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Aug 22, 2011

Wading into Immersion

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

The key to gradual immersion to make small changes and continue to expand from them. To get started, first assess what areas of your life you can change into Japanese immersion settings. Media such as television, music, books, websites, and games are the most common (and best) targets. Depending on your situation, you may also have hobbies or work/school related areas that you could also turn into immersion settings. Once you've identified all of the areas you can use for immersion, start creating small changes in each of them.

There are several ways that you can make change, but two easy methods are to impose time limits or daily immersion goals. An example of a time limit would be to have a half-hour or hour each afternoon dedicated entirely to Japanese immersion. Daily immersion goals would mean setting a daily target to read X Japanese manga pages, listen to X Japanese songs, or watch X Japanese TV shows. You can also mix and match the two. For example, setting up an hour during which to watch TV and listen to music, but also having a daily goal to read 10 pages of Japanese manga. The initial change can be whatever you feel comfortable with, as long as you take that first step towards immersion.

Here is the truly great part of this method: after taking that first step you continue to move forward. Using the initial changes as your foundation, you continue to build up. Instead of reading 10 pages a day, you increase it to a chapter, an entire volume, etc. Or instead of an hour of Japanese media only in the afternoons, you make it two hours, three, etc. You can set your own pace for making these changes, but don't let yourself get stuck somewhere for too long.

One way to make sure that you keep moving forward in your immersion is to make a set interval between changes. For example, you could set a three day interval and increase your immersion every three days. Or, you could set an interval of a week or two weeks. Find what interval is right for you and stick to it. As long as you keep making small changes and moving forward, you'll eventually reach complete immersion. And once you're immersed, learning Japanese is all downhill.

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