Shadowing is one of the best ways to make the jump from a beginner to an intermediate Japanese speaker. If you study with flashcards or Anki and rarely speak, or if you are attending classes, but speaking in a controlled environment, shadowing “trues you up” to how Japanese really speak: the pace, the intonation and the rhythm. It sets expectations for what you are going to hear in the real world, and conversely, sets a goal for your natural speaking pace. Look at reddit at the number of posts that complain that no one understands their Japanese in Japan. This will fix that problem.
It’s really the whole point we make this podcast. You can find grammar and vocabulary anywhere online. If you want to spend the least amount of time on something that will make Japanese people HONESTLY compliment you on your Japanese, shadow! Record yourself reading aloud or while listening to an episode, then spend a week or so diving into the same episode, over and over, looking for deviations in your voice and the recording. Then record yourself again. You will be shocked.
In addition to our pod, you can buy shadowing books for specific scenarios. If you are looking to work in customer service, or even just plan to be a customer in Japan, this one is helpful:
If you plan to work here, try this. I bought this, even though I wasn’t looking for a job. It has a lot of workplace Keigo and common expressions.
You might also need a USB CD-player to play these. I burn them onto my laptop and store them on my phone.