seen the Japanese word before. In the beginning it can be a pain to try and navigate around, but give it a few days and you'll find that you can adjust to it quite fast.

Another personal example of bringing other hobbies into Japanese would be my choice of piano songs and finding recipes. Finding sheet music on Japanese music websites may seem a trivial amount of contact with Japanese, but I find that any contact at all is helpful for learning. For cooking, I like to look up Japanese recipes (in Japanese) and learn how to cook them. Recipes can teach a lot of great vocabulary - utensil names, ingredient names, and a large number of verbs.

Hopefully my examples have shown a few good ways to connect your other hobbies and activities to Japanese. Just start bringing Japanese into more areas of your life and give it some time - before you even realize it you'll be understanding the Japanese that surrounds you with ease simply by seeing it regularly.

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  1. I always change the voice options, if the game has it, to Japanese. Only the voice right now though, I'm still a beginner when it comes to reading. Although I am working on it.

  2. Since all my hobbies revolve around Japanese stuff, it's fairly easy for me to dive into pseudo immersion.

  3. Wait. I need some help here.

    I was looking at a post on AJATT but kind of confused on how someone would understand later on the language if you change it from English. You should avoid English like the plague since you have to try and act like you only know Japanese. I'm just confused on what you should do if you don't understand what is written in japanese. ;w; Guess I should work on memorzing the writing first

  4. Anon, in that case you have a few options. Look up the word in a dictionary using whatever tools necessary. If you can't read kana fully, then keep an image handy that will tell you what each kana sound is. The point is to keep reviewing by doing. You could also switch to English for a moment and see what it means, then switch back. As long as you're maximizing contact with Japanese, you're on the right track.