Monday, September 2, 2013

Japanese Penpals

Japanese Penpals

Trying to study Japanese? May the gods of language have mercy on your soul. No, haha! It’s not that bad. Until someone explains how many kanji there are and how many readings they have. Then you decide to go for Spanish, just like everyone said.

Hola desu.

No, no, wait! You can do it! And one of the major cornerstones of language leaning is using said language. Practice it. Sure, you can use a journal. But when it doesn’t talk back, it’s just disappointing.  Better idea- getting a real life Japanese person to bounce your sad little Kindergarten sentences off of. Even if you don’t want to practice Japanese, and you just want a penpal from Japan, great- all the better for them to practice English.
The key is to find Japanese sites, not English/American ones. That way you stand out better and are more likely to get a million replies to a penpal request.
My go-to penpal emporium, Japan Guide:

Japan Guide has 2 sites- this is the one for friends, not romantic conquests. Go to the other one for that. Here, you can find penpals from around the globe. Even Slovenia. Search by gender, language, occupation, age, and hobbies. Looking for a Japanese engineer lady in her 40’s who loves to ikebana on the weekend? Well, that’s too bad, there are none. Don’t be so picky.

On the other hand, there seems to be billions of office workers who like travel and movies. Many of them have sketchy English. Many may say they can teach you Japanese, but unless you’re an advanced Japanese learner, you may want someone a little more English savvy to bounce your questions off of. Some folks are seeking to Skype. Some just email. Some snail mail. Remember snail mail?

Has anybody tried any of these below?
If you want to boost the number of replies you get, add some Japanese to your intro.おはようございます! よろしく etc etc.
And on the topic of language sharing, I can’t forget to mention Lang8. Review to come. It’s less personal, but very effective. Some people post journal-like entries in their other language. Some post stories. Some just toss out a direct question.

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