TL;DR Can you recommend any resources (apps, books, websites, articles etc) for learning spoken and/or casual Japanese?
My Japanese skills are far better in the written and formal domain than in the spoken and casual one. I am currently studying N2 grammar and vocabulary, and it is overwhelmingly formal and written. The application that I used are also mostly written and pretty formal (WaniKani, BunPro, Genki, Tobira), and since I have not lived in Japan, the amount of Japanese conversations I have had have been limited. I am finally going to Japan soon, and the most crucial skill for me to develop is spoken and casual Japanese. This is both because it is the part I am the worst at, but also because actually talking in Japan is pretty essential to use the language. When speaking, I have issues with for example fast speaking, causal words I have not heard of, abbreviations of grammar and particles and words I only memorize when reading, not listening. Hopefully much of this will improve while actually being in Japan, but I want to try to find the best resources for doing so, like casual word anki-decks, articles, videos explaining casual concepts and so on. The WaniKani and BunPro community have been amazing at this, so I am asking you again I consider my written level to be N3-N2, and spoken to be N4-N3 (although I easily fall off when someone speaks too fast).
I’m not sure how helpful it will be, and you probably already know it (or even use it) but I personally find HelloTalk great since the posts are written from… Well, from actual Japanese people. Many of them are casual posts, too. I spend hours just scrolling and attempting to read them; I have learned a lot from it.
If you’re feeling brave, you can also start talking with others. They’ve also recently started doing lives/podcasts, so you can just listen to a Japanese person talk if you’re lazy and/or not confident enough yet to try having conversations
I’ve gotten the same feedback from natives on those books. I’ve published several decks from those here for anyone interested along with other expression decks I’ve found useful (if kitsun user); if I keep finding ideas, I’ll keep publishing them out. The grammar deck I have can also be used exclusively for listening comprehension and by specific N level which I’ve found helpful. Though I wouldn’t use it for shadowing, the comprehension is more than accommodable. There is also the STT speech deck which made for shadowing/pronunciation development and using SST as a threshold for independent output. There is a slang deck as well, though it’s pretty spicy. Also a few dialect decks though that is highly specialized. I feel N4-3 is the bulk of useful output though I’ve been finding N2 more just creeping into conversations bit more for usefulness depending on the point. I still find that writing with a native feedback loop to be the most effective way to get more advanced grammar more solidified for spontaneous conversation, first being slow well thought output that can be use for conversation once developed. Sometimes I’ll just focus on a few grammar points before conversation too , having some ideas I’d like to say. I think we all know alot of useful grammar, but getting to use it immediately for the perfect occasion in conversation is the challenge mostly.
I’d recommend joining WK book clubs or anime and manga (not moe ones, they speak weird) + asking questions on the short language/grammar questions thread.
if you can’t practice talking to people at the moment, really your best bet is to listen to full speed native speech and try to pick out words and sentences. understanding to fast speech is a skill you’ll have to practice and no textbook is going to help with that.
one thing to avoid if you want to learn quickly is slowed down audio or “teaching speak”. it’s clear and easy to understand, but it slows down your listening comprehension of natural speech in the long run.