Flashcard Leveling vs. Immersion Quests — 8 Comments

  1. I have done both for pretty much my whole 3+ year journey so far. I enjoyed immersion but for the first 2-3 years it was really hard to notice any progress from the immersion. All of my progress seemed to come from grinding flashcards. But I think the reality is it was preparing my brain, inching closer. Really right around the 3 year mark something magical happened and suddenly (in reality the ‘suddenly’ took a few months) I could listen real time and enjoy and understand. I think this happened for two main reasons:

    1) Lots of immersion getting my brain ready while building a base with flashcards.

    2) I finally found the right immersion content at the right time. I listened to all of Nihongo Con Teppei, first the beginner podcasts from episode 1 onward and then all of the intermediate. Now I am branching out into even more podcasts. This was a true game changer for me.

    • I’ve been tackling my listening comprehension more through conversations (via HelloTalk) as well as native material, but having listened to a few of Teppei San’s podcast, I’m definitely going to add it into the mix. It’s really easy to listen to, he seems like a good guy :D

      Great suggestion as ever laddr :D


      • You can get all of his episodes on the castbox app if you want to start from the oldest episodes and catch up. I do about 45 minutes of podcasts a day right now. I tried a few podcasts apps but like this one the best, it seems to be one of the few with the full library.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one :-) Including the part that if you overdo the grind in the beginning you afterwards can spend a lot of time just enjoying the story which is where I am right now.
    I guess there might be some flash-cards grind later in the way but that might as well be the preparation for the post-game content :-D

    • Some late stage flash-card grinding can be good for very specific domain knowledge, that you normally wouldn’t encounter through quests. Like if you need to memorize every single dinosaur in Japanese for some important reason.

  3. I did both for a long time. A crazy amount of flashcards and a crazy amount of immersion. In the end it all paid off and I went from 0 to passing N1 in 6 years without stepping foot in Japan. But I was young with plenty of time on my hands! If I was to do it all again now I think I would definitely cut back on the flashcards. Some days they were killing me!

    • That’s awesome. Being able to grind and quest with that amount of energy isn’t easy, but has a great payoff!

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