I just did my first conversation lesson!

And it went ok!?!

I’ve been going to the same tutor (originally in person but now remote because of covid) for two years. As time goes on we’ve chatted more and more at the start of the class but only for about 5 minutes max and it’s often a bit of a mix of English and Japanese. I really want to improve my speaking but it’s difficult to have those kind of small-talk conversations because we know each other fairly well now and so it would be quite artificial for her to ask about my job etc.

So I found a tutor on iTalki (after looking up some of the ones who had been previously recommended on these messageboards) and did a 30 minute introductory lesson. I was really nervous beforehand but I survived! I mixed up 午後 and 午前, which caused a bit of confusion, and I realised some grammar areas I really need to work on (using more than one adjective so I can describe my cat as being both soft and fluffy) and after I came off the call I realised there were ways I could have expressed myself better BUT I am also now bouncing off the walls knowing that I can do it.

I’ve been really inspired by other people on these boards who’ve written about doing this in the past (I remember one person saying they’d booked iTalki lessons with 3 different teachers on 3 consecutive days to try to get past the ‘fear’ stage) so just thought I’d share my experience in case it helps anyone else. It won’t be as bad as you think it’s going to be.



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Congrats! I recently started using Italki as well, it’s amazing. I have two teachers, one for conversation practice and one for grammar. I just wish I’d started with it sooner.

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That’s great! Just getting over the fear of talking is a huge step towards fluency in itself I think!

I remember being so nervous before my first Italki lesson that I was physically shaking, haha! (I have some social anxiety issues at times, though as a side effect of using Italki for a long time, they’re almost totally gone now!). I just told my teacher that I was really nervous and they just worked with that and it went really well.

These days i do about 5 hours of Italki every week. I love it! To think I almost didn’t do it because just starting was such a huge step… It’s such a great feeling to be able to converse in a new language isn’t it?

A big old congratulations to you and may your memory be sharp, your pronunciation great and your fluency come quickly! :smiley:


I think this is the route I’m going to go down now, sticking with my regular tutor for plodding through Minna No Nihongo and then having fortnightly conversation practice sessions as well. Do you decide topics for your conversation practice in advance with your tutor or just chat about what you’ve been doing etc?

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So far I’ve just been taking it as it comes. My conversation teacher is excellent and he specializes in the “learning through conversation” approach to language learning, so he’s never short of topics to go into.

Our last session we talked about everything our favorite movies to quantum physics (admittedly I had to use a lot of English for the Physics part :laughing:).

I would say though, if your looking to get the most out of your conversations steer it toward areas that you’ll use the most in real life i.e. If your goal is to read manga, talk about manga; if it’s to learn Japanese for work, talk about business topics etc. I don’t have any particular goals for Japanese other than “get better”, so I’m happy just to let the conversation go where it will.

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Congrats! I just started taking conversation lessons this past month from iTalki as well. It’s a lot of fun.

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@fustian_garb - I’ve had lessons with several teachers in the past month on iTalki and had 1 - 3 conversational lessons with each, and it seems they all take a different approach. Most ask what you prefer and what your goals are in learning Japanese.

With one of my tutors, I’ve read an article or two during class then have a conversation about them. Then free talk after depending on the time available. I like this method since it helps me with fluency in reading as well as conversation (plus it often uses unfamiliar vocabulary).

With others I just free talk about random events, sports, anime, food etc. Most of these teachers / tutors have asked if I’d like to receive conversations points prior to class… but I have yet to take them up on that.

My goal is simply to get good at conversing with random people and friends, so the free talk approach and talking about current events have been more helpful.

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