When to practice output & speaking

I always considered signing up for a conversation tutor, but feel that I still don’t have enough of a solid grammar basis/practice listening for it to be worth while.

(I will reply in clever Brave-foot’s style!)

I suggest Second Life!


  • Free

  • Same native Japanese volunteer teacher weekly (Yoshi-san) who could track your progress if you come by consistently every weekend. Another native Japanese who owns Nihongo Tea Room (where our class is at) in Second Life comes by quite often as well. She’s the perfect assistant to Yoshi-san because her English is superb and she translates a lot of our queries to Yoshi-san when things get too confusing.

  • Uses Genki 1 textbook. We’re in Chapter 12 now but going at it VERY slowly because us learners still need to revise many previous grammars. If you’re 3/4 way through the textbook, I think you will catch up just fine. Most of us are still rusty when it comes to speaking Japanese too and there was someone who just started Chapter 3 that joined occasionally.

  • Beginner-friendly and a good start for both casual and formal conversations. Before class starts (better to arrive 5-10 minutes before 10pm JST), we always have small casual chat to catch up with latest news and ask each other how we’re all doing in the past week.

  • If pronunciation and Pitch Accent are among your main concerns, this free class will be useful since the two native Japanese speakers there corrects me quite often on them. Sometimes when we do Amenbo No Uta practice in class, I usually could read it smoothly enough but it’s during Dialogue reading practice and casual conversations the Pitch Accent mistakes stood out the most. This thread have a good list for Pitch Accent references too.


  • If it’s your first time using Second Life, it might be a bit confusing in the beginning. But over time you’ll be fine especially since Second Life has an older demographic. I’m almost 40 and one of our classmates is a 60+ years old grandma. But don’t fret, we do have younger classmates in their mid 20s too.

  • If your Second Life account is less than 2 weeks old, you aren’t able to enter the class easily because there’s a 2 weeks old account rule to prevent trolls from coming over to Nihongo Tea Room. But if you are coming by this Saturday, just IM me there (Haruka Flores) and I’ll help get your name in the safelist. So I suggest just try making an account as soon as you can, then get comfortable with the controls first elsewhere in Second Life before starting class this weekend.

  • Maybe time and day won’t be convenient for you as it’s on Saturday 10 PM Japan time.