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Aug 18, 2011

The Two Roads to Immersion

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to immersion, and they can be accurately summed up with a convenient analogy: getting into a pool. Some people like to leap into the pool and take the shock of temperature change all at once, while others prefer to take it slow and let each part of their body adjust to the temperature change as they submerge. The end result is the same immersion (in water or Japanese), but some people will prefer one way to the other.

The first method, which is to dive into immersion headfirst and create an environment that only allows Japanese, has its pros and cons. The best thing about changing everything at once is that you'll begin learning a lot at once and you avoid the awkward half-submerged-but-scared-to-go-deeper phase. On the other hand, you'll also experience a bit of shock at the sudden change. Of course, that shock can be enjoyable in its own way.

The second method relies on small, gradual change to reach the same immersion without the holy-crap-it's-cold-down-here shock. The great thing about immersing this way is that you won't feel overwhelmed by your changes. You increase your immersion level, get adjusted, then immerse a bit more. The downside is that you'll be learning slower at first and may get stalled as you worry about taking the next step.

Just as with getting into a pool, the end result of both approaches is the same kind of immersion, but people will still prefer to do things their own way. It doesn't matter which approach you use, as long as you get into the water.

Be looking forward to a more in depth look at how to go about immersing in Japanese via both methods.

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