Mastering Nihongo: Learning Japanese on a Budget

Learning Japanese does not have to be expensive! The internet has many apps and resources that will aid you in your language journey for free or for minimal cost. No more excuses, stop saying "日本語少し," it's time to become ペラペラ!

3. Hello Talk

Would you like to make friends while studying Japanese? Hello Talk is a great place to start. In this app, you can make Japanese friends, and they can correct your grammar and vocabulary using the app's built-in translator and tools. You can also meet people who have similar interests as you, such as gaming, movies, sports, yoga, etc. There is a paid version, but the free version works just fine. If you are looking to learn more than one language, you will have to get the VIP or paid version.

People you will meet in this app are usually not Japanese teachers, they might be incredible friends. Still, they will not be able to provide a solid lesson. If you are looking for an affordable Japanese school in Tokyo, you should try Japan Switch; they have 1500円 private lessons and 3000円 private lessons. 

Angel's Pro Tip

Remember to find a language partner who is willing to reciprocate the favor. I have encountered many users who want to learn English but are unwilling to teach you Japanese for whatever reason. You are not a teacher but an equal language partner. If they do not reciprocate by teaching you Japanese, I recommend you block them and find a better partner. Ain't nobody teaching English for free. 

2. Meet Up

Meet Up is the perfect place to find both communities that focus on business and also ones that focus on leisure and cultural exchange. Would you like to improve your Japanese speaking skills? You can join 国際パーティー(international parties) or 言語交換パーティー(language exchange parties). 

Angel's Pro Tip

To maximize your Japanese speaking opportunities, try to join Japanese speaking parties. The attendees are usually Japanese people who do not want to practice English but instead want to do a cultural exchange with foreigners in Japanese. The ratio is often 80% Japanese attendees and 20% foreign attendees. On the other hand, if your intention is to practice Japanese, do not, I repeat, do not Join English speaking parties. The ratio of Japanese attendees is low. It would be difficult to practice since people join to practice English and not Japanese. 

1. Tokyo Craigslist

I know it sounds weird, but please hear me out. Tokyo has many excellent and professional Japanese schools. Still, most of them are kind of pricey (rightfully so since they provide good value). If you think to get an excellent Japanese lesson for 2000円 is mission impossible, think again. A year ago, I posted an ad on craigslist looking for a Japanese teacher who could train me for the JLPT. As a result, I found the best Japanese teacher I have had in my life, way friendlier and more professional than the teachers I had at the language school. He helped go from an N4 to a high N3 in 5 months. He is currently training me to pass the N2. 

If you are over the language exchange scene, this is a fantastic option for you. You might not make as many friends as Hello Talk or Meet Up, but you can get a reliable and structured Japanese language education. 

Angel's Pro Tip

Craigslist has a lot of excellent opportunities and a fair share of strange people. Be very careful about who you meet. Make sure you meet in a public place. 

Last Thought

Learning Japanese does not have to be expensive! There so many resources online; also, you can make many friends while improving your Japanese. Don't give up on learning the language! Speaking Japanese is one of the most rewarding things for foreigners living in Japan. No Excuses!


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