JLPT D-2 Do some physical activity

I said in my post on JLPT D-3 that the dice were cast. Well, it’s not entirely true. Concerning the vocabulary and grammar part, I indeed think that you won’t change your result with some last minute exhausting cramming. Vocabulary and grammar are only a matter of what you know. But the reading part and the listening part are a matter of what you know + your capacity to concentrate. This means that, for those parts, your performance on the day of the test is almost as important as your knowledge. It is no use to know 6000 words if you can’t concentrate on what you are reading. When I study the reading part, I sometimes can’t figure out what the text is about, it just doesn’t make sense, even if I know almost all the words of the text. That’s just because I am not concentrating on the text, either because I am tired or because I keep thinking of the remaining time and try to read as quickly as possible. Same for listening. I let my mind fly away and all of the sudden I realise that I wasn’t listening at all! But there is no second chance as the audio is played only once.

That’s why I recommend to practice some sport, or even just go for a walk, take some fresh air, eat well and sleep well!

JLPT D-5 Mock test!

Maybe it’s time to do this last mock test you have been preciously keeping until now! Do it in real exam conditions, with a timer and a good working space (if you have a walking furry thing at home, make sure you neutralize it with a good, sporty playing session and its favourite snack, before starting the test).

You have to play the game and stop answering when the timer is out. By simulating real exam conditions, you can see where you are too slow and keep that in mind the day of the test.


From page 215 to 221.

This is a very short and easy part. Here are some words useful to understand it!

  • 芯・しん pencil lead
  • 妥当・だとう valid, proper, right, appropriate
  • モグラ叩き・もぐらたたき Whac-A-Mole game.
  • 施錠・せじょう locking
  • 狙い・ねらい aim
  • 釈然・しゃくぜん fully satisfied
  • 表札・ひょうさつ nameplate, doorplate
  • とりとめのない vague, rambling, whimsical
  • 愚痴・ぐち idle complaint, grumble
  • あやふや uncertain, vague, ambiguous
  • 見抜く・みぬく to see through

JLPT D-6 Do some listening practice

Even some days before the exam, you still can practice your listening skill. I personally recommend to listen again to the audio of your JLPT textbook and try to understand every thing that is said. Check with the script to see what you didn’t understand and why you didn’t understand it.

You can even make a dictation exercise. It is very useful to know exactly what you understand and what you don’t understand. When I just listen to the audio, I have the feeling that I understand the overall meaning and I move to the next track. But when I do a dictation exercise, I realize that there was a lot of little details I didn’t understand. Those details are not essential to answer the JLPT question correctly but working on the difficult parts is what makes you better.

JLPT D-8: do what can still be done

What can still be done a week before the JPLT… Instead of memorizing new grammar or words, I think that doing drills is the best thing one can do. It is a way to study again the grammar and expressions already learned and getting more familiar with the tricky questions of the JLPT. It works well for the grammar part, seeing again and again similar pattern helps memorizing the grammar you don’t usually use.

And don’t let your cat discourage you!

Review: 日本語パワードリル N2 文字・語彙

516sAZtye0L._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_This is a review for the workbook 「日本語パワードリル N2 文字・語彙」from the publisher Ask Publishing. It is the same publisher of the series So-Matome for the preparation of JLPT. As I love this series, I decided to also buy this exercise book.

There is also the same kind of drill book for the grammar. This review is only about the workbook for vocabulary.

It costs 880 yen.

Book’s presentation


The structure of the book is straightforward. You have 30 sessions. Each session is composed of 6 questions and should be complete in 10 minutes. So you can finish this book pretty quickly.

Every five sessions, you will find a double page of additional exercises called “concentration training”.

What I really appreciate about this book (and it was something I liked in So-Matome series, too), is that it is very straightforward. Every session consists of a double-page. It may seem to be a detail of no importance, but I realised that working on this kind of well-structured books helped me to stay focused. For example, I already worked with drills books where you had 10 pages of drills with no structure at all. I couldn’t possibly do the 10 pages in a row, but I didn’t know where to stop. So I just stopped when I had enough. And sometimes, I didn’t want to go back to something started but not finished, and I could wait several days before picking my drills book again. I couldn’t measure my progress, and I wasn’t working on a regular basis.

