iTalki Japanese Review 2021

Average Score 5
4.4/5

Learning Efficiency

4.5/5

Price

4/5

Ease of Use

3.5/5

italki: オンラインで言語を学ぶ」をApp Storeでbutton

My Experience Using iTalki for Japanese

I have been using the iTalki platform for learning Japanese, and teaching English, for over a year now, so I thought it would be writing about my own experiences using the platform.

I had been learning Japanese for about a year, using a range of different programs like Duolingo , Maggie sensei and Marshall’s site

I was making great progress with my reading, and even getting a bit better at listening to Japanese. I was focused on JLPT, but soon came to realise that my Japanese skills were so focused on reading and listening that I had neglected perhaps the most important element – speaking!

So I started to really look into what options were available for practicing speaking Japanese. I tried Hello talk, Discord and Telegram to talk with native Japanese people. These were useful to a point but, for me, finding iTalki was a game changer. There actually aren’t that many sites that do online Japanese speaking practice well so italki has been a gem. 

When I first found  iTalki I decided to jump in to give it a go.

I soon realised how weak my speaking was! I felt like even if I were to pass the JLPT exams with good grades, if it came to something like a job interview situation in Japan, I would struggle. 

So I signed up for a bunch more iTalki sessions. After doing 10 classes I felt like I was starting to be able to form Japanese sentences clearly in my head. After 15 classes I was able to understand a lot more of what the speaker was trying to say. Of course, there was still plenty of vocab coming up that I just still didn’t know. 

After 20 classes, matched with some pretty intense study using some of my other Japanese language resources,  I guess I was getting my speaking level up to around a Japanese N2 level. I felt like the two methods were really working in tandem.

 I liked that you can choose your own teacher and you can schedule the class at your own convenient time. After some Japanese speaking sessions my confidence improved and now I am not afraid of speaking in Japanese. 

 

Is iTalki good for learning Japanese?

In a word, yes! I was directly learning from a native speaker, so it felt very useful to me. The teachers taught me about the culture of Japan, like how to prepare for an interview with a Japanese company, what to do and what not to do when speaking with a native Japanese speaker.  I also found it helpful that manyiTalki teachers have good English. So if I got stuck, I was able to tell them what I wanted to say in English and they would translate it into Japanese. From there they would teach me how to say the equivalent word in english, it’s meaning and it’s Kanji reading, also which other words I might be able to use in different situations. 

My confidence grew after every iTalki class. I found myself eagerly waiting for each class! If I made a mistake my tutor would correct me so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake again next time.

So what is italki
Compared to other websites that aim to give you the ability to chat with native Japanese speakers, iTalki gives you a truly live experience of Japanese conversation, usually with native speakers. Speaking Japanese in a 1 to 1 conversation can actually be very tough, but this is what you need to learn a language. I find that for things to stick, I have to apply what I’ve learnt. Just book in, turn up and get talking.

It is worth mentioning there are many more languages which you can learn on iTalki

I liked it so much I got involved as a tutor on iTalki by teaching my own native language!

 

How does italki work?

  1. Select the Language which you want to learn. 
  2. Select the tutor which you think would be suitable for you – more details on how to do it below.

    3. After selecting the tutor, select the lesson type. There are many lesson types – everything from
    casual conversation practice, to formal exam orientated tutoring to more niche pursuits like singing!

    4. Select the date and time you want the class.

The blue bars are the selected date and time and the green ones are the available slots.

  1. Select your Communication tool i.e Zoom or skype or iTalkiclassroom. This is really just personal preference, I’ve found they all work pretty well!

Some tutors will have the zoom option and some won’t 

  1. Pay for the class and you will get an email of class confirmation.

If you have a discount code you can use it (look out for these around days like Black Friday). You can pay via Debit or credit card, paypal, bank transfer etc. 

How much does iTalki cost? 
There are different types of classes and different types of teachers. Depending on the type of lesson
the tutor can charge you below is a rough list of the fees taken by 3 tutors:

Tutor name

Lesson plan

Charge

Hourly Rate

Trial

Asami Sensei

30 minute trial lesson

$6.5

$12.00

$ 6.50

Conversation practice

$7.00+

Aki Sensei

30 minute trial lesson

$ 8.00

$15.00

$ 8.00

Conversation Practice

$10.00+

Japanese for beginners …without using textbooks

$15.00+

Packege lesson for begginers/JLPT course ×5

$15.00+

JLPT対策コース(N4,N3,N2)

$15.00+

For a kid —Age 6~【25min or 40min ONLY】

$10.00+

Package lessons for specific students(using GENKI textbook)

$20.00+

Kei Sensei

30 minute trial lesson

$3.00

$10.00

$3.00

General conversations-Any levels are welcome!

$6.00+

Lesson Package

$6.00+

As you can see, different tutors have different lesson plans and they charge you accordingly.
For me, having a general conversation at some pretty low prices felt like a steal! 

Before booking a class I always go for a 30 minute trial. This was usually enough time for me to get a sense for whether or not the teacher and I were going to click. For learning grammar and more formal study, I go to youtube or other websites. I apply that knowledge while speaking with my tutor and get my tutor to correct me.

Best Way To Use iTalki 

Beyond simple one to one Japanese conversation practice, there are other options to try. If you’re interested in Manga and Anime, you can find a teacher that focuses on these, or ask an existing tutor to help you explain things to you. If you are planning on visiting Japan, you can ask your tutor to tell you the best places they think you should visit – in Japanese. 

Personally, I have tried asking my tutor about Japanese festivals, and what I should and shouldn’t do if I visit one. My tutor told me that there are different festivals for different seasons and locales. They explained to me about traditional Japanese wear associated with the festivals, and about the street food and games stall.They advised me to watch the fireworks or a parade if there was one! 

I also asked my tutor how they managed to remember so many Kanji as a child. My tutor told me that in Japanese schools they are taught Kanji with Kunyomi and Onyomi reading from Junior High school and that they have a weekly test for Kanji. She said it is easy for them to remember Kanji because they are surrounded by Kanji in TV shows, at the shopping mall, and in books. 

For me the best way to use iTalki is to really get stuck into experiencing casual speaking. I also used it as an opportunity to experiment with role playing using different levels of politeness in Japanese. I make this clear with my tutor at the start of the lesson. I’ve found this to be really helpful in improving speaking the many different levels of politeness required to be a fluent Japanese speaker in various situations. 

