“Japan is the most intoxicating place for me. The Japanese culture fascinates me: the food, the dress, the manners and the traditions. It’s the travel experience that has moved me the most.” -Roman Coppola

As someone who visited Japan two years ago for a week, I can attest to the fact that it is a place like no other. The people are kind, helpful, and generous. The food is mind-blowing with so many unique flavours. And, the culture is so intricately woven between modern and traditional that it creates an example for other nations to follow.

Looking back, I deeply regret the fact that I only stayed for one week, and I wish I had ventured more outside of Tokyo to touristic destinations such as Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, and Okinawa. Oh well, there's always a next time!

Also, another observation I made about Japan is the lack of English spoken by citizens. When I needed to ask for directions or pay for food, it was infrequent to deal with someone who spoke any English at all. And, because I didn't learn any essential Japanese before my trip, I felt useless, and I so wanted to talk with the beautiful people from the land of the rising sun.

Therefore, I salute individuals who are taking valuable time from their schedule to learn how to speak Japanese, whether it is for business or pleasure. Nevertheless, it is essential to state that since Japanese is such a complex language, it may take months, even years, to develop a level of fluency in conversations with native. Are there any tips and tricks to acquire fluency faster? Yes, of course!

Well, thankfully, you've come to the right place since in today's article, we shall consider the best advice on how Japanese learners can become fluent in no time. 始めましょう!

Learn From the Internet

Those who refuse to adapt to the times and recognise the fact that we are living in the digital age will sadly fall behind and lose touch with the modern methods utilised to acquire new concepts such as a foreign language. Therefore, no matter your age, don't be too stubborn to reject the excellent online resources available to gain more knowledge about the Japanese language.

learning about culture
Getting to know more about the Japanese language, culture, and traditions inspires foreigners to acquire fluency in Japanese. (Source: Unsplash)

While textbooks are still relevant, they do not capture the attention of learners from Generations Y and Z in the same way that websites, games, and telephone apps do. 

So, without any further delay, we shall consider three distinct ways that Japanese learners can improve their fluency; these methods are sure to please all students, even the most pessimistic.

Assimil

Known by more of a European audience than an American one, Assimil is a leader in the education industry for helping interested ones learn more about a new language. Started in 1929 in Paris, France, Assimil creates programmes, courses, and well-written books to make acquiring a foreign tongue entertaining and pleasant.

Individuals across Europe frequently learn foreign tongues such as Arabic, Hebrew, German, Italian, French, Chinese, and Japanese. 

The Assimil method is relatively straightforward and features the following details:

  • The way a language is learnt is similar to that of a child,
  • Assimil classes are tailor-made for teenagers and adults,
  • The Assimil technique is divided into two categories of learning which include the impregnation phase and the activation phase,
  • Classes are from 30-40 minutes long and should be taken every single day of the week.

Since French is the primary source language, some tongues cannot be learnt if English is chosen as the source language on Assimil. However, you're in luck because the Japanese can be examined by English speakers using the Assimil methods.

According to the most recently updated version of the website, there are various resources available for Assimil users who want to improve their Japanese speaking skills. Such as? The following are some of the tools available:

  • Writing Japanese With Ease, 
  • Japanese Kana, 
  • Japanese Phrasebook + MP3 Download,
  • Japanese Phrasebook Only, 
  • Japanese MP3 Download Only. 

All of the previously mentioned resources are wonderfully designed, reasonably priced, and available for learners of all levels. We recommend trying one or two before purchasing them all to see if the Assimil method will effectively help you to improve your Japanese fluency.

Also, a solid vocabulary improves fluency and makes natives take you more seriously.

Podcasts

Do you ever look at someone wearing earphones sitting across from you on the tube and wonder what song they are listening to? Well, if you have, you're not alone; I wonder all the time! Nonetheless, it's important to state that most people spend a lot of their time listening to podcasts and not just music anymore.

Podcasts have taken off since they were first invented in 2004 to become worth a billion-dollar industry. 

