Podcast Japanese

Matt vs. Japan on How to Master Japanese Through Immersion, Learn Kanji & Nail Your Accent

Dec 21, 2020

Matt is the creator of the popular ⁠Matt vs. Japan⁠ YouTube channel and the co-founder of ⁠Refold: The Roadmap to True Fluency⁠, where he shares the methods he used to reach near native-like fluency in Japanese in just 5 years. I am a big fan of his immersion-based approach to language learning, his mission to create a more streamlined path to fluency, and his commitment to giving Japanese language learners the tips and tools they need to succeed.

Topics Discussed

  • How anime first piqued Matt’s interest in Japanese as a teenager.
  • How Khatzumoto’s AJATT (All Japanese All the Time) method inspired Matt to learn Japanese through extensive immersion and “comprehensible input.”
  • Why languages are “acquired,” not “learned.”
  • The pros and cons of high standards and the importance of having realistic expectations (e.g. appreciating that native-like fluency will likely take 10+ years of dedicated effort).
  • Why fluency is not a switch that gets flipped one day, but rather a never-ending journey of refinement.
  • The dangers of putting a culture on a pedestal and the importance of seeing a culture honestly as it is (not how you want it to be).
  • How Matt immerses himself in Japanese throughout his day via YouTube, music, books, etc.
  • When you should start practicing speaking, especially if your ultimate goal is native-like fluency.
  • The pros and cons of adapting your English “factory” to create Japanese, or creating a new factory dedicated to Japanese.
  • The power of developing a high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Matt’s views on using subtitles when watching Japanese anime, shows, movies, etc.
  • The power of creating learning habits, minimizing choices, and not relying on willpower.
  • How Matt’s views on learning kanji evolved over time, the critical difference between kanji recognition and production, and the advantages of the “quick and dirty” approach.
  • What Matt would do differently if he started learning Japanese from scratch today.
  • The importance of learning accurate “pitch accent” in Japanese.
  • The difference between “tone” and “pitch accent.”
  • Why consistency, patience, and mindset are the truly difficult part of learning a language.
  • Why learning about the mistakes of others doesn’t guarantee avoiding them yourself.

Concepts, People, Resources & Terms Mentioned