 

Do you need a Japanese language tutor?

I feel that an online tutor is indispensable for getting a good command of the language if you are not living in Japan. Japanese listening and speaking is hard. Japanese has a lot of words that have the same sound but a different meaning e.g. 会います And 合います. The only way to get proficient at navigating this in real time, is to actually spend time conversing in the language!

Having a Japanese language tutor helped me to start picking up on elements of the language more “instinctively”, such as the difference between the particle は and が.  As I spoke with my tutor daily, I found myself unconsciously creating Japanese sentences in my mind. After a few months, I had learnt enough vocabulary that I started using them more freely in my daily sentences without consciously trying to construct a sentence in my mind. 

I had found the main problem with textbook examples was that the subject was already spelled out clearly for you. This is not so in real conversation. This is especially an issue with japanese,
where subjects and objects are often omitted from a
sentence.

When should I start using iTalki

I started to use iTalki when I was in N3 level around 270 days after I started learning Japanese, and by this time I felt like I had a good base to build on for my conversation sessions. You really could start out at any level, but most people find they get more out of it if they at least have a certain base level of vocab before they dive in.

 

How to choose a teacher on iTalki?

Step 1: Figure out exactly what you need from your online tutor.

Are you a total beginner, or stuck at an intermediate stage?

Do you have a concrete goal (to prepare for a trip, to converse with your mother-in-law, or to navigate a business meeting?)

Or are you just learning for fun?

Figure out what you want to get out of these lessons. This will really guide you as you are trying to do what is, often an overwhelming, search for a teacher. A lot of teachers offer specialisations, so this can whittle things down for you as a first criteria.  

Once you do find a teacher that suits your goals, let the teacher know BEFORE your first lesson (send him or her a message through the italki platform) to make it 100% clear what you want to get out of the session/s.

If the teacher is top quality, they will prepare a lesson plan and some ideas before you first meet.  

Step 2: Choose a Community or Professional tutor

If you want to practice conversationmaintain a language you don’t want to forget, or if you want to guide the lesson yourself (for example, maybe you have a document you need to understand for work, a drama program you’re struggling to understand) then choose a community tutor.

Community tutors are cheaper, because they’re not expected to prepare a lesson plan. They’re just a fluent speaker willing to chat with you and follow your lead.

In my experience, I have used mostly Community tutors as I just wanted to practice general Japanese speaking. If you want a more structured and targeted Japanese lesson you need to choose a Professional Tutor

Professional tutors are particularly good if you are studying for a specific exam, like the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Even if you’re not sitting a test but want to really drill your Japanese grammar, a pro tutor is probably the way to go.

Step 3: Check the number of lessons the iTalki teacher has taught
One of my main criteria when choosing a teacher is who has taught the most lessons. I’ve noticed that teacher’s experience levels make a genuine difference in how good their lessons tend to be. These tutors have done their “flight hours”, and they often have more resources to work with. The fact that they have been going for longer than others shows that they are, at very least, teaching at a “sustainable” quality level to maintain students. 


Step 4: Final step

The last step is the simplest, find a date that works!

 Sometimes this can be easier said than done, as popular teachers can be in high demand. Others you can book in with straight away.

Recommended Japanese Teachers on iTalki  

I have tried quite a few teachers, many of whom have been very good, but one of my favourites was Kikou. She’s quite expensive compared to others, but I find her interesting, funny, knowledgeable, and was always up for fielding the strange questions I came up with.
Our sessions were freeform, with some reading aloud practice. She was pleasant to talk to and good at keeping the conversation going. I really like that she never interrupted me when I was talking, then corrected what I said after I finished. 

I started my lessons with her somewhere between level N4-N3, when I was still a disaster at speaking;
and am still using her now that I’m somewhere around N3-N2 and can hold a conversation. 

How much do italki teachers make? 

 I have been able to sustain an hourly rate of around $19, and am looking to be over $20 moving forward.

When I first started on iTalki, it was pretty slow. In fact, iTalki recommends that you start charging a low amount to get new students and then work your way up. Unfortunately, this creates a “race to the bottom” mentality on Italki, with a number of teachers charging as little as $8 for a one-hour lesson (but I think the quality tells). This is one the the downsides of Italki. Anyway, I earned around $87.55 in my first month, working 6.5 hours. This works out to $13.47 dollars an hour. It’s not minimum wage in my state, and it’s also not paying my bills!
In the second month, it wasn’t much better, with only $182.75 for 11.25 hours worth of work. In the third month, I moved up to around $351.90 for 20 hours of work. While my hourly rate went up by $4.13, I still wasn’t working enough hours to make this a full-time job. What was wrong? Was it my video? Was it my profile?  

Since then the income has been pretty steady. Overall, the trend has been looking good. The only significant dips in my income were due to the holiday season in December and my hard drive crashing in April. Otherwise, I have reached an hourly rate of around $19, and am looking to push that to $20 an hour from this point forward. If I worked on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays), I think that I could easily make over $2,000 a month on iTalki. However, people need to recharge, and I am no different. Still, having a 25-hour work week is pretty much the norm on iTalki.

Things to watch out for on iTalki

 

You need to be wary of the cancellation policies of different tutors. 

You also need to take a look at their teaching styles and the reviews before booking the class. If you have any doubts, it can’t hurt to contact the teacher before booking a class to sound things out. Once I wanted to ask a question from a Japanese textbook, but my tutor didn’t allow me to bring my own materials! So you need to watch out for any “red flags” in relation to the teacher’s details. Always ensure that you are learning in every class. If you aren’t learning anything, don’t be afraid to change the tutor

Check the zoom connectivity and skype connectivity of your tutor. If there is a network problem regularly then change the tutor or ask them to solve the issue. I had a tutor once where, out of 60 mins, at least 10 to 15 minutes were wasted because of network issues.

Is italki safe?

Yes, in my experience it has been safe. But I am also aware that I am a male student, so others may have a different experience.

It is worth remembering that you have the option to do your lesson with the camera off if that is more comfortable for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to iTalki management if you experience something untoward!

