Improving my Japanese listening

A skill I wanted to work and improve on this trimester is my Japanese listening skills. As a Japanese Language learner based in Australia, there is just not much opportunity to listen to native Japanese speakers. Whilst I can listen and understand exam questions and basic/general conversation, listening to native Japanese speakers talk about specific topics and current affairs remains a huge challenge.

I set it as my goal this trimester to really try and improve my listening ability to follow the speed of native Japanese speakers while they are speaking and to understand not just the general idea of what they are talking about but also the little bits of details they may share in their discussion.

As a fun and interesting way for me to improve my listening, I set myself the task to listen to a podcast called “Let’s learn Japanese from small talk!“. A classmate of mine recommended this podcast. This podcast channel is hosted by two Japanese girls, Mizuho and Kayoko, who are both university students (or at least they were when they started the podcast). When they began the podcast they were both living in London as exchange students.

This podcast has been designed for Japanese Language learners. A new episode is released once a month in general. The two hosts talk about a range of things such as new trends in Japan, travel experiences, sharing of interesting cultural facts as well as discussion about life events and topics relevant to them. Because this podcast is intended for Japanese learner, the hosts do not speak very complex Japanese. Having said that, the language used isn’t particularly easy either. Each podcast is recorded and comes with a vocabulary list (which I have found has been great!)

I have found this podcast a perfect platform where I can listen to some real Japanese conversations but not be totally overwhelmed by the content, grammar or language used. Compared to listening to Japanese new radio or watching some Japanese documentaries or intense movies, this is definitely much easier to comprehend and fun to do.

The podcast is suitable for a wide range of language learners because the topics these two girls discuss are quite interesting and engaging. In fact, whilst the hosts of the program say this is for language learners, I would argue that this podcast would actually appeal to a much wider general audience because of the interesting things they discuss. For those who are interested, you can find the podcast here:

Let’s come back to my assignment for a moment. So for personal interest, I am listening to these podcasts. For my assignment this trimester, I am actually writing up a descriptive translation for a number of episodes that I have chosen. I use the words “descriptive translation” lightly because what I am doing isn’t providing a word for word translation or English-version transcript of what they said. Perhaps a more accurate way to see this is I am writing a blog about the episode – so not producing a transcript for the chosen episodes, but writing a few paragraphs describing what is happening on the episode.

I have written an English blog for the following episodes:

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