Though they started with Korean, the language teaching group Eggbun, has brought forth a Japanese version of their learning app: Eggbun - Chat to Learn Japanese. To put it simply, the app consists of a series of lessons taught in a non-traditional way. Instead of reading them yourself and inputting answers, you are given an initial introduction and then enter a chat with a Japanese teaching robot named Renni. Renni will type to you and you’ll be able to choose multiple choice answers to respond (at least to start).
You’ll be asked questions about Japanese, repeat after audio, and even start typing back in Japanese (the app changes your keyboard for you, and helps teach you how to type, which is pretty darn cool). At the end of each block of lessons you’re presented with a quiz, much in the same style as the material was presented to you. And if you get something wrong, Renni gently asks you to try again.
The difficulty level is meant to slowly increase as you make your way through the program, and the familiar chatting style offers motivation for people who have trouble getting into textbooks and need a more structured Japanese learning environment. The program also goes into basics that many people miss when they start learning Japanese, like the difference between on’yomi and kun’yomi kanji readings.
The formatting and art style of this Japanese learning app is also fantastic. It’s simplistic and cute; something I always look for in my apps. There are a few flaws in the English grammar of the current lessons, though with the app being so new, hopefully they’ll be fixed as time goes on and more content is added (as of this writing, only the introduction, hiragana, and katakana lessons are available). It also costs a subscription fee if you want to progress past the introduction to Japanese, though you might want to wait for more content before you spend any cash.
Other features include: word lists you can quiz yourself on, culture notes about things like tea ceremony and cat culture, and “typing racer,” which is a speed game where you type the Japanese words presented to you as fast as you can. It’s very fun and will show you how much faster you are at texting in English than you are at texting in Japanese.