On a purely financial level, as a tutor I sometimes received late payment from italki and found that they sometimes seemed to take unusually high commissions from my payments.  But overall, I would recommend iTalki as a safe and friendly platform.

iTalki alternatives 
If you want to compare iTalki to the competition you might want to check out:
1. Verbling
2. Hellotalk
3. Cafetalk  


I am listing 2 of the iTalki alternatives which I have used and sharing my experience with you.

 

  1.  Verbling

Verbling is the biggest competitor to iTalki and they provide a platform that is similar in most ways, but with a few differences.

I think Verbling’s payment system and the overall platform has the edge over italki’s. You’re able to pay for the class without the need of adding money into your account’s “wallet” first. Classes also take place within their platform so you don’t need to switch to Skype for the lesson itself. 

  2. HelloTalk 

HelloTalk is also a very great alternative to iTalki

Unlike on iTalki, where you need to pay the tutor and arrange a class, HelloTalk provides you an opportunity to quickly long and talk with native speakers in real time, chat with them and ask them questions for free. Hello talk is like a social networking site where you can post a story and receive comments and likes.
I have many native Japanese speakers on HelloTalk who have become my good friends. I talk with them on calls as long as I want. 

Unlike iTalki, audio-only calls are common on HelloTalk. There are many language learning groups which consist of native speakers and learners, where you can hang out and chat. You can ask anything about the language in a story and the native speakers will reply to you to explain. I personally enjoyed Hello talk more than iTalki and as an English teacher. Teaching on HelloTalk is a hassle free process, different to iTalki where you need to set the price and make an introduction video The HelloTalk team will give you the details of the student and you can talk with your student on zoom or skype for a rate of around $10 for 1 hour. So for ease of use, Hello talk is a great alternative to iTalki

 

Concluding Thoughts on iTalki

I’m a fan of iTalki. When I wanted to improve my conversational skills, iTalki  helped me to improve my speaking. I wouldn’t recommend it so much for beginners, but once you reach an intermediate level you can use iTalki to really boost your speaking and listening skills. With a great variety of Native speakers as tutors I polished my Japanese speaking skills and achieved a level of confidence while speaking Japanese. 

Overall, I had a very good experience using iTalki and liked the quality of the tutors. I would definitely recommend iTalki if you want to improve your conversation skills over the long term.

 

Other Japanese Language Resources & Reviews

See our complete Japanese Language Learning Resource List 

or our Japanese language learning platform reviews below:

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Language Learning Program Reviews

Contributor

Karan Belani is a avid student of Japanese and is working towards a career in technical translation for Japanese tech companies.

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

Average Score 3.5
3.5/5

Learning Efficiency

Well set out, more well structured than something like Japanese Pod 101, and more comprehensive than Pimsleur.

3/5

Price

Price is reasonable at around $260 with a coupon, compared to Pimsleur at $550 outright for complete course.

3.5/5

Ease of Use

Well designed interface for both computer or mobile. They have forums for discussing with other students, but not nearly as active a community as something like duolingo or memrise.

3.5/5

Amount of content

Good to get you to an intermediate level. Rocket says they include 378 hours , I believe they are including reading and writing. Favourable Pimsleur with around 75 hours of audio or Japanese Pod 101 with around 200 hours of audio content.

4/5

Rocket Japanese Overall Verdict

Rocket Japanese is a solid, well structured, “no frills” option for learning language. 

 I’ve given it an average 3.5 stars out of five. Rocket Japanese doesn’t really “excel” in anyone area, but does give you a good broad grounding. I recommend this program for beginner to intermediate or business level Japanese learners that want an all inclusive online program that gives you well rounded approach encompassing listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and culture.

See my full Japanese Language Resource List here.

rocket Japanese writing module

About The Rocket Japanese approach

Rocket Languages for Japanese as takes a fairly “white bread” approach, it just gets on and gives you the basics without really doing anything fancy. At the end of the day, no language program is going to be able to take you all the way to fluency in and of itself, and you’ll need to combine different tools, learning approaches and environments. But most of us want to minimize the chopping and changing where we can. Rocket Japanese does a pretty good job of tying everything up in a neat package. 

It’s structure is a fairly “conversational” approach, with an emphasis on listening to conversations and asking you to play the role of different people within different situations. These conversations are natural enough, giving you a real sense of the language.

There is not nearly as much emphasis in Rocket Japanese on listening as you get in programs such as Pimsleur Japanese. Personally, I’m a big fan of learning predominantly through listening, so I would like to see Rocket Japanese really throwing you in the deep end a bit more with listening to more conversation unassisted by text prompts all of the way. This brings us to the issue of language and practice pacing.

Rocket Languages Japanese Pacing

Rocket languages progresses at a slow and steady pace. Many of the example sentences even in the most advanced lessons are spoken at a very slow pace – not even close to what is used in everyday language. This is fine for beginners, but not so good as you progress and for those that want to challenge themselves. Indeed, quite a few people find the pace of the program leads to boredom and lack of motivation.

Rocket Interactive Audio Lessons

 Things I like about Rocket Japanese

 Things I don’t like about Rocket Japanese

Fully structured “neat package” course

Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing - Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji

Nothing exciting about the course overall.

Does lots, but doesn't really excel at anything in particular.

Well laid out with 4 Audio modules, 4 language & culture modules.

Some people find the pacing leads to boredom.

Writing section includes videos

of how to write all of the letters and characters

Writing doesn’t give you practice drills

no interactive modules or recognition games.

Plenty of content

378 hours (how this is calculated is not clear, the actual hours of audio is are much less) You can use the progress tool to see your daily and overall points tally

No mnemonic devices

to help you create learning “shortcuts”.

Some gamification

longest streaks, leaderboard position compared to other users.

Gamification is fairly rudimentary.

Duolingo this ain't

Benchmark and Certificate testing

Platform tests your current level

Benchmarking and Certification are very basic.

I found that the benchmarking didn’t measure my current level well.

Ability to save notes and vocab

to help with review

No spaced memory Graduated Interval Recall

(like pimsleur) no spaced repetition system, like wani kani, or duolingo or Memrise

Has a solid mobile app

for learning on the go easily

No live talk with a teacher option

akin to Japanese Pod 101. Best to compliment the Rocket Japanese with live chat teaching services like “iTalki”.

