You Definitely Will Learn Japanese with

To be able to communicate in Japanese for yourself, you need lots of exposure to how the language is used in realistic situations. This is exactly what you get with It’s a highly effective system for learning Japanese that works by incrementally providing you with realistic and practical language that steadily builds up your level.’s method centers on learning from realistic Japanese dialogues from which learners are taught a substantial amount of the vocabulary, grammar and sentence patterns needed for communicative competence in Japanese from absolute beginner up to the beginnings of advanced Japanese.

The lesson dialogues from (Jpod) are the primary sources of instruction. Each dialogue comes with an accompanying discussion of how the language is used and further broken down into the vocabulary and grammar building blocks that make it up. This learning methodology is expressed by Jpod on their website in the following way:

…the ultimate purpose of language learning is communication, and that topics like grammar and vocabulary are only aids to this ultimate goal. Almost all of our lessons then begin with a dialogue and use this as a focus and jumping off point to discuss cultural points, vocabulary, and topics in grammar.

In essence, you get templates of how Japanese communication is carried out in specific situations. You don’t just get the building blocks, you get full lines of dialogue that are natural, syntactically accurate and immediately useable. You need not guess how to combine a bunch of vocabulary and grammar correctly. It’s all given to you.

The end result is that you get a truly complete picture of the words you say and the order in which you say them when communicating in Japanese in a particular situation. This brilliant learning technique is artfully packed into each Jpod lesson. And furthermore, there are three additional aspects of Jpod’s lessons, listed below, which make them highly effective learning tools.

Aspects that make’s lessons highly effective:

  • Centered on realistic Japanese
  • Short, targeted, and digestible
  • Always at the right level
  • Engaging and entertaining

Jpod’s lessons are short and not overwhelming. With each lesson, you get a dose of language of a digestible size that is immediately useful. Dialogues range from a few seconds at lower levels to about 1 min at the upper intermediate level and 2-3 min at the advanced level. In each lesson you will get a reasonable amount of vocabulary, about 10 words at the beginner and intermediate levels, and you’ll focus on just one or two grammar points per lesson. Overall, you get the following from Jpod.

What you get from

  • 450+ hours of audio
  • 3500+ lessons
  • 11000+ vocabulary and phrases

Note: with all the bonus content on Jpod, there are actually more hours and more lessons available, but I subtracted out the content that was not directly focused on teaching Japanese. The other content is still beneficial though, such as the lessons that discuss learning strategies.

When learning Japanese, you can’t just jump right into native level material, you need to build your level over time to work your way up to it. This is one of my favorite parts of learning with Jpod, you can start with lessons for absolute beginners and gradually learn and increase your level to advanced. The Jpod levels, absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced, are great paths that gently guide you through learning Japanese.

Another thing I love about learning with Jpod is that I find it easy and fun. It’s easy because the lessons are so well laid out. And it’s fun because the overall content, both the dialogue and the lesson discussion with the hosts, is really entertaining. This is important. The dialogues are truly a pleasure to listen to and the memorable experience of listening to the little drama that unfolds in the dialogues really leaves an impression and helps you remember what you are learning.

And finally, what brings it all together is the high volume and wide variety of lessons. By getting examples of how the Japanese language actually plays out in a large number of situations, you not only get explicit templates as mentioned above, but due to the volume over time, you also start to get an implicit feel for how the language works overall.

Jpod will do wonders to help you come into your own as a Japanese user. By the time you reach the advanced level, you will have built an incredible foundation from which you can make the leap to listening to native materials and begin learning Japanese by extensive listening. I write about the benefits of extensive listening for advanced learners here. In fact, that article is all about learning Japanese by listening, and I recommend Jpod all throughout it because it simply is the best resource!

Building Your Fluency with is the perfect place to practice and improve your listening. And it will most certainly be a key contributor to help you build your spoken Japanese fluency as it gives you a significant number of useable templates for conversation on a variety of everyday topics. But to become fluent, it is essential that you take what you learn and practice speaking.

Extensive use of, whose lessons use realistic and practical Japanese, can significantly elevate learners’ listening fluency. To build spoken fluency, learners can take what they learn from the lessons and immediately implement it in their complementary speaking practice.

One thing Jpod is particularly good for is building your listening fluency. A big part of language learning is being able to accurately listen to the spoken language and understand the meaning of what is being said. This seems simple and obvious, but listening is a tough skill to build. One of the keys is listening at your level, and as mentioned, this is where Jpod is so helpful, its always at your level.

Listening at your level means that as you listen, it can’t be so challenging that you can’t catch anything that is being said. The speech needs to be clear, and you need to be able to catch a certain amount of words and phrases that you know so that you can glean an idea of what is being said. Jpod has you covered here.

