Where do you go to actually SPEAK Japanese? (paid or free)

Hi there ^^

I would appreciate an advice from those of you who find ways to practice SPEAKING Japanese regularly. How do you do that? Do you use Discord channels, find penpals to chat with on Zoom/Skype, use specific apps and websites, or?

I would be incredibly grateful for more specific recommendations and/or links. I would really like to practice speaking more regularly, but I am sort of on a budget right now, and can’t invest in pricey lessons. So I am looking for either affordable lessons by teachers you are satisfied with, or free alternatives :slight_smile: I don’t really need “lessons” as such, just someone I can talk to in Japanese.

Thank you very much in advance ^^ You guys are awesome and give me lot of motivation :slight_smile:


Hellotalk for casual friend making: Free
Italki for structured lessons: Not Free


There are online communities around every hobby you could ever think of, and each one has countless Discord servers. I’d think it makes sense to just look around the Japanese communities for your hobbies to meet people. When I reach the point where I can try to hold a conversation I’m planning on joining some Japanese gaming communities and expect to do the bulk of my speaking practice there. Of course it wouldn’t really be artificial “practice” so much as just having a good time in a way that I already do in English.


I do about 5 Italki lessons per week to get speaking, I also do my Pimsleur lessons every morning (Even though I finished all the lessons ages ago…) I did try to foray into finding some language exchange, but it’s hard to find the time.

With Italki I just book a teacher for a time that suits me and I can get chatting. It’s pretty fun and a great way to practice. Recently started doing two stunts of 1 hr lessons per day for a while. (Conversation practice) and it’s been astoundingly effective. Also, my teachers are super friendly and nice! :smiley:


That actually did not cross my mind. I am constantly checking out communities for language learning, but never tried to actually join a channel meant for Japanese people. Now you made me entertain the idea of getting a Switch gaming buddy, and I think I might just try to do that. Love the idea :slight_smile:


As to my perception, Janapese folks rather tend to ignore discord. So far haven’t seen much of ones, though tend to think same to your way at the beginning. I’m doing something wrong?


Japanese people have picked up Clubhouse with APLOMB (i’ve heard!)

If anyone knows of any nurturing and helpful groups on the app, please let me know! I’m using it just for English at the moment.


While I can’t speak to the number of Japanese Discord servers, I have had success making friends individually via Twitter who had Discord accounts and were willing to use it as our main form of communication.


I’m only 1 month into learning Japanese so I’m just sharing my instincts, not experience. :sweat_smile: I’m sure there are Japanese communities online that use some sort of voice-chat platform.

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Please, @ me if you (or whoever else reading this) find one, since I failed and tend to suspect Japanese culture being more text-oriented than voice/any other way realtime one. That is,

yup, Twitter feels to be much more popular way of communication there.

Anyways, unironically would love to know more about habitable zone of these wonderful people in question in such a wild internet, if anyone have such experience of finding one.

This, plus the EN-JP Discord server
I’ve also had some success with Tandem (mobile app)


I use a weekly budget of $33 on italki (as that was the price of one hour of tutoring with my old tutor before discovering italki 3 years ago. I add it in $100 chunks every 3 weeks). That usually gets me 5 conversation lessons of a half hour each, sometimes 7 lessons in a week. I speak with a wide variety of tutors and make sure I’m booking across age, gender, and hometown/prefecture/accent/dialect.

If you’re on a much tighter budget… just $5-$7 can get you a great conversation class on italki. So even just doing that one class every week will get you places.


Literally only Japanese people.

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This is an interesting observation and also means we’re doing the right thing by learning kanji? To add to the observation: Japanese Youtube (and tv first I believe) is known for just spamming kanji all over the screen all the time. It probably has to do with all the homophones? (On the other hand: podcasts do exist.)

On topic: I’ve had my first instance of actually wanting to say something in Japanese to Japanese people (teachers, happily) and I failed miserably (I only practice reading, listening and writing) so I am just here to read the tips.

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I‘m using an app called Tandem which allows to connect with other language learners (usually people with the opposite combination of native language + language being learned). It usually starts out with text chat but there’s also the option for voice chat and video chat. Not everyone is open to that, of course, but one can set one‘s preferences for others to see, so you can pick people based on that. Through this app I found two people that I‘m now talking to each week.

(Edit: Forgot to mention that it is free.)


nah, that’s just feature of niconico動画, the way it displays the chat. It’s JP local yt, quite major. yt itself quite minor for JP, as to my perception, as video hosting.
UPD: ah, and those running kanjis are just local meme spreading out

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I have no idea what that sequence of words means. Google search failed me on this one. Can somebody help me out here?


I speak with my wife: not free


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It means with confidence and style. I’m based in the UK, so it might not be a very common term anywhere else…

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