Includes forum

ability to post and respond to discussion threads with other learners

Forum not that active

doesn't have the thriving community of some other platforms

One-off payment model

Don't have to pay ongoing for a subscription

Payment model means you must commit to the program

which could be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it!

Is Rocket Japanese good value for money?

Rocket Languages pricing is reasonable at around $260 with a coupon, compared to Pimsleur at $550 outright for complete course or ongoing subscriptions for other courses.

Rocket Japanese Pricing

Summary

Overall, Rocket Japanese is a solid, no-nonsense program for beginner to intermediate & business level Japanese learners. 

Combine with other platforms to create your own learning suite:

Japanoscope is a member of affiliate programs for some of the products it recommends. Japanoscope receives a commission when these products are purchased from a referral from this site.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

I take an in depth look at the Rocket Japanese platform, 2021 edition, in depth and outline what I like, what I don’t like and what some of the alternatives are.

Read More »

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Memrise vs. Duolingo – A Head-To-Head Comparison

Memrise Score 7.4
7.4/10
Duolingo Score 4.7
4.7/10

Verdict

  • Memrise came out the clear winner in our Memrise vs. Duolingo matrix below. But really my advice is – use them both! If you want to invest in paying for pro versions, I prefer Memrise over Duolingo for sheer depth and breadth of content in the ecosystem, and for their video learn-with-locals content.

Overall Thoughts

  • Duolingo and Memrise are similar products, with some major differences. They both aim to teach you language through small chuncks of information, such as words , sentences and phrases, in a gamified environment. But Memrise is more of an “ecosystem”, that houses large amounts of user generated content. Duolingo is more of a standardised, curated course. You could say that Memrise is closer to a an android phone, or a Windows PC, that is open to various software makers, and Duolingo is closer to an iPhone or Apple computer, which is a closed software environment that aims to provide a streamlined and seamless experience. 
memorise versus Duolingo - android phone
Memrise is an open environment, like Android.
Duolingo Versus Memrise - iPhone
Duolingo is a closed environment, like iOS on Apple.
  • Another way to look at is as Memrise being a “swiss army knife” and Duolingo being a “screwdriver”. You can use Memrise to learn just about anything that requires memorising a large amount of information. You will find user generated courses on learning everything from Morse Code, to sign language, all the way through to Harry Potter Spells!
Memrise vs. Duolingo
Memrise is a multipurpose tool, like a Swiss Army Knife
Memrise vs Duolingo - screwdriver
Duolingo is a precision tool, like a screwdriver
  • To do a solid comparison of Memrise vs. Duolingo, we’ve put the features of each side-by-side in matrix below. We assigned either a check, neutral, or cross rating for each criteria. We then assigned 2 points for a check, one for neutral and 0 for a cross. 
  • In this comparison Memrise came out with 25 out of a possible 34 points (which is 73.5 out of 100).
  • Duolingo came out with 16 out of a possible 34 points (which is 47 out of 100)
  • Neither of the platforms work as an all inclusive, silver-bullet for learning language. These are best used in conjunction with some of the tools listed below:

Too really learn a language, combine with these tools:

New Pimsleur Logo 125x125button

  • Pimsleur Method – Most highly recommended for a systematic, listening and speaking focused program backed by a scientific approach

  • Rocketlanguages – For a systematic, wholistic course for begginner to intermediate students.

Too really learn a language, combine with these tools

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

  • Japanese Pod 101 – for a continually updating, dynamic podcast approach to learning with masses of content.
headphones at station
These options are better for studying on the go

Memrise Vs. Duolingo Matrix

Feature

Price

Memrise

Free or $5.83 per month

On an annual subscription

Duolingo

Free or 6.99 per month

On an annual subscription

Does paying for premium get you much?

More lessons

Access to all the Memrise native produced “learn with locals” video content, learn “difficult words” function, Grammar and Chat bots, statistics.

memrise learn with locals

No ads

Remove ads, unlimited hearts (don’t have to keep restarting lessons), do lessons offline, monthly repair streak, progress quizzes.

The main selling point ofduolingo plus is no ads

Does it teach you much?

Teaches basic vocab and phrases

Access to all the Memrise native produced “learn with locals” video content, learn “difficult words” function, Grammar and Chat bots, statistics.

Teaches you longer sentences that build on words you already know.

You can click/touch any word at anytime to find the meaning

Audio Lessons

No audio only lesson

A resources such as Pimsleur is better for learning on the go.

No audio only lesson

A resources such as Pimsleur is better for learning on the go.

Video Lessons

Yes

Body language is present, which actually makes a big difference and is a lot more realistic. Gives language in context.

Memrise video gives you body language and context

No

Native Speaker Audio

“Learn with locals” video lessons

Body language is present, which actually makes a big difference and is a lot more realistic. Gives language in context.







Computer generated sentences

Duolingo has lots of individual words that it has recorded which are then strung together by the computer to make sentences. The way real people pronounce words when they string them together is actually quite different. This means Duolingo example sentences sound mechanical and less realistic.


duolingo dialogue is chunked up and sounds less natural

Gamification

Uses Gamification including levels, points and leaderboards.

These features are not bad, but not great, in Memrise. Especially in the user-generated lessons, sometimes levels and points make no sense at all. When I tired a user-generated Japanese lesson after completing one lesson it told me I had “reached level 10. 128380 / 320000 points”. 320000 points? Huh?!

memrise versus duolingo
Those points mean what?!

Uses Better Gamification including levels, points and leaderboards.

This is really well done in Duolingo and really does help keep you motivated. You can compete against friends, or against the whole world. There are series of leagues, such as gold, silver, bronze etc. It’s all well laid out, seamless, and one of the major up sides of using Duolingo.


Duolingo Japanese
Duolingo does leagues & competing with friends really well

User Generated Content

Memrise has a huge amount of user made content

This is one of the big strengths of Memrise. Users have contributed lessons on a HUGE range of topics, including frivolous things like learning Harry Potter Spells or fictious languages, but also really great niche things like learning all the jargon to do with buddhist thought and philosophy in Japanese. It also has many of the curriculums of your favourite textbooks. You could use it to learn Morse Code.


A Japanese Buddhist Jargon lesson uploaded by a user

No



















Curated Structured course

Memrise has native courses made in-house.

