こんにちは、みなさん。When I first joined Wanikani, I’ve noticed topics about Study Groups learning Japanese through Genki textbooks upon browsing the community forum.
This might be a bit late for me to share but I’ll be learning Elementary Japanese via Genki 2 Textbook Second Edition on a virtual platform called Second Life.
Starting January 2022, every Saturday 9pm JST, Yoshi Sensei, a native Japanese volunteer will guide us through both Genki 1 & Genki 2 textbooks, with light homework / revisions to discuss the next Saturday.
If you’re interested, I highly suggest making a Second Life account pronto, to later take your time exploring other parts of Second Life and getting used to the controls. And then after 2 weeks, you’ll be able to enter Nihongo Tea Room without the confusion of how to sit down on the tatami mat, how to zoom in to the whiteboard or how to make Voice Chat working in there.
However, if a less-structured Japanese speaking exercise might interest you more, every Friday 10.30pm JST, there is a weekly Shiritori event, but in a form of Japanese and English Language Exchange. This activity has the most Japanese native speakers due to them wanting to brush up their English while casually teaching you Japanese. Whereas the Saturday class has only one or two native Japanese teaching the learners.
In Nihongo Tea Room, we’re encouraged to speak mostly in Japanese to each other and the relaxed atmosphere makes it feel like we’re at home, rather than in a classroom. I was astonished that they don’t charge at all, where locally (Malaysia) it would be hard to find such an interesting Japanese learning experience, especially with a native Japanese teacher too.
Unfortunately, at the moment the Genki textbook study group is already full thanks to the positive response in the January 2022 study group enrollment. We worry it might be hard to have a good learning experience for everyone if it’s too crowded.
The least crowded option for now is the weekly Shiritori Japanese x English Language exchange activity on every Friday 10.30pm JST. It’s happening in Nihongo Tea Room as well, and all you have to do is sign up for an account in Second Life to participate in this Shiritori activity.
So if you don’t mind going through the learning curve of using Second Life as a virtual platform, you’re more than welcome to join us. This could also be an interesting place to learn about other cultures from learners living in different countries while speaking Japanese.
Supposing that your account has past 2 weeks old in Second Life, search for ‘Nihongo Tea Room’ and you will see a Teleporter to the place we have our events every week.
If everything still seems too confusing, feel free to IM me in Second Life and I’ll do my best to help explain things in more detail. The latest thread post of January 2022 study group enrollment might offer more insight on the FAQs about its technical requirements. The Guidelines For Registered Learners in the linked thread also has more details on Voice Chat help and useful links in case the Second Life viewer doesn’t work smoothly on your computer.
My account name there is Haruka Flores and I login Second Life about once a week on average, mostly to attend classes only. Therefore, do forgive me for my slower response there
Below are snapshots from some of our sessions (photo credit to Nihongo Tea Room founder). Looking forward to welcoming you to our Japanese learning community.
What I think of Second Life (inspired by the Q&A below)
To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even post what I have written. This is because unlike Discord and other similar interactive / chat platforms that are easier to use, Second Life has a steep learning curve because it is an older virtual world, compared to the newer ones like VR Chat etc. Second Life can be quite clunky if you have a lower spec computer and it’s very confusing for many newcomers. I remember when I was new in Second Life 12 years ago, it took me a couple of months before being able to navigate around with relative ease. Thankfully, computers have gotten more efficient since then and Second Life has improved their user-friendliness a tad bit.
With the lockdown happening in many countries, I think people might be looking for ways to have an interactive learning experience, especially as most have to stay at home. I thought maybe they could give Second Life a try since it is immersive while being able to maintain anonymity using 3D avatars, unlike when using Zoom or other video chat.
Another additional reason is because Second Life has quite a poor reputation thanks to the trolls, and like in real life, for its ‘oldest profession in-world’, if you catch my drift. Constructive activities such as classes, creative outlets, panel discussions and so on, are becoming more of a shadow, or hidden gems. Despite all that, the Japanese friends that I knew there are volunteering to teach Japanese for free during their spare time. I just wish more people could come and support their effort and dedication while benefiting from them at the same time.
I also think Second Life is a bit of an old tech that I personally think should have died a long time ago, lol. I’m just going to post this once (with Edits from time to time, in case there’s major updates) because it’s currently an existing Japanese study group I’m attending regularly every weekend, but I’m more in support of similar study groups being done in contemporary virtual platforms like VR Chat in the near future.