With a well-structured book, you just won’t leave a session unfinished, it would make no sense. Each double-page, meaning each session, has a timer (10 minutes) and a score (20 points). It is easy to see if you are making progress or not. And it is easy to plan one’s study, too. For example, you can plan to do a session a day or, if you are preparing for the JLPT, to do 5 sessions every day the last week before the test. Even if you should allot time to the correction, you know that doing a session will take you between 10 and 20 or 30 minutes (depending on how you correct yourself)


Those are typical JLPT questions. Each session is composed of 6 different exercises:

Exercise 1: You have to find the right pronunciation of the underlined kanji word in a sentence. There are 3 questions.

Exercise 2: You have to find the right kanji to an underlined word (written in hiragana) in a sentence. There are 3 questions

Exercise 3: You have to complete a sentence with the right word. There are 4 questions.

Exercise 4: Same as exercise 3, you have to complete a blank space left in a sentence. Contrary to exercise 3 were you add to pick among nouns or verbs, onomatopoeia or adverbs, the exercise 4 is mainly about choosing among one-kanji words. There are 3 questions.

Exercise 5: A sentence is given with an underlined word, and you have to pick the word with the most similar meaning. There are 3 questions.

Exercise 6: A word is given. You have to choose between 4 sentences the one in which the given word is used correctly. There are 2 questions.

Other interesting features

At the beginning, there is a study plan. For each exercise, you can write down the date where you plan to study, the date when you effectively studied it, your score and a memo. The score has to be noted on a scale from 0 to 20, you can colour or mark your progress.

The answers are given at the end of the book in a separate booklet, just like in the So-Matome series. I do not actually use it as a separate booklet, but, I don’t know, I find it cool to have a removable answer booklet.

One inconvenient

The only inconvenient that I see is the absence of explanations. The answer booklet will only tell you which answer is correct but not why. So if you don’t understand why your answer was incorrect, you will have to find the explanation by yourself, and that’s why I think that correcting yourself might take longer than the time needed to do the drills.

One could say that having to search for the explanations and eventually doing research to understand why the answer was wrong, has the advantage that you are more likely to remember the right word next time you encounter it. But still, I would have liked to have more explanations…


I love having a drill book apart from my vocabulary book. Until now, I have studied with manuals where you had first a list of words and then drills that used those words. It was generally not that difficult to guess the answer when, among the 4 possible choices, only one was a word of the studied list.

Apart from studying typical JLPT questions type, this book also allows me to see words in context and more than once I realised that I hadn’t fully understood a word I thought I knew. That’s why i believe that those drills can be a good exercise for any Japanese learner, even if you don’t prepare for the JLPT.

Anyway, I really recommend this book to practice your vocabulary. And if you are cramming for the JLPT it really is a must. It allows to make target revisions and to change from your main JLPT preparatory book.

How I work with this book

This is applicable for any book of drills at any level.

First step

Obviously, I do the exercises. As I think that I might want to do them again later, I don’t write directly on the book, but I use a notebook dedicated to that. I use a whole page, and I write all the answer one under the other on the left side of the page.

10 minutes is usually more than enough to answer the questions, so I use the remaining time to try to answer wisely the questions I (thought I) didn’t know and answered randomly. Almost in every session, I can find questions that puzzled me at first but to which I actually knew the answer. Sometimes, it is something that I had more or less forgotten, and I really need to concentrate on it to find the answer. Sometimes, it is something that I can guess. Either by elimination or by using some reasonable deduction. Anyway, for these questions that I thought I couldn’t answer, all I needed was a little amount of reflexion. I think that I am too lazy and that I prefer telling myself: “mmh, no, I don’t know this one… next!” than reflecting upon it. It is a matter of attitude before intellectual effort, and it can make the difference the day of the test.

