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Using Audible Japan to Shadow and Immerse in Japanese — 32 Comments

  1. What are your thoughts on listening to the audiobook and reading the actual book at the same time? Potentially even throwing shadowing into the mix. Too much at once?

  2. Trick x Logic (PSP) has AMAZING audiobooks for listening immersion. They are mainly focused on mystery, but you have to listen (or read) them multiple times to figure out the mystery, which was a great immersion practice for me.

  3. I’m currently about 90% through ゼロの使い魔 (The Familiar of Zero) read by Rie Kugimiya, who had a lead role in the anime adaptation and in general has had a long and illustrious career. It’s pretty great! She really does act out all the roles and her performance is so strong that it significantly changed my interpretation of one scene, for the better.

    ゼロの使い魔 is in some ways a perfect starter novel. It’s available as an e-book from Rakuten, Calibre can convert it to a web page for reading with rikaisama, and there’s a very serviceable free fan translation for those passages where I get stuck. I’ve been reading it in chunks then listening to the corresponding section of the audio book, sometimes with the text in front of me and sometimes just as I’m walking to work. I’ve found both to be useful. (Whether it’s actually a good book is, let’s just say, a different question. Personally I take issue with some elements, but I found it compelling enough to keep reading and do plan to continue with the series. Sadly, only the first volume has an audio book.)

    There are also audio versions of 魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) and 時をかける少女 (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) available from Audible, both popular choices for breaking into Japanese novels. I’ve purchased both but since haven’t spent much time with them yet I can’t say more than that the voices seem pleasant.

  4. Does anyone know how to register for Audible without a Japanese credit card? It says I have to have one tied to a Japanese address in order to register for the free trial, which is weird because Amazon.jp doesn’t require one to buy things. Or is there another similar service?
    Thanks!

    • If your phone is set to Japanese, and you are using an Amazon Jp account, it should give you access to .jp. I don’t think it is possible to use your Amazon.com account to access it (though I’m not sure, so anyone can correct me if I’m wrong).

  5. Am I assuming correctly that you cannot take the audio out of the audible app, to add it to an immersion playlist?

    • Not that I’m aware of. However, not sure why you’d need to do that. You can access the audio offline through the app anytime.

    • If you purchased the book thought iTunes you can burn it to DVD (legally, here are the instructions from the Audible site), after which you could rip the CD. If that fails, you could always buy a cheap digital voice recorder and hold it up to your device’s speakers…

      As for why someone might want to do this, I could imagine wanting to load chunks of the audio into something like Audacity to study more carefully, or to include in Anki decks.

    • A late reply, but the main reason I was asking if the audio can be extracted, is to manage the book easier for immersion. Splitting it up into chunks and listening​ to them over and over as I’m working through the book.

      I’ve just started using Audible though and there is a feature that helps here. Using the Sleep Timer I can have the book play and stop automatically at the end of the chapter. So basically, I read a chapter, then use this feature to listen multiple times, up to where I’ve read in the actual book.

  6. If you search for 朗読 inside youtube you’ll find a lot of audiobooks.
    For some of them you could even find the text version. Just search a little section of the audiobook with Google and if a free text in available out there, it will pop up.

  7. I’m curious if anyone has tried shadowing in their head only, repeating what you hear silently to yourself.. You don’t strain your voice or annoy your family, but I wonder if you will still get the same vocabulary increase. I’ve done it before and it is similarly difficult mentally. Does anyone have any long-term experience doing silent shadowing?

    • Yes, I’ve done the same thing. I think it has helped me some what, but it doesn’t really train my mouth muscles on the mechanics of speaking Japanese. I’m quite shy myself and I didn’t want to disturb my neighbors. One day I just started shadowing out loud and nobody really said anything so it feels quite normal for me now. One other thing I noticed is that when I first started shadowing, I found myself tripping over my own words in English for some reason. It didn’t last long and was barely noticeable to anyone but me, but I always wonder if it had something to do with shadowing.

    • I prefer to shadow audio books or podcasts for a number of reasons.

      1. There’s always new material
      2. It’s more fun to work with
      3. It’s easier to shadow to (the audio is clearer)
      4. There’s nothing interrupting the audio (sound, action, etc.)
      5. It gives you a nonstop constant stream of one person talking

  8. Have you looked at the competing audiobook service, Febe? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Trying to decide between Febe and Audible.

    • I haven’t tried Febe. I came across Audible first, and was extremely satisfied, so didn’t bother looking elsewhere.

      • Is there a way to filter out works with sexual content in Audible/Amazon Japan? Because I’ve seen pornographics works floating up in the light novel section…

      • I would just like to appreciate your drive and ambition, Adam. Even after becoming fluent, you still experiment with new techniques. Even after monetizing the website, you still freely provide these techniques to us non-paying visitors. Being able to maintain a stream of new content for six years is no small feat, and yet, you’ve pulled it off. Hats off to you.

    • Personally, I use and love FeBe! I didn’t need a VPN to get access to it, either (although I now have one). There seems to be a huge selection, and the only thing I haven’t been able to get is the Harry Potter audiobooks. Currently I’m listening to a lovely version of The Hobbit.

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