Resources for casual Japanese conversations

I know there’s a huge post for Japanese resources, but I have a more specific question/situation. I’ve been in Japan for a few weeks now, and my speaking and comprehension abilities are awful. I really really need to improve fast because sometimes I can only understand “haha she doesn’t understand” when with a group of friends.

What do you think is the fastest way to improve comprehension and speaking during casual conversations?

The magical secret is to keep doing it and then you will become better at it.


Is that really all ;____; I feel like I’m missing something. It happens that I understand all words and grammar and still don’t know what they say.

Yea that’s the hard part, I can’t tell you how many times I hear words I know, only to not realize I know them, or hear the wrong homonym. Both Speaking and Listening, listening particularly, have only come to me after a slow slow painful process, and unfortunately there’s no secret.

But what I can suggest is do your best to not tune out, it’ll be a long while before you can listen to things as naturally as you can in English. And if you tune out, you may just hear something simple like 行ったことがない but instead here it as three separate parts because you haven’t “processed” the whole chunk.


Maybe try shadowing? I found that my ability to understand spoken Japanese went through the roof once I started doing this (although I’ve yet to speak to other human beings in Japanese… so yeah…). Probably any material will do, but I find shadowing the dialogues on Japanesepod101 (which despite engaging in slightly sketchy marketing tactics is actually very good) particularly useful. Many of the lessons have informal tracks that might prove especially valuable in your case. If you haven’t done it already, consider getting something like Pimsleur or Michel Thomas audio courses - while they are not the best things in the world, they will get you used to thinking on your toes a bit and just force you to spit out phrases.

But yeah, part of it is just using the language - I had a a similar experience to you living in Italy for several months. At first everything went over my head, despite the fact that I had spent a considerable amount of time studying beforehand, but I was able to get into the swing of things after a week or two. Now granted, I speak French, so Italian was much easier for me to learn than Japanese, but just being forced to speak everyday, things will slowly start clicking in place.


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