Second step

I correct myself with the answer booklet. It takes a few seconds to see where I did wrong and write down the right answer. I also write down my score. It sometimes is humiliating, but it sometimes is encouraging, satisfying or even surprisingly good. In any case, tracking one’s score is the best way to measure one’s progress.

Third step

This is, I think, the most important part of the process. I go once again through the whole double-page to check where I hesitated and where I did wrong.

For the questions where I was sure of myself and right, I just skip them.

For the questions where I hesitated, I try to understand why I was not sure and search for unknown words. For example, if I hesitated between two words, it is generally because they are synonyms. If the dictionary does not help me, I google the words to find their definition in Japanese or how they are used. I write down the results of my investigation in my notebook, in front of the answer.

For the questions where I was wrong, I need to search for the unknown words or expressions. Again, I write them in front of the answer.

Most of the time, this correction does not require too much time, but it does happen that I don’t understand why my answer was wrong. I need to make some research to better understand the words and the colloquial expressions attached to them.

Fourth step

Searching for new words or complementary information for known words is not enough, I will have to remember it. There are two options: either I enter it in my Anki deck (either by creating new cards for new words or by adding information to existing cards), or I re-read the notes of my previous sessions before beginning a new session.


I think that making a session and just check the answers is not enough. The most important thing is to understand one’s mistakes and take the opportunity of the exercise to learn more information about vocabulary and expressions. That’s why I never begin a session unless I have 20 or 30 minutes of spare time before me.


From page 197 to 215.

A new confrontation between Kaga and Yasumasa is taking place! I would even say that it is the more tense and important confrontation until now.

Kaga is the main character of the series but not the main character of this novel. I can perfectly imagine that someone who would read only this novel (and wouldn’t know about the other books of the Kaga series) would find the detective frightening, always there, always seems to know more than he says… From Yasumasa’s point of view Kaga is really annoying and threatening and I think that the reader is supposed to take Yasumasa’s view.

I think that Higashino Keigo is the first author I read whose main detective is only seen through other characters’ eyes. The result is very new and interesting, I wish his novels were more translated.

Anyway, as for the vocabulary:

  • 耳寄り・みみより welcome news
  • 左利き・ひだりきき left hander
  • たまたま unexpectedly, accidentally, by chance
  • 宛て・あて addressed to
  • 昇格・しょうかく raising of status
  • 手順・てじゅん process
  • 掴む・つかむ to seize, to catch, to grasp
  • 千差万別・せんさばんべつ an infinite variety of
  • ニヤニヤ grinning, broad grin
  • 組み立てる・くみたてる to assemble, to set up
  • 読み取る・よみとる to read someone’s mind, to read between the lines
  • 矯正・きょうせい correction, remedy
  • 隠滅・いんめつ destruction, suppression
  • 見落し・みおとし oversight, omission, sth overlooked, thing left unnoticed
  • 胡座をかく・あぐらをかく to sit cross-legged
  • 生憎・あいにく unfortunately
  • 窺う・うかがう to guess, to infer
  • 釈然とする・しゃくぜんとする to be fully satisfied with
  • 首を傾げる・くびをかしげ to be puzzled
  • 配慮・はいりょ consideration, concern
  • 賛同・さんどう approval
  • 盛り上げる・もりあげる to pile up, to bring to a climax
  • 舌打ち・したうち smacking lips, clicking tongue
  • 裁く・さばく to judge
  • 法廷・ほうてい courtroom
  • 委ねる・ゆだねる to entrust, to leave to
  • 目星・めぼし objective, aim, work
  • 赤穂浪士・あこうろうし is a term to designate the 47 rônin who avenged the death of their master. As you can read on the Wikipedia page, some people think that the rônin’s vengeance was not appropriate, because they staged their revenge and planned it carefully for a long time instead of acting just before their master’s death. That’s why, I think, Yasumasa says that what the 赤穂浪士 did was not a revenge but a “performance”.
  • 仏頂面・ぶっちょうづら sour look