How to get better at speaking?

So, I’m in Japan for almost 3 weeks now and literally, my speaking sucks. I feel that I’m not afraid anymore to speak at all, but I don’t seem to improve “just” by speaking. Many times I want to say something but I don’t know how. I begin my sentence, stuttering and sometimes the other person knows what I want to say without I have to properly end my sentence. Sometimes I have to switch to English (which is not the best choice when the person is not good at English), sometimes, I just give up without getting the answer I wanted or transmitting want I wanted to say.
It’s really frustrating… Do you have any tips?
Btw, I’m not native English, so sorry for the complicated and maybe not so clear explanation.^^

PS: Another frustrating thing is, when someone tries to explain something in English but his/her English is worse than my Japanese and I think, it would have been better to just say it in Japanese.^^

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If you’re talking to people and making mistakes, you’re already doing the right thing. You won’t notice the progress at first, but it will come. Of course you probably don’t feel like you want to speak more slowly, but it’s OK to do that if it means that you can get your point across better. If you really think through what you’re saying, you’ll be able to say it more quickly the next time. Use a dictionary on your phone to look up words, even if you’re in the middle of a sentence.


Talk to yourself in Japanese when you’re not talking with people. It might feel stupid, but you’ll notice that you don’t know how to say simple stuff and you can take that time to drill and look stuff up.

Speaking is something that you just have to do for hours and hours and hours badly to start to get better at. If you don’t put in the time you won’t improve.

I’ve been in Japan for almost a year, and I have a Japanese girlfriend who really doesn’t speak English at all, so I get hours of practice every week. I still feel terrible at speaking, but it’s probably much better than it was.


It’s also helpful to just try thinking in Japanese.
And when you notice there is something you don’t know how to phrase, there is no awkwardness and you can just look it up or ask someone.
I’m in a habit of trying to think in Japanese a lot, without needing to tell myself to do it. I don’t know if that comes normally or if I’m just awesome. Perhaps both.

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