As part of setting up your immersion environment, one thing that’s important is to make what you do Japanese. The concept is simple: if it’s not Japanese, make it Japanese. If it’s something that can’t be converted to Japanese, get rid of it.

What kinds of things can be converted to Japanese?

Lots of things, some more easily than others. Some free, some not-so-much. Here are some common examples of things to convert, most of which are available online:

  • Books – get the Japanese translation of them. Especially in the age of e-books, there’s no excuse not to. If you’re old school and prefer physical books, sell off/donate the old ones and get Japanese ones.
  • Web sites – most of the larger, more popular sites out there have a Japanese language mode. Use it. If not, find an equivalent that does.
  • E-mailYahoo! Mail Japan is a good place to start that Japanese email account. Start having everything forwarded to that address. Even if some emails are still in English, at least it’s surrounded by Japanese.
  • Operating System – Some older ones may require a completely new version to be purchased, but most have options in the form of language packs available. These are usually free. Download, install and make the switch.
  • Smart phones – a lot of them have language options. Switch it if you can. If not, this might be one rare occasion where you’re stuck, as buying a Japanese phone may require a Japanese service, which wouldn’t work if you’re outside Japan.
  • Radio – Even if it’s from pod casts you’ve downloaded or internet radio, this one is a biggie. You can typically listen to Japanese while you do anything.
  • Music collection – if it’s not in Japanese, take it off your computer and music devices. Obviously back up purchases on an external device – let’s not be wasteful. But the point is to keep them from being easily accessible so you don’t slip into a non-Japanese music session.
  • Instruction manuals – for just about anything, alternative languages are available online, if not included with the product. Use them.
  • Desktop and mobile applications – yep, plenty of them out there, too.
  • Games – another biggie. For some games, changing the language on your Playstation to Japanese (another thing that should be changed anyway) might kick the game itself into Japanese (Final Fantasy, for instance). Otherwise, buy Japanese games only.
  • Food – Yet another big item. You can’t feel Japanese if you’re eating a Big Mac. Bust out the すし(sushi)!
  • …you get the idea.

I’m sure there are a lot more examples I could have listed here, but this should get you started. Email me if you think of something else by using the contact page.