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Aug 20, 2011

Diving into Immersion

Continuing from the article The Two Roads to Immersion, this is an in-depth look at how to immerse all at once.

With an all-out dive into immersion your goal is to change as much of your life into Japanese as you possibly can, and then cut out or limit the things that you cannot change. As usual, the first step for creating this immersion is to assess what you can and cannot change. Media is the easiest area to convert to Japanese, as you can either find new Japanese media or Japanese translations of media you already know and love. Prime examples are books, movies, music, websites, games, etc. Things that you cannot change are typically the people around you, so family, friends, and school/work would be areas that you have little control over.

Once you've got a decent idea of what things you can change, make all of those areas "Japanese Only" zones. The only music you listen to is Japanese, the only books you read are Japanese, the only movies you watch are Japanese, etc. When it comes to these areas of your life, you are now only know Japanese. All other languages cease to exist. Continue to look for other parts of your life that you can convert into a Japanese exclusive area.

As for the things that you cannot change, it's time to limit them. There's little you can do about the time you spend at work or school, but you can still attempt to limit your time out of immersion. For example, listening to Japanese music while you work, taking notes in Japanese, or reading a Japanese text about a subject you're learning. Try to add as much Japanese as possible to the areas that you can't completely convert. As for family and friends, try sharing some of your immersion environment with them. For example, watching a Japanese movie with subtitles will keep you closer to immersion.

Making your immersion environment all at once will be somewhat of a challenge. Once you've finished assessing how to make your environment, you should then start putting away all temptation. Boxing up and storing your books, movies, and music will help to keep you from falling back on your native language. After putting away your old language, start finding media in your new language. Try new things or find translations of old favorites. Everything Japanese is now open to you, so start experimenting and finding your identity in another language.

Immediately after you create your immersion environment you'll begin to reap the benefits. Being surrounded by Japanese means you'll be reviewing old material and encountering new material constantly. At this point, Japanese has become inevitable. As long as you continue to immerse, Japanese is yours for the taking.

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  1. This is the same as AJATT, and I simply can't understand it. How are you supposed to ''read'' something you don't understand? I listen to Japanese music and watch anime, but I really can't get how are you supposed to ''read''. Do you just watch the kanji and pretend to be reading?

    1. The goal of immersion is to look up words and learn as you go. In the very beginning, this will literally be every word (you don't know any yet), but as you build up your Japanese vocabulary you'll come to a point where you can infer meaning through context and the kanji used.

      I understand that it's overwhelming to try reading in another language, which is why I made the reading packs. Their purpose is to make it easier to get started. If you're interested, go grab the first reading pack and give it a shot. I think you'll learn a lot more from doing than from me telling you about it.

      Good luck!