Japanesepod101 Review – Olly Richards
If you're learning Japanese, you've probably found lots of different resources. JapanesePod101 is a well-known website which offers a wealth of learning material in return for a paid subscription.
This short JapanesePod101 review will reveal the main pros and cons to the website, to help you make a decision about whether it's right for you or not.
JapanesePod101 contains extensive series of lessons, known as "seasons", which are organised by difficulty level - from complete beginner through to advanced.
Each lesson is based around a 15-minute podcast, and the foundation of each podcast is a short dialogue in which two people talk in Japanese.
The most useful part of the website is the line-by-line clickable dialogue, which you only get with a paid subscription. What you can do with this tool is click on each line of text to listen to it being spoken (at normal or slow speed) and then follow along with the text on screen at the same time.
The text is given in kanji, hiragana, katakana and romaji, and, of course, English translation. The power of this system is that you can slow down the text. When you listen to the podcast at natural speed it's very difficult to take everything in. When you listen to and read it line-by-line, however, you can focus only on those bits that you don't understand yet.
There are also features where you can look at the individual vocabulary items from the dialogue. These can be exported into flashcards, which you can then test yourself on, using their built-in spaced repetition system (SRS).
The ability to read and listen to texts, select vocabulary, export to flashcards and test yourself, makes a very well integrated system that supports learning by helping you to learn at your own pace.
The service is particularly useful for beginners, as everything is quite bite-sized.
However, as you progress beyond beginner level, you might find that you get frustrated with the short content. I think it's important for intermediate level learners and above to get as much exposure as possible to the language. But what happens in the podcast is that they use a lot of English to explain the Japanese. This drastically reduces your overall exposure to Japanese and replaces it with English.
This JapanesePod101 review has outlined the key pros and cons that you should be aware of before making a decision to purchase.
Overall I think it's a great tool and one that you can use to make a strong start in your Japanese learning.