The lesson dialogues are all performed by clear speaking voice actors and manageable amounts of new words are gradually introduced in each lesson. After each dialogue, the hosts discuss what was happening in the dialogue and provide English translations of the new words. With the high volume of lessons, your ability to accurately catch and understand Japanese as you hear it will really skyrocket.

Accurately catching words and phrases and understanding them as something you know is called decoding. With well developed decoding skills, listening and understanding Japanese will become automatic and you’ll become a fluent Japanese listener! But it really does take a lot of deliberate practice. To learn more about how to practice listening effectively, I write about it here.

Before moving on to spoken fluency, I just want to underscore the important role of listening one last time. When you’re speaking in a conversation, half your time is spent listening, and you really need to be able listen accurately so that you can respond appropriately and hold up your end of the conversation. Now onto spoken fluency.

You need to practice speaking to become a fluent speaker. Surprise. By the way, fluency just means being able to speak unencumbered and with automaticity. It does not need to mean that you have native level knowledge of the Japanese language. But how then to use Jpod to practice speaking to build up your fluency? One thing you can do is just to repeat the dialogue aloud line-by-line. In fact, Jpod even offers a handy line-by-line audio feature in their premium membership.

But the most helpful thing to do is to use the dialogues as templates for real conversations that you can have in complementary speaking lessons with your Japanese teacher. Jpod’s premium plus plan will only give you access to a teacher via email. So, to find a teacher to practice live conversation with you will need to look elsewhere. I’ll give you a link below to an article where I say exactly where to go to look. But first, let me tell you the key to leveraging the Jpod dialogues.

Essentially, in many of the dialogues one of the characters trying to accomplish a task, such as asking for directions, booking a hotel, renting an apartment, making a business proposal to a client to update their website design… To practice these types of conversations for yourself, you can role play them with your teacher. Task based learning is an effective way to learn a language and gain communicative competence.

In general, working with a teacher is the best way to practice speaking. You get the opportunity to speak about various topics and use the vocabulary and grammar you have learned. But you are bound to make mistakes and find yourself needing vocabulary and expressions that you have not learned yet. This is where your native speaking Japanese teacher comes in. They can give you the word or line you are looking for and correct any mistakes you make all in a safe, no-pressure environment. Here’s the link to the article where I talk about the perfect place to find your ideal teacher.

The Secrets to Using Effectively really does have a lot to offer. Each lesson is a golden opportunity to improve your Japanese. Once you have made the good choice to invest in Jpod, you’ll want to make sure you use it in the most effective way. By using deliberate tactics and habits, you will be sure to do so. is used most effectively by using the lesson dialogues for intensive listening practice. The dialogues are short and come with transcripts which allows learners to analyse every aspect of the language being used so that they can understand it and ultimately use it for themselves.

Intensive listening is definitely the way to get the most out of each lesson, and to further use effectively, there are several tactics that you’ll want to implement which are listed below. Some of the points are about the habits that support your learning with Jpod, and the others are about effective ways to engage with the lesson content.

Tactics and habits to use effectively:

  • Listen consistently
  • Listen intensively
  • Read along with the transcripts
  • Repeat each line aloud
  • Study the lesson notes
  • Practice what you learned
  • Review what you learned

Listening consistently means committing to making listening a habit. Good habits have a positive impact on results. One of the great things about Jpod is that you can listen to lessons anytime on your phone, for example, while commuting, doing housework, working out… Take advantage of all the time you can. But since we’re talking about effectiveness, I also highly recommend that you set aside dedicated study time every day in which you can give undivided attention and engage deeply with the lessons. This time is where you do your intensive listening.

Intensive listening is all about listening to every detail of a spoken text and analysing the language being used, as opposed to just listening for gist and trying to infer meaning in areas you didn’t understand. Jpod lessons are absolute treasure troves of vocabulary, expressions, grammar and cultural insights. Definitely squeeze everything you can out of each lesson.

Intensive listening is a process which can be done by staged listening. Staged listening essentially means engaging with the lesson dialogue multiple times in different ways. On your first listen, you may just catch the gist as you don’t understand everything. You might even try listening a couple times before moving on to line-by-line paused listening and listening while reading along with the transcript. Listening is more difficult than reading, so with the transcript, you might find you understand more than you thought!

At the lower levels, Jpod provides a slowed version of each dialogue and the English translation, which is so helpful in the beginning. And up to the upper intermediate level, as mentioned above, they also provide a detailed lesson discussion after each dialogue to drill down into what was happening, explain a key grammar point, and cover new vocabulary. And on top of that, Jpod also provides detailed lesson notes which you will want to review in your dedicated study time.

