Making Language Pals: Japanese

Having a language partner is the single most rewarding thing so far for me in my time of learning Japanese. It helps to:

- Improve your confidence in speaking Japanese.

- Have real life conversations not restricted to a textbook scenario.

- Get corrected instantly when you make mistakes, and learn from them.

- Meet new people and make great friends!

Studying from a textbook or watching anime can’t give you the natural, organic experience of speaking to a real life Japanese person… But the difficult thing is actually finding one. Here’s some tips on how to find a Japanese language partner, whatever your situation.

I’m at University and I need a Japanese language partner!

If you’re at University, it’s probable that there are some Japanese international students. The number of these will depend on the University, but if you’re in a big city, you’re in luck! Japanese students will often want to practice their English; don’t assume that because they’re studying Chemistry that they aren’t interested in improving English - after all, that’s most likely why they have come to study abroad. Here’s some tips to find a Japanese language partner while at University:

- Join the ‘Japanese society’ or ‘International Society’ on Facebook or University message forums - most Japanese students will have joined these, and although you may not be Japanese or an international student you are still allowed to join and communicate with members. Post on the group saying you’re interested in language exchange.
- Find student message boards and post an ad for language exchange - there may be a language-exchange-specific message board posted around campus. Here, you can post and view other ads.
- If you see Japanese students, approach them! You may overhear Japanese students talking in Japanese if you know a few phrases. Japanese people won’t be offended or annoyed if they’re approached as long as you are polite. Just mention that you love Japan/Japanese, and you’re starting to learn it. Even saying a few simple phrases gets Japanese people excited as not many people learn Japanese. Mention that you’re looking for a language partner and see if they’re interested - most of the time Japanese will be too polite to say no, so you might get an email or Facebook friend out of it, and you can build a friendship from there.
- Go to local Japanese/Asian supermarkets and ask to post an ad in the window - Whilst studying abroad, Japanese people will most likely visit an asian supermarket at some point to buy familiar supplies. By posting an ad in the window (which you may be able to do for free), someone is sure to see it and respond.

I’m not at University, but I live in a place with some Japanese people in the community.

Even if you’re not in University, if there are Japanese people in your community you still stand a good chance of finding a language partner. Here’s a few ideas how:

- Join local Japanese meet-up groups - if there are Japanese people in your community, you’re already super-lucky! If you look around on Google, public message boards or websites like Gumtree, you may stumble across Japanese meet-up groups. These are for Japanese people, and people interested in Japanese, to meet up (normally at a pub) to talk in Japanese and in English. This is a great way to find a language partner.
- If you see Japanese people, approach them! Similar to being a University student, you are likely to hear/recognise Japanese people if there is a number of them in your community. Don’t be afraid to approach them and express your interest in Japanese and finding a language partner. Japanese people who aren’t students but live here aren’t necessarily going to be fluent, and in fact may be more desperate to find a language exchange partner.
- Go to a place popular for the Japanese community and post an ad - Again, posting an ad in a Japanese restaurant, asian supermarket or similar is a great way to find native Japanese people. Also, it’s a good idea to post these ads in libraries and other public message areas, as these will be  viewed by a larger number of people (who may be Japanese, or know Japanese people looking for what you offer!)

I’m not at University, and there are NO Japanese people around me! :(

Some may find themselves in a town where there are no Japanese people, and no opportunity to approach them. Others may be the only person in the area who studies Japanese.  I’ve sometimes found myself in this position, and it’s difficult to imagine yourself finding a language partner. But don’t fear! There are still some great ways to find them and not all hope is lost. Here’s how:

- Use online websites to find language partners:  There are so many websites online that offer finding language partners. You can use language-learning sites like RhinoSpike and Lang8 to find and develop friendships, whilst helping each other learn. Or you can go on language-exchange specific websites like MyLanguageExchange, The Mixxer, and my most recommended site, Japan-guide.com Friends. On these sites you can find email-pals, pen-pals, and Skype pals who are looking for the exact thing you are.

Japan-Guide L-Pals (Japan Pen-Friend)

Japan-Guide is a great website in general for the information it provides on travelling around Japan. However, it also has a brilliant language pal website found here.

You can post an ad looking for friends to talk to about your interests. I have had great success with this website, although you do need to be cautious of a few lurking creepers - don’t give out personal information.

