JapanesePod101 Review – Absolutely Everything You Need To Know — 18 Comments

  1. Great review! Very comprehensive. What are you thoughts on the audio lessons they offer? Are they worth your time or is it better to just listen to native immersion material on your mp3 player?

    • Beginner lessons: can be used as a source of J-E sentences (also since transcripts are included). And can be good for practicing speaking/pronunciation.

      If these are going to be added to your immersion material, the English should be edited out, and Coco provides a guide how to do this (See the first link in the article.)

      However this isn’t really a replacement for native audio immersion. Note though, that in the walkthrough, immersion doesn’t even start until the first 500 sentences and 950 kanji complete. With this beginner audio, it would be okay to use this straight from the beginning because you will be able to understand it. The reason native immersion audio isn’t used from the very first step is because it will have such minimum value then, and it is better to focus on getting started with RTK and J-E.

      Intermediate lessons:

      There is a lot more japanese, and I think going through these lessons are fine the first time, but it is better to use native audio immersion from here on out.

      Advanced lessons – yes it is all in Japanese. But if you were going to listen to a lesson, I personally would rather watch an anime. However there are some people who continually crave structures lessons no matter how good they get.

      And as for whether the lessons are good, and whether this would be a replacement for a beginner textbook, it depends on the learner. People that are really big audio learners would probably benefit from this a lot.

  2. Nice and fair review. I tried out a free account a while ago and thought that there was a lot of content but I didn’t really use any of it. Whenever I see hard selling and emails like that I can’t help but want to ignore whatever they have to say! I’m sure they put a lot of work into their site but I agree with what you said that it should be geared particularly towards beginner and intermediate learners.

  3. Oh, yeah, hello, do you remember me? It’s been a while.

    Problems at work made me fail at my challenge, and my motivation is lacking. But I’ll be back. I’m organizing my time to be back to Japanese as soon as possible.

    But if there’s one thing that I recommend is

    I used my 100% off discount to buy the complete Japanese Audiobook, all levels. They are all loaded into my cell phone. Anytime I’m not working, every time I go to the supermarket alone or to do something else, I listen to it. I’ve finished level 1, and I’m at level 2 now, that’s the absolute beginner.

    They’re great. Peter Galante is motivational, you know? Knowing some foreigner could learn so much he can actually teach it, it’s motivating. And they’re so enthusiastic, they’re so great that even though I forgot half my Kanji (I stopped studying RTK and doing Anki, so I’ll go back from the beginning), I can’t forget the sound of their voices talking about something, like 電話番号 <- my computer corrected by itself. The first part I know it's right, but is the second one as well?

    Whatever, I got here because I was talking to a friend who want to start learning Japanese with his girlfriend, they don't understand English, so I saw how much limited material they got. And I remembered I can always have JALUP by my side.

    Great new layout, great text, and I'll be coming back more often now, 'till I make it daily, as it used to be.


    • Yes, of course I do. Glad to hear you are back!

      They did assemble a great team for the podcasts, and their energy is where they really shine.

  4. “warm and welcoming” – boom, you nailed it. emails, banners, etc. aside, there’s something amazing about learning with people that are enthusiastic about Japanese.

  5. What’s really great about, besides their enthusiasm, is the fact that you can skip the lesson material and immediately listen to the edited dialogue clip.

    I definitely agree the downfall is the sheer overwhelming amount of clutter in the form of reviews and PDFs and flash cards and videos and and and…. Too. much. stuff. I also get turned off by the overkill amount of marketing when I’m already a subscriber.

  6. I signed up for the free section of the website, I don’t have a credit card and therefore couldn’t apply for the premium or even basic accounts. I found at first that there was a lot of good information for free even though I hadn’t signed up for anything, it’s beena bout two weeks and they’ve stripped it down to the bare minimum, no more free lessons or materials. I guess you just can’t learn japanese for free.

  7. As someone just starting out I have found Japanesepod101 very useful. I can listen to lessons at times when I wouldn’t be doing anything else useful – walking to work, doing the washing up and whatnot. I’m still at the RTK and <500 beginner sentences.

    The format is good. They have a dialogue with native voice actors at what I assume is native speed. I usually find it incomprehensible gibberish. Then they repeat it slowly, then they give it again with line-by-line translation. The hosts then spend some time picking out the vocabulary and explaining a grammar point. You then get the dialogue one more time.

    They provide the full lesson audio track, and a track which is just the dialogue. I listen to it on loop and find that after a few repeats I can totally understand everything. I get a real sense of progress from gibberish to full comprehension.

    A lot of the grammar and vocab is similar to the Jalup beginner sentences, so you get audio reinforcement.

    There is a bit of clowning around in English. Although not particularly useful, it does create a fun vibe, which makes listening a happy experience.

    Their recently added material is of a much higher quality than the very earliest lessons, which are still up there. The older ones just had the English host (Peter) reading stuff out and it's clear he was very new to presenting a show. The new ones are very slick.

    They also provide pdfs with the transcripts in Japanese (kana, kanji, romaji in different sections) and English. There seems to be a lot of other material too, which I haven't looked at.

    I cut up the dialogues with audio software and use the pdfs to make J-J Anki audio recognition cards.

    Bottom line, for a complete beginner, it is good. Don't be put off by the aggressive marketing which comes across like a scam-site for penis enlargement pills. I intend to stick with them for a bit. We'll see if it's still as good when I get better!

    • Great overview and feedback of your experience. It would be great if you could come back in several months and update this comment to show how it goes long term for you.

    • Six months on. I have moved on to listening to native immersion material instead. At first I really didn’t get the point of immersion. Now I know enough that I can pick out snatches – more every day – so it’s more fun doing this than listening to lessons.

      I didn’t give Jpod101 a fully committed trial. For example I could have devoted more Anki time to it rather than to Jalup, and I could have read through their notes far more than I did. I just used it as something to listen to when I couldn’t read or write anything.

      I think it served its purpose and was good in that role. I could have stuck with it, but I am enjoying doing other things more.

      The significance of this for others is to be cautious about signing up for one of their long-term offers that they will spam you with. Best to go with a month or two and see how you go.

  8. Thank you for this review! It gives a great in-depth look into the site and how useful(or not) it can be. I’m definitely going to give it a shot.

    Paul really hit the mark when he said it’s adds are like penis enlargement pill adds. I hope they end up changing the initial introduction video… I just made me feel like I was entering a porn site.

    Is the downloadable package that pops up before you can enter the site worth it?

    • Yes. They need a new marketing team. Fast.

      You mean the download package and the free audio book? To me it was just standard PDF lessons with audio files attached, a lot of which seems repeated on the site.

      The site is already so massive this can just add one more to the “what should I do with it pile.”

      I didn’t really look at it enough in depth to know if it was worth the $1.

  9. If you want subscribe to JP101 don’t do it for their flashcard system because right now it is 3 month broken and stuff not event talk to customers.

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