Learning and Speaking Japanese in Second Life

こんにちは、みなさん。 I’ve shared the info about this free virtual online Japanese class on WaniKani first because I’ve only joined Bunpro much later. Thought that maybe this would interest some people here who wants to practice Speaking Japanese too. So from here on, it’s just a copy pasted post from there.

I’m currently in the middle of learning Beginner Japanese via Genki 1 Textbook Second Edition on a virtual platform called Second Life. Every Saturday 10pm JST (5am PST) / (6am PDT) depending on Daylight Saving Time, Yoshi Sensei, a native Japanese volunteer guides us through the textbook, with light homework / revisions to discuss the next Saturday.

TL;DR

If you’re interested, I highly suggest making a Second Life account pronto, to later take your time exploring other parts of Second Life and getting used to the controls. And then after 2 weeks, you’ll be able to enter Nihongo Tea Room without the confusion of how to sit down on the tatami mat, how to zoom in to the whiteboard or how to make voice chat working in there.

However, if a less-structured Japanese speaking exercise might interest you more, every Friday 10.30pm JST (5:30am PST / 6:30am PDT) there is a weekly Shiritori event, but in a form of Japanese and English Language Exchange. This activity has the most Japanese native speakers due to the them wanting to brush up their English, whereas the Saturday class has only one or two native Japanese to teach the rest of us Japanese learners.

In Nihongo Tea Room, we’re encouraged to speak mostly in Japanese to each other and the relaxed atmosphere makes it feel like we’re at home, rather than in a classroom. In fact, they rather not call it a school because the setting is more casual. I was astonished that they don’t charge at all, where locally (Malaysia) it would be hard to find such an interesting Japanese learning experience, especially with a native Japanese teacher too.

So far we have classmates from America, Australia, France and Poland. This also makes it an interesting place to learn about other cultures from different countries while speaking Japanese.

For the Genki Textbook, we’re in Lesson 12 now, so if anyone don’t mind jumping in midway into the lesson, as well as going through the learning curve of using Second Life as a virtual platform, you’re more than welcome to join us. And don’t be taken aback by the Lesson 12 mark because it’s still within the N5 grammar and vocabulary.

Once you are in Second Life, search for ‘Nihongo Tea Room’ and you will see a Teleporter to the place we have our events every week. If everything still seems too confusing, feel free to IM me in Second Life (my account name is Haruka Flores) and I’ll do my best to help explain things in more detail. Below are snapshots from some of our sessions (photo credit to Nihongo Tea Room founder Mystie-san).

Important Note: Nihongo Tea Room has security set to kick newbies (mainly to avoid trolls). Admins would have to manually add a person if their Second Life account is younger than 2 weeks old. So if you’re new to Second Life, please send me an IM before coming by, and then I will inform Mystie-san so that she can add you in a safe list. Looking forward to welcoming you to our Japanese learning community.

よろしくお願いします。




What I think of Second Life

I was sparked to share about the free lessons I have been attending in Second Life since early 2020 when I saw people sharing other Genki study groups to supplement their Kanji learning in WaniKani.

To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even post what I have written. This is because unlike Discord and other similar interactive / chat platforms that are easier to use, Second Life has a steep learning curve because it is an older virtual world, compared to the newer ones like VR Chat etc. Second Life can be quite clunky if you have a lower spec computer and it’s very confusing for many newcomers. I remember when I was new in Second Life 12 years ago, it took me a couple of months before being able to navigate around with relative ease. Thankfully, computers have gotten more efficient since then and Second Life has improved their user-friendliness a tad bit.

With the lockdown happening in many countries, I think people might be looking for ways to have an interactive learning experience, especially as most have to stay at home. I thought maybe they could give Second Life a try since it is immersive while being able to maintain anonymity using 3D avatars, unlike when using Zoom or other video chat.

Another additional reason is because Second Life has quite a poor reputation thanks to the trolls, and like in real life, for its ‘oldest profession in-world’, if you catch my drift. Constructive activities such as classes, creative outlets, panel discussions and so on, are becoming more of a shadow, or hidden gems. Despite all that, the Japanese friends that I knew there are volunteering to teach Japanese for free during their spare time. I just wish more people could come and support their effort and dedication while benefiting from them at the same time.

I also think Second Life is a bit of an old tech that I personally think should have died a long time ago, lol. I’m just going to post this once (with Edits from time to time, in case there’s major updates) because it’s currently an existing Japanese study group I’m attending regularly every weekend, but I’m more in support of similar study groups being done in contemporary virtual platforms like VR Chat in the near future.

14 Likes

And here I thought this was about a language-oriented isekai.

4 Likes

I don’t blame you for thinking so, especially with such a name for an online virtual world :sweat_smile: I think you’re not the only one too, unless if I titled my post badly.

Meanwhile, I think VRChat has a much better name for a virtual platform and straight to the point.

1 Like

When you talk about speaking in Japanese, do you mean actually speaking with microphones or are you typing to each other?

2 Likes

Yes, I meant actually speaking in Japanese using microphones and at the same time listening through one’s headphones or earpieces. Most of our lessons are through Voice Chat while using our 3D avatars.

Sometimes Yoshi Sensei will ask us to type something in Japanese, depending on the need of the lessons or if a word/sentence needs to be explained, but I think that happens only about 10% of the time. More often, he’s the one doing the typing to explain something in more detail.

Personally, I wrote most of the homework in an exercise book and discuss the answers the following week because I want to practice my Japanese writing too. But one of our Australian classmates who seems much better at spoken Japanese probably just answered straight without writing things down.

So it’s really up to ourselves how deep or how easy one wants to go with the Japanese learning. I’ve never shown Sensei my handwriting because I still think it has a long way to go. Maybe someday when I think I’m good enough, I’ll write him a New Year’s card or a Thank You note as a surprise :grin:

3 Likes

Holy carp! I didn’t even know SL was still going. This is interesting indeed.

2 Likes

As someone whose been spending most of their time in Second Life for the past 8 or so years (Mostly to make some side cash these days), I have considered at various times connecting with the japanese community in the game. I had a friend that did such a thing for a while which inspired the idea in me. I have yet to act on it. Interesting to know there’s classes and stuff going on too. I need to get off my butt one of these days.

And yeah, the game’s still going and still getting updates. They recently started moving to cloud servers.

1 Like

Plan to explore more Japanese sims as well when I get better with the lessons in Nihongo Tea Room. Haven’t gotten that good yet in composing proper sentences when speaking Japanese.

Would love to see you around one of these days, unless the time differences isn’t that great for you. If you’re shy, you can just drop by and observe first before slowly taking part in the conversations / lessons.

However, noticing that your Levels in Bunpro is more advanced, so I don’t think you’ll have much problem catching up compared to a beginner like me :+1:

1 Like