HelloTalk for IOS and Android

HelloTalk is an amazing free app that I have on my iPhone. It helps you to easily connect with people of all nationalities who are learning languages. The Japanese user base is large and it wont be long before you start recieving messages! You can make voice calls which is great for verbal interaction.

One of the best parts is the fact you can correct the messages that people send you and vice-versa.

Again, do not give out personal information on here and I wouldn’t reccommend meeting language pals you met online, offline! You can converse in the comfort and safety of your home thanks to this app.

残照の揺れる空に三日月と金星が輝いていた。どんなに忙しくなっても、生活の息遣いの感じられる生き方をしようねと誓い合った二人は、のんびり窓辺で温かい飲み物を手元に置いて、語り合っていた。地に足の着いた二人は、遠い夢のことも、夢想から描いた童話のような物語も、居心地よく感じてしまう。互いを尊重し合うこと、違いを認め合うこと、たまに喧嘩もすること、許しあうこと・・・・それは時が来れば落葉するモミジのように自然に、心にすとんと落とし込めていた。二人は何者にもなろうとしてなかった。互いの距離を強引に引き寄せ合うこともなかった。月は満ち欠けし、海の潮は満ち引きし、四季は巡る。いつか死は訪れ、それは避けられぬ事実であること。だからこそ、二人は肩を寄せ合い、静かに語り合うひと時を大事にしていた。

flickr

多宝塔 - 常寂光寺 / Jyoujyakkou-ji Temple by Yuya Horikawa
Via Flickr:
I want to introduce wonderful Japan to the world.

flickr

Untitled by Sandy
Via Flickr:
Nikon FM2 Fuji Superia 400 大阪 Osaka 04/2016

flickr

Tokyo 4094 on Flickr.

| www.tokyoform.com | facebook | prints | twitter | 500px |

flickr

2016 Lake Yamanaka winter Fuji by Shinichiro Saka
Via Flickr:
山中湖 平野 2016:01:02 07:31:30 2016年1月の撮影です。

松之助(高倉通小池)のビッグアップルパイ。
The big apple pie at Matsunosuke (Takakura-dori Oike, Kyoto).

#デザート #スイーツ #甘党 #スウィーツ #カフェ #ケーキ #アップルパイ#松之助 #dessert #sweets #cafe #cake #pie #applepie #kyotocafe #京都カフェ #京都 #Kyoto #日本 #japan #ขนม #케이크 #icu_japan (松之助)

Made with Instagram
flickr

RED by sunnywinds*

flickr

Shrine by Teruhide Tomori
Via Flickr:
Located : Shimogamo shrine, Kyoto. 京都 / 下鴨神社

六色の虹

薄らいだ感情と

ひしゃげた煙草を胸のポケットに詰め込んで

欠けた色合いのまま街を歩く。

夕暮れ時の空を見上げなくなったから

私はどんどん猫背になる

たまにその色を思い出しては

私はいくつ人を愛したのだろう

行きつく先はいつも悲しみで

人生はもう、こういうものなのだと

自分を哀れみそしてそんな

うそぶく自分を好きになるしかない。

地味な生活感が板につき

有害な生活リズムから抜け出そうとはしない。

それもこれも

全ては自分のせいなのだが。

かたや、地球の裏側ではとか

戦争や貧困や地球自体の問題とか

もはや語る資格すらないと

社会との関係性から逃れ自己の問題を棚上げし

ただ最小限の労働で生活を営む。

あと数日で

冬の訪れを迎え、そしてそれに屈服し

私は膝を抱えそれが通り過ぎるのをジッと耐えるしかないのだ。

項垂れた私の

項垂れた私の人生そのものが

やがて雪に埋もれ

春を待ちわびるのだが、

雪解ける事無く

ずっとこの先も

こうして居るかのようだ。

私のこの胸にあるわだかまりは

いつ解ける。

ひしゃげた煙草に震える手で火を付ける

煙を吐き出しても

何ひとつ

私の苦悩は吐き出せなかった。

白い煙

もやもやと漂いながら

突然、どこからかの小さな風に

煙は私の前からふっと消える。

頬に冷たさを感じ

心に侘しさを感じ

幸せも

きっとこんな感じだった。

日の沈む空を今日も見上げる事は無く

夕闇の街灯の色だけを

暖かな色に感じて

そして今夜も私には


オレンジ色が欠けていた。

flickr

上野東照宮 by 千木成林