Podcasts address practically all topics and cover information ranging from politics to law and sports to entertainment. There truly isn't any lack of content when trying to find a new podcast to listen to. I recently heard of one highlighting the unusual details of the history of gnomes; how strange!

So, because there are so many topics of podcasts, it is logical to assume that there are a few that touch on learning languages such as Japanese. The following are the most highly recommended Japanese podcasts to improve fluency:

  • News in Slow Japanese: do you want to improve your overall understanding of the Japanese language while at the same time hone fluency? Look no further than the News in Slow Japanese podcast that features a different fun news topic every week that is carefully read out in a clear and precise Japanese. With the way that the news is read out, every single syllable can be heard, which dramatically helps beginners and intermediate students. By listening to Japanese being spoken, learners passively acquire better fluency skills.
  • The Japanese Page: made to help learners break free from memorising the information in textbooks and focus on conversations with natives, The Japanese Page podcast is a mini yet a mighty force to be reckoned with. With podcasts hosted in English with small talks in Japanese listened to and then explained in English, fluency is quickly acquired without bending your mind backwards. Another positive aspect is the fact that each lesson features a short review at the start to recall what was previously received.

While there are so many Japanese language learning podcasts available, the previously mentioned come highly recommended from reputable sources.

So, take advantage of "wasted time" on your commute home from work and listen to podcasts that will help you learn valuable things such as a second or third language like Japanese!

Complete Immersion in the Japanese Culture

Japanese fluency
Travelling through Japan is an immersive experience that helps foreigners grasp the language of the land of the rising sun. (Source: Unsplash)

Of all suggestions provided by experts and more experienced students of a foreign language, there is one that always comes up, who is? Complete immersion in the culture of the language you are trying to acquire. Does that help?

As someone who completely immersed me in Latin American culture to effectively learn Spanish, I can attest to the fact that it works like a charm and blows all other suggestions out of the water when aiming for language fluency. 

Therefore, if you are a serious student of the Japanese language and have the circumstances to move abroad, it is much suggested to do so and go from zero to hero in Japanese speaking skills. Moving to Japan provides foreign language learners so many more opportunities to practice that were previously unavailable in their homeland where immigrants sparingly speak Japanese.

Not only do fluency skills improve but also knowledge about the traditions, people, food, and culture get better. 

Also, it is worth stating that specific nuances of the Japanese tongue, such as expressions, accents, and slang, are learnt when living abroad. And, since many Japanese people do not speak a lot of English, learners are forced to practice what they are learning on the spot which dramatically improves fluency and creates hilarious anecdotes about being lost in translation!

Hire a Professional Tutor

Do you want to read the characters and symbols on these signs? Learn Japanese today! (Source: Unsplash)

While using online resources and considering the possibility of moving abroad to become wholly immersed in the Japanese culture and language are valid options to hone fluency, the idea of hiring a private tutor is among the best and should not be quickly dismissed.

Since Japanese is such a difficult language, it is remarkably suggested to have the guidance and assistance of a professional tutor along the way. 

Tutors are fantastic mentors and positive reasons for hiring them to include the following:

  • Affordable classes for all types of learning styles and levels,
  • Experience and qualifications that make tutors trustworthy individuals with a lot to offer students,
  • Personalised courses that suit the needs and time schedules of the student.

But where does one look to find such professional tutors? The answer is simple, Superprof! With millions of tutors offering their expertise in plenty of topics, Superprof has become a giant in the education industry.

According to our site, there are currently 135 tutors teaching Japanese across the United Kingdom. 

A Japanese tutor will share valuable tips and tricks about how to get better at speaking skills and will correct you when they hear mistakes with your pronunciation or grammar. Also, we highly recommend recording classes with your tutor to listen to your tutor's pronunciation and mimic it at a later time; you need to ask for your tutor's consent beforehand.

In conclusion, we are confident that although it may be a struggle, acquiring fluency in Japanese is an attainable feat. Keep up the constant effort, don't stop working hard, and follow the advice in today's article and you'll be golden!

Do you want to learn how to write in Japanese? Click this link to read our well-researched article.

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Krishna