Unfortunately, these aren’t as rigourously put together as Duolingo. Memrise content often leaves you feeling like you are learning things “out of order” or a little haphazardly.

Memrise has a large ecosystem of user content

Duonlingo has highly streamlined content.

Duolingo does a great job of introducting new words and sentence structures in a logical, systematic way where each new step builds on the last.


duolingo_20200403-162724
Duolingo content is well structured

Spaced repetition

Yes

Platform dynamically repeats content for optimal recall.


Yes

Platform dynamically repeats content for optimal recall.


Speaking Practice

Includes pronunciation recording lessons.

Does not prompt you to actively create sentences in a quasi-conversational way, as Pimsleur does.

Includes pronunciation recording lessons.

Does not prompt you to actively create sentences in a quasi-conversational way, as Pimsleur does.

Amount of content

The amount of user content makes the Memrise a clear winner over Duolingo

But be aware that because of the user-generated nature of the platform, the content is sprawling and not easy to navigate.


Duolingo has enough content to get you to a basic conversational level of knowledge

Duolingo doesn’t really give you the tools to actually use it conversationally. For that you would need a tool such as iTalki.) It doesn’t have the sheer volume that a talk such as the Innovative Language 101 programs do.

Grammer

Memrise native content does include some limited grammer notes.

This is certainly not a strong point of the Memrise platform.


Memrise has some limited grammer and usage notes

Duolingo does include grammer notes with many lessons, and comes out slightly on top of Memrise.

It’s still not a big strong point of Duolingo.

Duolingo has break-out grammer notes

Mnemonics

Customizable mnemonics on content

Memrise lets you add a memnonic to help you make things stick. So you could add a note to the Japanese word for “one, two, three”, which is “ichi, ni, san” saying “I sure do have and itchy knee son”. Much of the user generated content includes 4 or 5 different mnemonics that people have already put in for you, often with pictures.

A user generated mnemonic note

No















Quizes and Review

Gives you regular reviews and quizes

but doesn’t do a great job of quizes of material across everything you’ve learnt



Tests current material as you go

But only lets you quiz yourself across everything you’ve learnt in the paid version. This becomes an issue as you progress and you want to see how far you have actually come.

Lesson Length

Memrise lessons are shorter than Duolingo

Memrise lets you add a memnonic to help you make things stick. So you could add a note to the Japanese word for “one, two, three”, which is “ichi, ni, san” saying “I sure do have and itchy knee son”. Much of the user generated content includes 4 or 5 different mnemonics that people have already put in for you, often with pictures.

Duolingo lessons are longer than Memrise

meaning you may not always have time to finish them in one sitting. This can be annoying because, in Duolingo's gamified environment, you can lose your progress when you try to come back to completing a lesson you had to pause half way through.

Summary Duolingo Versus Memrise

Even though Memrise came out as a clear winner in our head to head Memrise vs. Duolingo matrix, we think they are both useful tools that should be in your language arsenal. Neither of these tools is really enough to take you all the way with your language study though, so you will need to combine them with some of the programs below.

 

Japanoscope is a member of affiliate programs for some of the products it recommends. Japanoscope receives a commission when these products are purchased from a referral from this site.

Language Learning Program Reviews

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Pimsleur Japanese Review 2021 and Real World Experience

Average Score 3.75
3.75/5

Learning Efficiency

4.5/5

Price

2.5/5

Ease of Use

3.5/5

Amount of content

4.5/5

New Pimsleur Logo 125x125button

How Good Is Pimsleur Japanese?

The Pimsleur Japanese course is one of the most useful Japanese language learning methods I have come across, but it’s not cheap. You’ll need to weigh up how serious you are about your language learning and whether you think it is worth your money to learn Japanese efficiently.

Overall Thoughts

I’ve always learnt more, and more quickly, from listening and speaking than any other language learning method. In reviewing Pimsleur Japanese, it’s good to note that the program is based almost exclusively around listening and speaking. It is the first, and in many ways best, Japanese language learning approach to fully comprehend that this is the quickest way to learn a language and to fully systematise the approach in a rigorous and evidence-based way. Paul Pimsleur, who made the course, was a serious academic with real credentials to back up his approach.

I’ll get into more detail below, but here’s a quick summary of things I do and don’t like about Pimsleur Japanese.

Pimsleur Japanese Pros and Cons

Things I like about Pimsleur for Japanese

    • Speaking and listening focus is fastest way to learn.
    • It’s an audio based approach, you can do it while doing other things, especially while in transit.
    • Based on a scientific approach and developed by a genuinely qualified academic
    • Encourages active learning – which makes things stick more.
    • Uses principle of “Anticipation”
    • Uses “Graduated Interval Recall” which interviews materials at exact intervals when memory fades.
    • Strong for teaching pronunciation in minute detail – it is not uncommon for people to speak a language quite proficiently and still have bad pronunciation
    • Good amount of content. Across the five levels they have 80 hours worth of lessons. That being said, if you did one lesson per day as they recommend, you would get through everything in about half a year (and would have spent more than half a grand doing so).
  • ” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>Pimsleur Japanese lesson 30
    • Uses backchaining method of learning pronunciation – teaches you words from the last syllable to the first. This works well for Japanese, which tends to have fairly long words with a lot of syllables.

Things I don’t like about Pimsleur for Japanese

    • Price, relatively expensive compared to other platforms such as Japanese Pod 101 or Rocket Languages
    • Because it is based on active learning, it demands that you speak out loud “at a normal conversational volume”. This can be hard to do if you are, say, on a crowded train.
    • Barely teaches reading & writing at all. The app is pretty basic, quizzes and exercises feel like something tacked on to the audio-lessons
    • Hasn’t really moved with the times in terms of incorporating technology and AI to adapt to individual learners
    • Sometimes the Japanese translations can be a bit unnatural. You can tell that they have transported their learning materials across from one central source with not that much localisation for each language for example they teach the phrase “Can you buy beer” as ビールは買えますか which is very much a literal translation of the English which isn’t particularly useful for any real context in Japanese. The Japanese version translated back to English is more like “Is beer something you are able to buy”, which may be something you may need to ask in a context that comes up every 10 years or so…

Pimsleur Japanese Commonly Asked Questions

Does the Pimsleur method really work?

