I registered Busuu for Japanese. That is, I paid money for it.

It has a big claim in that it’s going to get you, not fluent in Japanese, but to a point where you can survive and speak some basic sentences if you are suddenly strapped into a parachute and dropped into Tokyo.

And how does it do this?

First of all, though, let me say that some languages in Busuu have placement tests. So if you have some experience already, it tests you, and then starts off at a higher level. Japanese doesn’t have this feature, so everyone starts off at lesson 1.

I’m not too proud to admit that the first lesson in Genki I was a long time ago, and reviewing is always good, so starting from the basics isn’t terrible.

Almost all the lessons are multiple choice. There is a writing/speaking exercise at the end of some lessons, and you hope a native Japanese speaker sees or hears you, and corrects you.

It also has a fluency meter, which uses some kind of internal math to let you know how fluent you are. I am proudly at 23% right now, but I’m sure I can do better.

But how it introduces grammar is weird. Maybe I’m missing something obvious in the app, but there’s no explanation given. I just got to て form of verbs, and they just dive right in and give you sentences to memorize and make a multiple choice on. And they don’t call it て form, they call it “Grammar – Present Continuous”. Which it is. But. Come on.

How do I make this form with verbs they haven’t discussed yet? What are the rules? I dunno. Just pray you never have to use a verb outside of the ones they use in the lesson, I guess.

Oh, but what’s this? You can easily book a tutor through them at low, low, prices! So you’re admitting your app doesn’t so it all?

As a beginner app, I can’t recommend this for Japanese. Too many gaps that they probably expect you to fill in by booking a teacher through them. As a review app, it’s ok. But I think there are better ones out there.

I wonder if I’ll get a medal at 100% fluency?

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