Well, I have to admit that I am going to watch Totoro (となりのトトロ) again. This will probably be about the third in the last few days. Why? Because I keep hearing and understanding more of it each time I watch it.
I am watching it now in Japanese without subtitles. I have watched it a time or two (not recently) with subtitles, and sometimes I would pick out a word or two that I recognized, but, with the subtitles present, too much of my brain was focused on reading them and using them as a crutch. With no subtitles to distract me, I’m really paying attention to the Japanese and am getting more and more of it.
There is an elderly woman in the movie who I really can’t understand. Oh, well. That’ll come with time.
There are also times when someone speaks very rapidly. I’m gradually getting more and more words from those things, so that’s good.
Practice makes proficient.
It is my plan to move on to a new movie pretty soon, but, as long as I’m still understanding new things from this one, I might as well watch it again.
You might want to think twice before learning Japanese from anime. It’s a popular idea, but I have heard from numerous well informed sources that, if you speak using the expressions and phrases that anime and manga use, you’ll sound pretty odd to normal speakers of Japanese.
So, do use anime and manga for comprehension practice…
But don’t use anime and manga for learning grammar and how to make sentences, unless you have somebody knowledgeable you can run those sentences by just to make sure you don’t sound peculiar.
I’m actually picking the movies that I am because the Japanese in it seems to really be every day Japanese. Also, anything I have a question about, I run by my Cafetalk tutor or my language exchange partner.
Listening practice is good. Even when you don’t understand everything, you can try to figure out the meaning from context.