Yes, the Pimsleur method works for getting you to a basic level of functional level where you are able to speak and understand some sentences for asking directions, having basic conversation with friends. It can take you to a basic to intermediate level. In particular, it will really help you speak with correct pronunciation from the start.

As with any language resource, to get to a higher level, you need a range of different approaches, inputs and outputs. In particular, there really is no substitute for actually talking with real people and having real-time dialogues that are unscripted. For this, you would want to use a resource such as iTalki.com

Does Pimsleur make you fluent?

In short, no Pimsleur alone won’t make you fluent. Fluency is a major, and never-ending project. “Fluency” is a highly subjective term, but to achieve anything that resembles what most people consider fluent, you need hours and hours of speaking with real people, listening, reading, writing and getting to know a culture in a deep way.  To look at this from the opposite perspective, if you were learning English and you leart the words for “hot dog” or “hamburger”, but you had never actually eaten or seen a hot dog or hamburger, would you be able to talk about food with an American friend in a fully “fluent” way? Probably not.

Does the Pimsleur method fit into everyday life?

One of the things I really like about the Pimsleur Japanese is that, because it is an audio based approach, you can do it while doing other things. This is a major plus for adult learners with busy lives. You can learn while walking, riding, driving, riding public transport, washing dishes, doing monotonous tasks. The Pimsleur instructions do discourage this though and suggest you practice without interruption and with full concentration. Well, in an ideal world, that is a no-brainer. In reality though, it is really easy to give up on a language method, and indeed on learning a language altogether, if you’ve always got to do it through 100% concentration. The Pimsleur Japanese really is great for fitting in learning around the cracks of a busy lifestyle.

headphones at station
Pimsleur Japanese is great for learning while do other things

Why does the Pimsleur method focus on listening?

One of the reasons you learn more from listening and speaking is that this is an active process. When you hear a word you don’t know, your brain naturally tries to attach some kind of meaning to it. This means you are trying to make connections to the new information. This makes learning “stick”. is aware of this and proactively incorporates “Anticipation” as one of its key principles of learning.Anticipation in Pimsleur Japanese, means that you are constantly being prompted for information in a conversational style. From time to time, Pimsleur Japanese will call on you to attach new meaning to words and phrases that you may only know from a different context. It makes you work a little, guess a little, associate a little. Just as you did when you learnt your first language.

Is Pimsleur better than Duolingo?

So Duolingo has been becoming very popular in recent years. How does good old Pimsleur compare?

Pimsleur is much better if you want to focus on learning by listening and speaking, which, in my experience, is the most efficient way to learn a language. Duolingo does a great job of gamifying short language drills and managable chunks. Given that, the two systems are so different, I like using them in tandem to compliment each other. This especially makes sense with Pimsleur being more listening/speaking focused, and Duolingo being more reading/sentence construciton focused.

How many lessons does pimsleur japanese have?

Pimsleur Japanese includes five courses, including a total of 150 lessons. Each lesson runs for 30 minutes, meaning you get a total of 75 hours of content.

How to Get Pimsleur Cheap

If you just want to know how to shave off a few dollars from Pimsleur there are a few “hacks” you can do:

  1. Sign up for an Amazon Audible free month – which also gets you access to Pimsleur courses free for a month. This could potentially save hundreds of dollars.
3. Use a special offer. Pimsleur is pretty aggresive at offering special offers to partners and with special sale periods. Shop around and/or wait for specials before any bulk purchases.
Pimsleur Japanese conversation
Pimsleur Japanese uses principles of "anticipation" and uses active learning to make things stick

What Principles are Pimsleur Japanese based on?

One key principle Pimsleur incorporates is “Graduated Interval Recall”. This is just a fancy way of saying, “we make you review new material at logical intervals”. This principle, if anything, seems fairly obvious. But it’s amazing how many language learning approaches don’t actually make use of this fact. Perhaps because not all courses are put together with the rigour that you may hope for. This is a major strong point for Pimsleur. 

Pimsleur Japanese is based on solid foundations and principles, but one criticism is that Pimsleur probably hasn’t moved with the times as much as they should have. Given their firm base, they seem to have rested on their laurels a bit. Where other platforms, notably Duolingo and Memrise, use adaptive learning principles based on algorithms to tailor content to each learner, Pimsleur is basically the same old Pimsleur it was 50 years ago. True, they have done quite a lot to repackage content for the digital age, there is not a lot of true innovation. They have the Pimsleur app, which gives you the audio lessons, and they have added in some review functionality and the ability to give yourself some basic quizzes, but really it all feels like a bit of an arbitrary add on. For that reason, Pimsleur is best done in conjunction with other tools – even their documentation actively discourages you from doing this.

Pimsleur Japanese Quiz
Pimsleur Japanese content outside of the core audio lessons sometimes feels a little "tacked on"

How Does Pimsleur Japanese Work?

Pimsleur Japanese is almost wholly audio based. It gives you 30 minute lessons where it gradually introduces words and phrases for you to listen to and repeat back using its “graduated interval recall” and “anticipation” principles. It sells these lessons either as a price for a pack of lessons, or as a subscription model. There are literally hundreds of lessons to work through, so there is plenty of material to take you to a fairly good level of skill.

Who was Paul Pimsleur?

Dr. Paul Pimsleur (b. 1926, d. 1976) devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world’s leading experts in applied linguistics. He was fluent in French, good in German, and had a working knowledge of Italian, Russian, Modern Greek, and Mandarin Chinese. After obtaining his Ph.D. in French and a Masters in Psychology from Columbia University, he taught French Phonetics and Linguistics at UCLA. He later became Professor of Romance Languages and Language Education, and Director of The Listening Center (a state-wide language lab) at Ohio State University; Professor of Education and Romance Languages at the State University of New York at Albany; and a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. He did research on the psychology of language learning and in 1969 was Section Head of Psychology of Second Language Learning at the International Congress of Applied Linguistics.

 

Summary

Pimsleur Japanese is probably my top recommended tool for getting going with the language quickly and methodically. You can use it anywhere, because its audio based. The main draw back is that isn’t cheap. I would also suggest combining with some other more “high tech” drilling tools, such as Memrise and Duolingo.


