So, I use HelloTalk, and sometimes I use it to actually talk with people.
Last night I tried a conversation with a long time language partner. We were both equally clumsy in our studied languages, although I think I was a bit more clumsy.
But it was interesting. I figured out something from context and responded, and some of my sentences were spoken without me thinking in English first.
What I found lacking from most formal Japanese classes was speaking and listening training. Sure, you did the exercises in the book and played around with the questions and answers a bit, but it wasn’t like a normal everyday, lengthy, conversation.
Maybe I will check out Aitas this year and do a set course there. And there’s always HelloTalk and language meetups. Ten thousand more years of study, and I will be close to fluent.