How to Shadow when you Can’t Shadow — 13 Comments

  1. Thank you for the post! I’m usually only able to repeat some words and a couple of phrases and have problems keeping up. I’m getting a bit overwhelmed between trying to understand what’s going on and repeating without stopping the audio.

    It leaves you a bit with the feeling that you are doing it wrong, and just reading that this is pretty normal at the start, is helpful to me. So thanks a lot for that!

    Also seconding the other posters suggestion: I like to relisten a lot and I feel less stressed when trying to shadow that (and it’s still really helpful!)

    • Yes, it’s completely normal :) And don’t stop the audio (that would make it frustrating and much less portable). Just continue shadowing the words here and there you can catch.

  2. Since I live outside of Japan and can’t use Japanese Audible, I use Otobank for audiobook content. They do have a smaller selection than Audible however. They also have a subscription streaming service, so you can download lots of titles without having to commit to buying them.

    Lately I’ve been listening to a bunch of short fairy tails (Japanese and otherwise), but anything beginning with “mukashi mukashi” may not be the best title to shadow.

    Are there any other good Japanese audio resources for those of us outside Japan?

  3. I tried shadowing for the first time today while running. Running and shadowing were a great complement for me too. I thought I may be too ‘beginner’ (I did rtk and just about finished jalup beginner) so I was going to try shadowing later on. But trying it made me realize that even at this stage it likely has benefits.

    I was able to shadow much better than I suspected (of course I was still only doing small phrases here and there and understood <10% at best). I found it makes you a much more active listener. The words were breaking apart for me better than when I do it passively. Long term it will help pronunciation I am sure.

    All in all I will keep doing it anytime I run outside (a couple times a week) and see how things go. I just wanted to post in case any other beginners are putting this off, there may be benefits to start now. I was going to passively listen to a podcast anyways while running so shadowing while I listen isn't really a huge ask.

    • Hey,

      What kind of material are you shadowing? I’d be scared I run into a tree or lantern, while concentrating on too difficult material :D

      • Nothing I would recommend. It wasn’t really optimal for my level. It was just a random Japanese news podcast I found on Spotify called SBS. In the future i’d like to try something more along the lines of what Adam is suggesting but I could use some specific suggestions as well.

        • Thanks for sharing this! People are often surprised at how much it can help even at the earliest of levels.

          You have me beat. I can’t shadow while jogging (the increased breathing gets in the way of talking for me), so the best I can do is a fast shadow walk.

      • sound library ~世界にひとつだけの本~
        Search for it in your favourite podcast app. Fictional short stories related to travel, in Japan and abroad. Spoken by a lady with a very soothing voice.

  4. I’m between N4 & N3 and began to practice shadowing daily, but I get so nervous while I’m doing this and then my concentration ofc suffers – anyone else here w the same problem? what helped you? (I try to calm down and breathe haha)

  5. Hey Kerstin, I actually have two recommendations.

    1) Try doing something physical at the same time. Running, walking, biking, or driving. I prefer to do my shadowing by myself where others aren’t looking at me crazy as well. For some reason physical activity helps me focus and not worry as much about messing up.

    2) I struggled with shadowing until I started using these books:

    The best part about them for me is I could first read the sentences, then practice the shadowing. It way upped my comprehension, confidence, and understanding. I have been working on the books for about 2 months now and really feeling improvement.

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