Other Japanese Language Resources & Reviews

See our complete Japanese Language Learning Resource List 

or our Japanese language learning platform reviews below:

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Language Learning Program Reviews

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Japanese Pod 101 Review 2021 – Hands on and In Depth

Average Score 3.75
3.75/5

Verdict

  • Japanese Pod 101 is a solid platform, with lots of content and good value for money, especially with the lower end tiers – which give you the meat of the content without fluff.

Overall Thoughts

  • Japanese Pod 101 has been going since 2005 as a Podcast, and this history can be seen in the product as it exists today. There is a bunch of content, 2950 audio and video lessons according to their website, that have been wrangled into some kind of order after the fact. To navigate, they have learning paths, subject areas and difficulty levels. These do an adequate, but not outstanding, job of guiding you through your learning journey. The content tends to read more like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure than a sequential novel in chapters.

  • This weakness is also a strength. Japanese Pod 101 is a living, evolving organism, where new lessons are being added on an ongoing basis. The podcast is still the platform’s beating heart.

  • For beginner to somewhat advanced students, Japanese Pod 101 is a really solid option for learning the language using an audio-focused approach.

  • Japanese Pod 101 is inlcuded in our list of Japanese Language Resources here.

Learning Efficiency

4/5

Price

3.5/5

Ease of Use

3/5

Amount of content

4.5/5

Other platforms you should consider:

New Pimsleur Logo 125x125button

  • Pimsleur Method – Most highly recommended for a systematic, listening and speaking focused program backed by a scientific approach

  • Rocket Japanese – For a systematic, wholistic course for begginner to intermediate students.
 

Other platforms you should consider:

  • Memrise – for a duolingo style app built around videos of real native speakers

 

 

 

How Does Japanese Pod 101 Japanese Work?

      • Japanese Pod 101 takes you through a series of Podcast-style audio and video lessons that usually run for around 20 minutes.
      • Content is arranged by level and by topic.
      • Extra features to go with this content includes flashcard modules, a word bank for saving vocabulary and chunked up lesson notes
Japanese Pod 101 on mobile

Listen to an interview with the founder Peter Galante

 

Things we like about Japanese Pod 101 for Japanese

Lots of Content

2950 Audio and Video Lessons.

Some lessons from Japanese Pod 101

Genuinely Likeable Presenters

Who tend to be bubbly, humorous and personable characters who also have advanced bilingual skills

Friendly teachers

Learning Topics Are Interesting

I find that I'm much more likely to actually learn if I'm interested in what is being talked about. Topics range from politics to music, from comedy to fashion and everywhere in between

Allows you to gain a deep understanding of culture

While you learn the language.

Up-to-the-minute content

The fact that the platform exists as a podcast means that there are always up-to-date topics being discussed

In-Built Flashcards

And wordbank features, means that your learning can be integrated and you don't have to switch back and forth between platforms as much. This being said, these features are not as robust as using a resource like Anki or Memrise.

Flashcards with audio

Reasonably Priced

The basic level pricing tier is very reasonable at around $5 a month.

Flexible Pricing

4 pricing tiers lets you flexibly choose your level of commitment

Advanced Content

Some genuinely challenging content for advanced learners, means that you can go a long way with the one platform. Japanese Pod 101 grows with you.

Advanced lesson contet

Content in a variety of formats, including a large selection of video and audio content. Video is king when you want to be fully engaged with conversational learning, but audio remains more convenient for learning on the go

A page from a PDF Book
 

Things we don’t like about Japanese Pod 101 for Japanese

Sprawling Content Structure

Due to the nature of the product having evolved over a long period of time without a "masterplan".

Too Many PDFs!

Much of the accompanying materials for the audio is only in PDF format when viewed on mobile. This makes it hard to select any of the words listed in the documents to , say, look them up in a dictionary for extra information, or look up a kanji, or add them to a word list for review. It all feels a little "this would have been very new and innovative in 2009".

PDFs on mobile feel out-of-date

Doesn't always give best meanings

Doesn't always give you meanings and explanations for the most needed words in a lesson. For example, I did one of their most challenging lessons that discussed the imperial abdication and contains a lot of rarely used and jargon words. When I went to the lesson notes, many of the words, including these ones: 世襲 heriditary 皇室 Royal Family, 典範 emperial law, 子孫 descendants, 王朝 dynasty, 統治権 soveirenty, were not listed. To add insult to injury, because the lesson transcripts and notes are all in PDF format when viewed on mobile, I was unable to copy and paste the words I didn't know into a dictionary. Its frustrating when the digital world, which should offer so many more possibilities than the physical world, functions with the same old limitations.

PDF text can't be selected on mobile

Some features are just "fillers"

Some of the extra features are a little bit "feature filler", which is to say, not that useful. The PDF materials are a case in point where the same content has cut up and repacked every which way, without providing any real extra value. The "record your voice to compare it to a sound wave image of a native speaker" feature is also pretty underwhelming.

Quizes demand only one translation

Teacher access a little underwhelming

The Premium Plus tier has as it's main drawcard access to native speaking language teachers who you can send questions to at anytime. This doesn't really seem that helpful. When I first read about the feature, I had thought that it would be access to real-time language lessons with native speakers via video chat. Which I thought would be a really great inclusion that would be worth the cash. Real time talking with native speakers is THE number one way that you improve your language, and really, the point of the whole exercise of learning a language. Unfortunately, the Premium Plus tier stops short of offering this service, and opts instead for the ability to send audio snippets to language teachers who send you back notes on how you could improve what you have said.

Interaction, but no conversation lessons with teachers

Sometimes Content is too quick for beginners

Sometimes there are not enough opportunities to repeat back words and phrases. At times, it feels like the presenters are more focused on coming across as fun, witty hosts at the expense of really giving the student the opportunity to learn.

Japanese Pod 101 has a range of pricing plans - click the image to see plans on Japanese Pod 101 site

Summary

Overall, Japanese Pod 101 is a great, deeply content rich platform that will take you a long way at a reasonable price.

Combine with these other platforms to create your own learning suite:

Japanoscope is a member of affiliate programs for some of the products it recommends. Japanoscope receives a commission when these products are purchased from a referral from this site.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

I take an in depth look at the Rocket Japanese platform, 2021 edition, in depth and outline what I like, what I don’t like and what some of the alternatives are.

