Feeling stuck and in rut with no one to talk to in Japanese

Long story short: I’m from the PNW. I’ve been dealing with Japanese language / culture on and off since I was 12. We moved to Iowa when I was 17, so my parents could retire - and I’m still here. I went to college for Classical Languages and did Latin, Attic Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. I work full-time, and don’t have the ability right now to fit any actual classes into a schedule, so I’m working through the Berkeley text / curriculum for Japanese on my own.

So it’s not a matter of not knowing how to learn a language or how to do deal with it. But, I feel stuck as I feel very isolated and awkward, which is creating a rut for me in Japanese as I’m just going over the same thing over and over. I’ve watched Koichi’s video about moving on and making mistakes and not just trying to be perfect, but I’m a consummate perfectionist - and I don’t have anyone to talk to, or anything.

I’m going to Europe this November, and Japan is the next place on my list after that, so I’m trying to pull my head out of books and games, but I don’t really do well with interacting with other people and don’t know where to start.

I guess I don’t know how to find people to talk to / write to at a level appropriate to my knowledge and that is making my rut worse.

Does anyone have any advice?

You can try to post here on the “Japanese only” forum, and if you make a mistake it will probably be corrected by @mamimumason or @TofuguKanae . Sure it’s not the same thing as talking, but it’s a start.


Adding to this, Mami and Kanae are both Japanese natives. They post quite frequently on the Japanese Language Only category, so I’m sure you won’t run out of things to do there :slight_smile:


Have you tried Hello Talk?


Have you been on italki? I use it to chat with tutors and professional teachers, and I’ve also met a few language exchange buddies. Also you can write notebook entries and people in the community will correct them.


Wow I can relate to this so much considering I’ve been feeling the same way for a while now (the wanting to communicate part). I’m only just at a level where I can barely communicate with natives (I mean just baaaarely) and unlike you have a LOT of free time, so really struggle with finding someone who is able to talk more than 1 message a day.

I would recommend Hello Talk, but only if you’re willing to sift through a lot of non repliers and people who don’t seem to be very devoted to learning. Its good for just posting and seeing what happens. I have found I think 2 people out of over 20 (rough estimate) in 6 months that seem interested in actually talking on a regular basis.


Best Greek.

I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not. But, it’s definitely something else. Though, I will say ancient languages have helped me comprehend a lot of language oddities just by example.

But on a serious note, I haven’t tried Italki, though I did just put it on my phone. And I don’t think anyone wants to be tortured by my inane use of Japanese on the forum. Especially not when the textbook is on 「週末に…」

So, I’ll have to try to find a language partner with italki.

I second iTalki. I have about 2 hours of talking practice that way and my progress is slow but it still makes a lot of difference.
It is not for free but still cheaper than regular classes and I enjoy these sessions a lot.

At times where work is overwhelming and work takes over everything else, I still have these lessons in my schedule. And even if, worst case, I don’t get much else done that week when it comes to Japanese, I at least have my lessons. I always learn something and it is always fun. The first couple of lessons were more difficult of course because I didn’t understand even the most basic explanations but now it is just enjoyable. :slight_smile:

There are of course also language exchange platforms where you can try finding a language exchange partner for free but since I can afford it, I would rather spend some money, be able to schedule lessons whenever it is most convenient for me and speak in Japanese 100% of the time with someone who is used to teaching it.


I know a nice 会話クラブ in Utrecht (Netherlands). Otherwise I don’t have much to add to the comments above!

I suggest embracing more humility by 1) forgiving yourself for mistakes 2) enjoying the process of making a mistake and learning from it. Growth with any significance usually comes with challenges so patience is important. I say this as a student myself that attempts to follow my own advice :wink:

This is best time in human history for global communication…it doesn’t matter where you live anymore. Also, there are many socially shy Japanese who are also learning English who would be willing exchange language study and feel the same way. If you are a true beginner, then an italki tutor/teacher with good English skills is probably best to start with. They can also help others feel less embarrassed as they improve. Best of luck!

Mayeb try out Hi Native too?

I tried hinative a few months ago, and it seemed more bot than people.

Whaa? Really? I use it time to time, and I always feel like a real person is replying to me. It’s probably because i use the audio function a lot, and have the others record theirs too :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe it’s because you’re “forced” to ask a question in your first exposure to the app. This leads to a lot of people asking basic questions like “How do you say hello in …”. So I’d say they’re not really bots.

Good to know about hinative!

And I took your guys advice and am having my first lesson with a community tutor on Sunday night via italki. I’m uber excited, but I’m worried I’ll started rambling about esoteric historical stuff as that’s the majority of my very small Japanese vocabulary…

My Japanese class in high school wasn’t big on vocab or grammar.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for the push! This will be the first time I’ve done more than made utterance or write / read in Japanese in years!!!


I’m so embarrassed!!! (But I found the perfect tutor!) However, the best incentive is wanting to be able to talk about things and ask questions. I have so many questions… and now someone that knows what I’m talking about (history topic).

THANK YOU ALL!!! So, so, so, so, so much!

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