If you’ve been poking around the web sniffing for Japanese-language studying help, odds are you’ve seen ads for japanesepod101.com (caution, annoying auto-play video on that link) learning podcasts.
I’d seen them for quite a while myself and never bothered checking them out much, but recently I decided to take a basic subscription. This is a lot cheaper than the premium subscription, at only $8/month (less in larger chunks). The main reason for this was that I can listen to music or whatever I like all day at work and for the most part it doesn’t interfere with what I do. (I can’t concentrate on two text streams at once, at all. So if I’m writing something I have to turn it off. But mostly what I do doesn’t require thinking in words.) So I thought, well, if I have all this time it hardly makes sense to let it go to waste.
I probably won’t resubscribe after the three months are up, because they have a heap of archives. I downloaded them all. Now I have over three continuous days of lessons just in the “beginner” category, which I’m going through now – I started on “lower intermediate” and did learn a fair bit, but that was mostly a tad advanced. A lot of the beginner lessons on the other hand are too low-level, but I do pick up one or two things most lessons and after all the time is free. Most days I listen for four to six hours.
I know a lot of people would make an argument that simply listening to native source material would be more productive, but, I don’t know, I still like having things explained. Especially with grammar points, I find that one simple explanation can be worth a very long time of attempting to learn it by osmosis. And of course I do still have a lot of immersion-style input.