Do you really really want to learn how to speak Japanese?
If you do, then forget about formal lessons, software and textbooks. Practice your Japanese on real people. This is the best advice I can give on how to learn Japanese. For people struggling to make progress with their spoken Japanese you need to get out into the real world and speak Japanese as often as you can.
Learning Japanese often feels like climbing a stair case where you take two steps forward and one step back. The two steps forward is the progress you make with text books and formal lessons. The one step back are problems you discover when you try to hold a conversation with a native Japanese speaker. What you need is a Japanese person to help you climb the language staircase.
Learning to speak Japanese and speaking Japanese are two different things. When you study Japanese from a text book that is what you unfortunately learn; text book Japanese. Also, teachers of the Japanese language have a tendency to want to teach text book or formal Japanese. Usually, there is curriculum they have to follow. It is part of their job to meet learning standards. This means they will teach you Japanese that can be easily tested and graded.
When you speak to natives you hear and experience real spoken Japanese. I have learned hundreds of words and expressions by just talking to or being around Japanese. Words and expressions I would never have learned from formal classes or text books. I am not just talking about swear words or slang. I am talking about real everyday language.
Tips On How To Learn Japanese
One of the best ways to learn how to speak Japanese is to speak to native speakers. It can actually be better for you to learn from someone who is not a teacher. Why? Well, teachers tend to explain the language and will want to teach you correct Japanese. You often end up learning something that is very structured. A native speaker will tell you how it is. They won’t be concerned about grammar or your learning abilities. They will give you the best natural answer without worrying if it correct language or not.
Watching and listening to Japanese speak will also help you to understand how Japanese communicate. Text books and audio recordings cannot capture all the idiosyncrasies of spoken Japanese. So even if you are a beginner and know very little Japanese, the best thing for you to do spend time with Japanese.
If you want to learn how to speak Japanese, then I strongly suggest you go out and make some Japanese friends. Try to find Japanese students in your community. Offer to teach English in exchange for informal Japanese lessons. Just hang out with each other. You can save yourself a whole lot of money, frustration and time. You may also meet the love of your life. You never know. It happened to me.