We knew it would happen eventually, but not this soon. There is finally a VR game that will teach you how to speak Japanese! Well, sort of. It’s called Mondly VR Languages by the company Mondly. If you haven’t heard of them, they are similar to Duolingo or Memrise: basically a website that aims to teach you any language you want to learn. For those of you lucky enough to have a Gear VR and the appropriate device (Samsung Galaxy S5 + above), you can download Mondly’s new VR app for free. There are only three "lessons" or "scenes" available at the moment and only one is accessible without an account, but there are tons of languages to choose from (28!), including Japanese. The lessons consist of:
- Hello: Say hi, answer questions about your favorite, color, sport, and type of music.
- Restaurant: Order food and drinks.
- Hotel: Talk to a receptionist and pick from different room options.
Nothing is better for your spoken Japanese than actually speaking it.
I played around with a few languages (Japanese, French, Italian, and Russian) and had quite a bit of fun with it. You are required to speak out loud, but you can always listen to what you’re supposed to say first. There are also English translations for everything, if you aren’t sure, and it takes away the fear of saying something stupid in front of a real live person. It is a single-player experience though, so don't expect to turn it on and have an actual person on the other end of the goggles.
While there isn’t much content yet, if you are someone who has access to a Gear VR, it’s definitely worth trying out, or at least keeping an eye on. Nothing is better for your spoken Japanese than actually speaking. And who knows how big this virtual Japanese learning space is going to get!