Go to podcast
by Vanessa Villalobos
Japanese London Living

Delete Your Japanese Learning Apps (and What to Do Instead)


When I lived in Japan, it was before the smart phone-era. 

I had a large map of Tochigi city and the whole surrounding area pinned to the wall in my apartment, and I studied the routes to the many elementary and middle schools I needed to visit. Some of them were quite far away by bicycle.

I’d be on my way to school in the morning, zig-zagging gingerly along narrow paths between the rice fields, perched on my mama-chari bicycle, and clutching in my fist a small, damp note for security. On the note had been written neatly, in Japanese (not by me!): ‘Excuse me, I’ve lost my way, where is Chizuka Shogako?’.

If my spoken Japanese was not immediately successful, which was often the case, I could show the innocent victim the note. I’d be pointed in the right direction and off I'd trundle again. I would breathe a deep sigh of relief when the school I’d been sent to as a visiting English teacher finally materialised, hazily, in the shadow of the mountains.

If I’d had a smartphone back then, it would have been SO MUCH easier. I wouldn’t have had to attempt to memorise my route from a map. I wouldn’t have even needed to ask directions. Or, if I did, I could have had the phone speak the words, instead of me, slowly dying inside of acute embarrassment.

That would have been AMAZING! So, no, I’m not really serious about deleting our incredibly handy Japanese learning and translating apps. We do have the technology, and we should make good use of it. 

BUT, what I am concerned about is the PASSIVITY that the comfort of APPS can create. 

In this episode I will talk about:

  •  Setting your own goals (one that don’t make you bored stiff) 
  • The difference between goals and systems
  • Mark Manson's 'Shit sandwich' analogy
  • Deciding whether you actually want to speak and write in Japanese (spoiler alert: you don’t have to)
  • And a little about the sound of one hand clapping

Hope you find this episode helpful! 

I have defined 6 simple steps to OMOSHIROI learning, which I can’t wait to share with you in this series of podcasts!

Start uncovering your UNIQUE visions, goals and tactics to learn the Japanese that YOU WANT!

To grab a copy of the playbook that accompanies this series, click here:

The OMOSHIROI Method Fill-in-the-Blanks Playbook

Visit JapaneseLondon.com to get more info about learning Japanese, and enjoying a Japan-full life in London.

Vanessa connects learners with 1-1 native speaking Japanese tutors for private lessons and runs the Japanese London Conversation Club.

She also blogs about Japanese living in London, and can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


Episode 4

Season 1

by Vanessa Villalobos