Read More »

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Duolingo Japanese – Personal Review

Average Score 3.6
3.62/5

Verdict

  • Duolingo Japanese is good as a fun, and motivating, toy for giving you the basics. But its not the most efficient way to learn a Japanese. And it’s not an all-in-one solution. You will also need other tools to get proficient at Japanese.

Overall Thoughts

  • Language learning takes a long time. The quickest way to learn Japanese is by listening and speaking. You can listen and speak while doing other things, eg. while walking, driving or taking transport. Duolingo can only be done when you are concentrating on it alone, meaning the time you can devote to it is instantly limited. For this reason, using duolingo as your main way of learning a language is not the most efficient way to do it.
  • On the positive side, Duolingo still provides a lot of learning value at the unbeatable price of zero dollars. That’s a big plus. And unlike most platforms, the entire core feature set is free. The paid version just gives you a couple of time saving features by removing ads and allowing you to take tests to jump ahead in the content. Paid also let’s you download lessons, but that doesn’t seem like such an issue considering the availability of mobile networks and data these days.

Learning Efficiency

2.5/5

Price

4.5/5

Ease of Use

4.5/5

Amount of content

3/5

Other platforms you should consider:

New Pimsleur Logo 125x125button

  • Pimsleur Method – Most highly recommended for a systematic, listening and speaking focused program backed by a scientific approach

  • Rocketlanguages – For a systematic, wholistic course for begginner to intermediate students.

Other platforms you should consider:

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

  • Memrise – for a duolingo style app built around videos of real native speakers

 

Any of the above can work well either instead of used together with Duolingo for Japanese.

Other platforms we think you should consider:

    • Japanese Pod 101 – for greater amount of content, listening and speaking practice
    • Rocketlanguages – For a systematic, wholistic course
    • Pimsleur – for a focus on listening and speaking backed by a scientific approach
    • Memrise – for a duolingo style app built around videos of real native speakers

Any of the above can work well either instead of used together with Duolingo for Japanese.

How Does Duolingo Japanese Work? 

      • Duolingo works by getting you translate to short fragments of language, mostly by arraning tiles on screen. It is designed as a tactile, mobile app experience. Even if you use it on a PC, it looks and feels like a big mobile screen.
      • The app gives you lesson based around different themes such as “Hobbies” or “Food” or “Restaurant”.
      • For Japanese it starts you about with learning the two basic non-Chinese Character scripts – Katakana and Hiragana
      • Duolingo works by getting you to translate short fragments of language, mostly by arraning tiles on a screen. It is designed as a tactile, mobile app experience. Even if you use it on a PC, it looks and feels like a big mobile screen.
          • The app gives you lesson based around different themes such as “Hobbies” or “Food” or “Restaurant”.
          •  For Japanese it starts you about with learning the two basic non-Chinese Character scripts – Katakana and Hiragana

Things we like about Duolingo for Japanese

    • Gamification. Duolingo does a great job of rewarding you with badges, putting you into leaderboards and rewarding you with cute little animations along the way. I found connecting up with friends and family through the app was great for motivation – everyone can see how many experience points everyone else has gotten up to. 
    • Huge community of users, means that you can easily benchmark yourself against other people on leaderboards, read other people’s comments and get help.
    • Lots of content with sound recordings. Mostly these sound pretty good, but sometimes they can sound a bit “computer-generated”, like the words have been cut up and put back together artificially.
    • Introduces Katakana and Hiragana early, so you are learning in Japanese script from the start
    • Helpful for practicing Japanese particles.
    • Slick design. Duolingo is clean and cute. It’s a fun “space” to learn in.
    • Offers plenty of repition, which adepts itself to how you are going with your learning.
    • We found Duolingo helpful for working on particles such as は and をbecause it gives you instant feedback.

Things we don’t like about Duolingo for Japanese

    • Duolingo tends to be fairly “passive” in that you are usually choosing words from a predetermined list, rearranging existing tiles. You tend to learn in a fairly superficial way. This means words you think you “know” tend not to come to you in real life situations when you actually need them.
    • Not much focus on speaking or getting you to repeat back what you have learned. Language tends to stick a lot more when you actually produce it yourself. Your brain is forced to create language. This is what happens in real life. Duolingo doesn’t really help much with this.
    • You can’t use Duolingo while you are doing other things, which limits the time you can devote to using it.
    • Duolingo doesn’t give you much in the way of Mnemonics to help you remember anything. When I learnt Hiragana and Katakana back in the day, my teacher created pictures out of the letters to help us remember them easily. Duolingo just throws the letters at you over and over to get you to learn by rote repetition.
    • Doesn’t give you a structured review of everything you have learned. Everything is structured around themes, which is fine, but there is no easy way to do just general revision of everything across themes. There are no quizes in the free version to test yourself either.

    • Recordings don’t always sound natural, and can sound “cut up”. Often, it’s as if the words and phrases have been put together, surprise surpirse, by a computer. Vocabulary in spoken speech in any language changes slightly in relation to other words around it, so duolingo doesn’t always sound like a real person.
    • Doesn’t do a great job of placing you according to your current language level – I found the content it Duolingo tried to feed me was far below where I was at, and the app didn’t offer me a way to jump ahead, even in the paid version.
    • Lessons are slightly too long. I often use duolingo on the train. I often find that I reach the end of a lesson with, say, a couple of stops to until my destination. I start a new lesson and get about half way through before having to put my phone away. Invariably, when I come back to the app, it has forgotten my progress and I need to start again. I find I have less problems with similar apps, such as Memrise, which have shorter lessons that you can complete in very bite-sized chunks.

Summary

Duolingo is a great tool to have in your suite of language learning kit. But it can really only get you so far.

If you really want to get serious about your Japanese learning you will want to take a look at some of these options:

  • Japanese Pod 101 – for greater amount of content, listening and speaking practice
  • Rocketlanguages – For a systematic, wholistic course
  • Pimsleur – for a focus on listening and speaking backed by a scientific approach
  • Memrise – for a duolingo style app built around videos of real native speakers
Japanoscope is a member of affiliate programs for some of the products it recommends. Japanoscope receives a commission when these products are purchased from a referral from this site.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

I take an in depth look at the Rocket Japanese platform, 2021 edition, in depth and outline what I like, what I don’t like and what some of the alternatives are.

Read More »

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.