Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required


happy multiethnic women having fun while using gadgets in cafeteria


Out of practice: Why exposure is necessary for language learning

The other night I did a little bit of interpretation for the first time in a long time, maybe a month or two. To say I was rusty was an understatement. Thankfully there was another interpreter there to provide support when I needed it, but I didn’t feel to confident in my ability afterwards if I’m being honest. I use Japanese every day with my wife and a lot for work, but I think I’m just not getting the exposure that keeps your listening and speaking skills up.

This is one issue to come from staying at home most of the time, and I guess I just need to do a better job of being exposed to the language from outside my house. I don’t particularly enjoy Japanese TV, I think it’s deplorable, and watching movies without subtitles can get very tiring very easily. I realise I get most of my exposure through conversation, and not having the opportunity seems to be taking its toll. I’m still not comfortable with going out to where large groups of people are, I see many Japanese people ignoring rules around moving between prefectures and face coverings, not to mention there has been a rise in cases in the area, so I guess the only real solution is to buck up and watch TV or movies, and listen to podcasts (or maybe I could push my wife for more scintillating conversations like we’ve done in the past).

When it comes to translation (written word), some advice I got from a translator friend a few years back was to make sure you keep up your English skills as well, one great way to do that is with a daily blog. So that aspect I feel comfortable with, but when it comes to speaking, I’m going to need a bit of time to get back to where I’m comfortable for long stretches of time (like interpreting Master Hoshino’s five minute speeches). You do what you can, I guess.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



Subscribe to my weekly yamabushi newsletter


man in green and brown jacket
Accept and Release
trees during day
The Nature in Our Nature
hitchhiking astronaut
The gravity of the situation


The debate over age from which to learn English in Japan
What to practice to become a Japanese to English translator
Third place and a different feeling


Not enough love
men standing on the white snow
What’s your relevance?
blue water
First 10k week in a while


Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: