You want more spoken practice without having to pay money, or go to Japan, or make friends, or leave your house. You’ve tried contacting people on social networks, but you just want something simple. Press a button and start a conversation.
The Japanese App 斉藤さん (Saito-san) has been gaining steam lately, with over 10,000,000 users, and the ability to do exactly what you want.
Start the app, take on the role of an anonymous 斉藤 (the most common last name in Japan), and press the call button. You are then connected to another random person using the app to have a free phone call to talk about whatever your heart desires.
People use the app simply because they want to talk. And now you can be one of the 斉藤 group.
Why you should use this right now:
1. It’s anonymous and private. You don’t have to give away any identity.
2. It’ll ease up speaking nervousness. You can hang up any time. You don’t have to worry about what to say, as it’s just a start and stop conversation.
3. It’s all Japanese. The other person will have no expectation of you speaking English.
4. If you hit it off with your 斉藤, you can become friends through the app. Expand your Japanese network.
5. You can use video and chat features
A few downsides though you should be aware of:
1. There have been some major connectivity issues recently with calls cutting out and errors popping up (it’s nowhere near as good as something like Line or Skype). This needs to be resolved as it can be discouraging to use with these problems.
2. While most people use it for its intended “chat with a stranger” purpose, there are the usual “internet perverts” who find their way to the app. Use your best discretion. Don’t use the video option just to be safe, and never give out personal information.
3. Since it’s random, your experience will significantly vary depending on the luck of the draw.
Start talking today?
I think it’s fun to try. Maybe not a long term solution, but something to test out some speaking with. Have any of you had any experience with this app or similar ones? Thinking of trying it out?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.