Once you have a better handle on the dialogue, it’s time to practice speaking. Listen to the dialogue again line-by-line and repeat each line aloud. The next step is to practice with your Japanese teacher! As mentioned, you can use Jpod lessons as conversation templates and work with your teacher to really master aspects of Japanese communication in a given situation. Also, if there were things you didn’t understand from a Jpod lesson, bring these to your teacher for help.

Finally, review. What I mean by this is that you will want to come back to lessons at a later date to listen again to further solidify what you learned. I would recommend reengaging with the lessons many times over the course of time. I used to have a job where I drove a lot. I used to put whole seasons of Jpod lessons into playlists and listen to them over and over.

And even after you have been using Jpod for a long time, you’ll also want to go back and relisten to lessons at lower levels. A big reason for this is that your listing (and reading) skills will develop much faster than your speaking (and writing) skills. When you are at a higher level, going back to review material at lower levels will help you improve any flaws you have in your fundamentals which come out when speaking.

The Time it Takes to Learn Japanese with will be one of your best companions on the journey to learning Japanese, which is a long gradual process that takes many hours, often over the course of years. But it is helpful to have a more concrete idea of the amount of time it will take. To that end, a realistic estimate of the time it will take to learn Japanese using is as follows.

On route to obtaining the level of general professional proficiency in Japanese, which takes over 4300 hours, learners may spend approximately 1800 hours with material from The remainder of the time will be spent practicing speaking, reading, and writing, and learning kanji.

I write in detail about the time it takes to learn Japanese and how much daily time you should be dedicating to your learning here. For learning with Jpod in particular, the 1800-hour figure was developed as follows. In terms of lesson content from Jpod that directly focuses on teaching Japanese, there is about 450 hours spanning from absolute beginner to advanced.

For each hour of lesson time, you will spend an additional 2-hours self-studying with the new content that you learn, which entails going over the lesson dialogues line-by-line, reading the lesson notes (in particular the notes on grammar), and reviewing new vocabulary (using the built-in flashcards feature if you wish). Finally, for review, I assume that you will listen to each lesson twice (even more is better!). In total that’s 450 hours for the initial listen, 900 hours of self-study, and 450 hours for the re-listen for review.

Jpod is a truly amazing system to help you learn Japanese, but the real learning takes place when you put what you learn into practice. As alluded to, you’ll spend a lot of your time learning Japanese working on applying what you’ve learned. For speaking practice, I highly recommend working with a Japanese tutor. For writing, I talk about a great place to practice here.

Because ample written input is critical to language learning, time must also be dedicated to reading. I write in detail about how to become a good Japanese reader here. And finally, as a Japanese learner, you really do need kanji. I talk about the importance of kanji here.

A Love Letter to

Permit me the opportunity to write my love letter to I can hardly begin to express my gratitude to Jpod for all that they have done to help me learn Japanese. I have had my lifetime account since 2012, and I have probably gotten the most mileage out of my Jpod membership than any other investment in my Japanese learning.

I can’t believe how well everything is staged in Jpod to build your level incrementally over time. All you need to do is show up and spend the time engaging with the content. And you never have to worry about searching for what you need to learn next.

I started learning with Jpod when I was living in Japan for the first time. I would listen to a lower intermediate lesson on the train on my way to work and that same day I would use all the vocabulary and expressions that I had learned. The dialogues are genuinely templates for conversations that you can have in real life.

The voices of the characters from the dialogues and the voices of the hosts, Peter, Naomi and Natsuko in particular are forever apart of what learning Japanese has been for me. I hear their voices all the time (in a good way) and quote the funny things they say. Jpod infuses a lot of humor into their content which I really appreciated.

A large portion of the Japanese I use in everyday situations comes right from what I learned from Jpod lessons. If I were to really analyze everything I say in Japanese, I could probably trace where I first learned it to a specific Jpod lesson. And I never could have broken into listening to and enjoying native Japanese podcasts and YouTube videos without the foundation from Jpod.

Overall, is one of the best investments you can make and will be a pillar in your Japanese learning. They offer many types of plans which give you the flexibility to choose within your budget and desired length of subscription. I have got incredible value from just their basic plan, but I must say that the extras in their premium plan was well worth the extra investment.

By the way, you can also try Jpod out for free! Just by setting up an account, you get access to lots of free content. And it’s not just sample content, it’s literally the first 3 lessons from every season of lessons. Please do yourself a favor and learn Japanese with Jpod. Here is a link to

Colten Dumonceau

My goal is to provide information that will help you learn Japanese as quickly and effectively as possible. I have spent more than ten years learning Japanese, mostly self-taught, from absolute beginner to an advanced level. I believe its possible to go much faster than I did. Please let me share with you the best learning strategies I have uncovered.

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