Too early for Italki?


こんばんは みんなさん!

I’ve just started WaniKani routine (or journey?!) in December 2018, and it’s amazing. I’ve been studying Japanese for 6 months already (including 2-3 lessons in Italki), but without stable progression. Now I’ve learned a lot about studying process and want to try some stuff again, especially Italki.

Is it a good moment to start from scratch, or it’s better to stick to WaniKani until lvl 10+ and consume more Genki chapters with vocab?

PS: It is also a bit terryfying (and anxious) for me to talki with Japanese people anyway… And it’s always JPN/ENG persons, because Russian-speaking native japanese teachers are very rare from my experience. I’m not that bad in English, but my B2+ is still not fluent enough, haha. :stuck_out_tongue:


If you’re unsure whether or not you could talk in Japanese with someone you can always try HelloTalk :slight_smile:
It’s an app to let you find natives to either text or talk to. You can use that to test your level~


I’ve used it for a week or two, but my posts seems to be not interesting for general public, or it was just a bad luck.


Maybe you can try private messaging someone? Just say hello or whatever and try to strike up a conversation? ^^


I’ve started studying Japanese 3 weeks ago and did a trial session on italki last week. It was fantastic! My instructor had me attempting to speak in Japanese the entire time, which was intimidating at first but he made it a safe space to just try my best. When I didn’t know a word, he would help me out by typing the vocab down, so by the end of it all, I had a list of vocabulary I can go over. And when I didn’t know what to say, he had some simple topics to prompt me with. I’m going to do another trial session this weekend to go over genki 1 with someone.

In anycase, I highly recommend it, and I would not feel intimidated to try it out.


Oh, didn’t know I can PM everyone, lol. It’s time to force ppl to speak.


I’ve already tried it, but has left with a feeling that I’m too far away from learning something. I thought that I need to be better on the next lesson, but I can’t see that much progress over weeknd, from my perspective.
May be I need to try again, who knows :slight_smile:


I think you can begin session at italki at N3, when you are immediate, that’s most efficient for your fluency and money saving. Otherwise, you can be a self-learner until N3, which is a high peak of japanese JLPT. At N3 and upper, you need the speaking skill, which can be get at italki :joy:


I tried hellotalk for a month or so but had a bad experience. I put a lot of info on my profile in japanese and a bunch of study-related moments to show I was invested in learning, but I only had one significant length conversation with one person who in the end killed the conversation after a misunderstanding (or maybe it was my misunderstanding, I don’t know and it’s probably not worth going into) but we went from talking about normal daily stuff to her essentially blocking me and I have no idea why.

Apart from that I was in a group where a bunch of people would say a variety of basic greetings to each other and then talk basically in their native language. It felt completely pointless to me. Is italki different from hellotalk? I thought they were the same type of service.


Italki is still expensive, and you can use it to learn GENKI I and GENKI II
---->>> if you have cash, italki can use for supplemental to the text book genki !


No, the approaches of iTalki and HelloTalk are completely different.

1.) italki:
In italki you can book and manage face-to-face lessons with professional or amateur Japanese (or other languages) teachers. The website offers convenient scheduling and profiling tools, but less chatting functionality. Once you have found a teacher that you think suits your needs, you make an appointment. During the following skype (or other video chatting software) sessions, you can basically do, whatever you both find suitable for learning Japanese. When you feel uncomfortable with your teacher, or do not agree with his/her approach, you just make an appointment with a different teacher, next time. Lessons typically cost something between 10$ to 25$ per hour, which is defined by the teacher and is generally based on the teacher’s experience and competence. Most teachers offer free or cheap trial lessons and support pre-defined learning paths of the different textbooks on the market. But generally, what you make of your lessons is up to you.

2.) HelloTalk:
HelloTalk, on the other hand, is more of a social network optimized for language learning. The focus is much more chatting and sharing content. Moreover they implemented a convenient tool for correcting other people’s contributions, highlighting mistakes and marking correct formulations. There’s sort of a public pinboard (“Moments”), where everybody can publish text and photos with the purpose of getting feedback from others. And there’s also a friends list and a private chatting functionality. Full subscription gives you more possibilities in terms of your own profile and unlocks some additional features.

For some people HelloTalk might feel a little bit frustrating and difficult to get into direct contact with other people in the beginning. Especially when you just subscribed, are a male non-native english-speaker and are a little beyond the age of the average Japanese learner (as myself).
In my experience, what worked quite fine when starting HelloTalk, was to spend some time in the “Moments” section, getting used to the environment, commenting on and correcting some posts to “earn some credits” and the contact requests and interesting conversations will come eventually.

To conclude this unexpectedly large post, I recommend both tools, since they are both effective and they serve completely different purposes. And I think it is never too early to start with italki, since private lessons are always a very effective conversation practice, given you find a good teacher.
However, I myself am still stuck with WK, Bunpro, Human Japanese Intermediate and Genki II, so I postponed them for when my schedule gets a little less cramped.


Ok so italki is for scheduling appointments with actual tutors who I could pay to have focused discussions with in Japanese utilising the vocabulary and grammar I know, and building from that. That is completely different from hellotalk, which for me felt like multilingual twitter. The correction feature is nice but I found people either didn’t want to correct me, or corrected nearly every sentence by everyone in a group to add to their stats even if no correction was necessary (I saw people doing this in english). At this stage if my development I’ll take the former. I’ll check out italki, cheers.


So I’ve finally booked one trial lesson with a teacher that know my native language. If there will be no difference, I’ll stick to English-speaking tutors because it’s easier to find one that can teach in my timezone.


Just finished that trial Italki lesson! :slight_smile: It wasn’t to hard, but I was a little nervious about it.
Teacher started from basic phrases for beginners, without asking about my Japanese level. And after my greetings on English, Russian and Japanese he decided to speak on English for whatever reason. :smile:

Well, long story short, I’ve completed his list of phrases after 5 minutes and then tried to explain what I need from him to study Japanese. I said I need to compile my knowledge of grammar (Genki + Tae Kim’s guide), kanji (Wani Kani) and vocab (everything else) into phrases, sentences and conversations. Then he nodded and said that he’ll definately use that info in “future lessons”. So, eh… what I need to do next? Create some abstract topic for next lessons? No idea. :stuck_out_tongue: