JLPT Listening – Finding Japanese Podcasts

I’ve recently being discussing different Japanese podcasts on the JLPT Boot Camp podcast.  The podcasts vary from the rather serious news broadcasts to the completely crazy comedy podcasts and everywhere in between.   A lot of major radio stations and news outlets have podcasts as well as some comedians.

Japanese podcasts are important because they give you a great example of real Japanese.  This is Japanese spoken at a natural pace with the real vocabulary that is being used today.  Some of it is quite slangy, but other podcasts range from really formal to simply polite.  There is a pretty good choice of podcasts.

For JLPT listening practice, I felt like you should probably be around N3 or higher.  Even at the N3 level, chances are pretty good that you won’t understand the majority of the conversation.  But, that’s okay, the idea is to get used to the sounds and expose yourself to new words and accents.

So, how do you listen to Japanese language podcasts in iTunes?  I’m glad you asked!

Changing your iTunes store

First, you, of course, need iTunes.  You can do this on other software, but iTunes has one of the biggest directories of podcasts, so it is a good place to start.  So, download iTunes, and install it if you haven’t already.

Once you’ve got iTunes up and running, it’ll probably default to your country’s store (US, Singapore, India).  This store will display what is popular and new in your country, but you want to know what is popular and new in Japan.  So, you need to change your store to the Japan store.

To do this, you need to click on the ‘iTunes Store’ button in iTunes.  Make sure you are on the home page of iTunes and scroll to the bottom of that page.  You’ll see a round icon with your country’s flag in it.  Like the one below:How to change iTunes Store

Click on that button and it will take you to a menu of several different country’s stores.  There is one problem though.  There doesn’t seem to be a Japan.iTunes Japanese Podcasts

It seems Japan is special.  Japan and Korea are the only stores that have their names written in their native languages.  I’m sure all the other countries are jealous.iTunes Japan Store

After you click on the Japan store icon, you’ll be in the Japan store.  You can find the podcasts button at the top of the homepage.iTunes Japanese Podcasts

Clicking on that will take you to the podcast section.  Here you can check out all sorts of different kinds of podcasts.  I good section to check is the new releases section.iTunes New Japanese Releases

As you can see, there are a wide variety of podcasts available to choose from.  All of the podcasts are free so you can listen to as many as you want.  I recommend signing up for a few that look interesting and then listen to them and see how you like them.

Be sure also to check out the individual categories for more specific podcasts.  You can do that by clicking on the right part of the ‘podcasts’ button.  This will drop down a small menu that should look something like this:iTunes Podcast Categories

And that’s it!  Pretty simple really.  Now it’s your turn.

Action Steps

1) Download at least one podcast.

2) Listen to it and let us know what you think of it.  What kind of language is on the podcast?  Is it easy to understand?

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Nayeli September 19, 2011, 6:20 am

    I always come here and read your posts. I love them!
    Anyways, I’m a beginner -.-
    And when I started studying I actually went to iTunes right away because I believe that by listening, everything will most likely become a bit easier. (I learned English by listening)
    Okay so, I listen to three podcasts.. One is formal, casual and one is a kids show or something.
    When I listened to the kids one, I understood some of what it was said.
    That pushed me a little bit more to keep going forward and never stop. Hopefully, I feel the sane way once I get to an intermediate level 🙁

    • Mac September 19, 2011, 11:26 am

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Yeah, I like doing a lot of native listening. Lately though, I’ve been doing more listening for accuracy since my listening score was a little low when I took the N2.
      So, I’ve been listening to a lot of JapanesePod101 and reading the script to go along with it. This has really improved my accuracy with listening.
      I still listen to native podcasts though. I think it is important to have a good blend of textbooks and natural language exposure.

  • Takayama July 25, 2013, 10:07 am

    Nice for you to share these podcast with us. The books are so boring and all have the same patterns. Now i understand more and more natural japanese. An i can speak more fluently in comparison with last year . I am more confident in my skills. I have took N5 and now i am heading to N3 ant these pod-casts help me a lot with the vocabulary. Maybe you ask yourself why i am still at N5 level and i am able to listen them. That s because i hate exams and i have to be one level up to take the exam. If i want to take N3 i have to know N2 to be sure i don`t screw up. I think i am some in between now .

    • Clayton MacKnight July 27, 2013, 2:51 pm

      Sounds like you are well on your way. I’m starting to have problems focusing to podcasts while I’m walking to work or something these days. I’m doing more review work with my listening. But, it sounds like your listening is pretty spot on.

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