Month: March 2019

Language diary #7: monthly review

March has been a strange month. I have done my third trip to Japan, and of course, it motivated me a lot. It also slowed down my progression for the JLPT preparation, and it was hard to keep studying the week after my return from Japan. I have been able to find my study rhythm again at the end of the month, and I was finally able to achieve my JLPT goals. My goals for March were: Reading Goals I had no reading goals this month. I was able to finish the books I wanted to read before the trip, and I have started my 2019 reading challenge last week. I am reading 『切り裂きジャックの告白』by Shichiri NAKAYAMA (中山七里), and it is not an easy read. I thought it would be a classic police thriller with a serial killer and police officers who try to catch him. In fact, it is exactly that, but the novel also contains a lot of thoughts and debates on organ donation and transplantation in Japan. I am not usually interested in …

JLPT Journal #7: Reading!

In February, I took a practice test (the one that is available for free of the JLPT website), and I found the reading part to be very difficult. I took the JLPT N2 twice in 2017 and got 60 and 59 points in the reading part. I remember that I didn’t find the texts to be challenging, and I even found some of them interesting. In 2018, I spent the whole year reading Japanese genre fiction, and I naturally thought that my reading level had improved. As a consequence, it was a shock to discover that I could not understand some of the N1 texts. At least, not in a limited time. I read them, more or less understood all the words, but still could not understand what the author meant. I think that there is a huge gap between N2 and N1 when it comes to reading. The N1 texts are much more difficult than any mystery novel I read. To be honest, this practice test discouraged me a little. It was more than …

Language diary #6: Book haul and reading challenge!

I was in Japan last week for a trip in Tokyo, and of course, I took the opportunity to visit several bookshops and buy Japanese books. (This post is long, scroll down to see the list!) Reading Challenge #2 Last year, I set myself a first reading challenge: read all the 13 books I had bought in Japan (in December 2017) before the end of 2018. This meant reading roughly one book per month. This challenge was a success, it got me into the habit of reading Japanese genre fiction regularly and helped me improve my reading pace. This year (2019), I start a similar challenge: read all the 23 books I bought in Japan before December, 31st. As we are already in March, this means reading 2 to 3 novels per month. I think that it is doable, given that I bought mainly detective and mystery novels, a genre that I am used to reading and is not too challenging for me. How I chose my books Usually, I buy my books in Korean …

Book Review: 『誓約』by Gaku YAKUMARU 薬丸岳

Presentation Title: 『誓約』Author: Gaku YAKUMARU 薬丸岳Edited by 幻冬舎文庫 Gaku YAKUMARU is a well-known author of thrillers and mystery novels in Japan. The Korean translation of『誓約』is a huge hit, it was the top-selling novel of the biggest online and offline bookshops of the country. Setting Satoshi MUKAI lives with his wife and daughter and works in the same bar for 15 years. One day, he receives a letter that will bring back an undesired past into his present life… Why I liked it 『誓約』 was a suspenseful page-turner, and if you buy mystery novels or thrillers to get entertained, this novel completely does its job. While I liked the book, I cannot help but feel a little disappointed. I think that I had big expectations due to the novel’s success in Korea, but I found that it was just good, not revolutionary good. First of all, there is nothing really new in this novel, it is a classic story of a man whose life is turned apart by a triggering event. He has to escape and …

JLPT Journal #6: lack of motivation

It is normal to go through phases of lack of motivation, and if you are studying Japanese for some time, you know that your motivation will come back eventually, even if you don’t actively try to restore it. This is what happened to me this last two weeks. I was not as motivated to study for the JLPT, but I knew that it would not last, that I would be on track again in no time. The real problem is not the lack of motivation The problem is not the motivation in itself, but the fact that I will not review or study during this phase. When the motivation comes back, I have to face another problem: reviews left undone, huge Anki, flashcards that I cannot even remembered having written myself. All my study material looks unfamiliar and far away. Every time I set my eyes on them, I think: It’s been a while since I’ve opened this book. I’ve certainly forgotten half of it if not more. What a shame, I was doing well, …

Language diary #5: Monthly review

February is over, and I haven’t been as diligent as I should have been. JLPT first practice test 😭 I think that the JLPT N1 practice test that I took during the second week of February discouraged me a little. It was the JLPT Official Practice Workbook (the one published in 2012). The vocabulary and grammar part was too difficult for me, but it is normal given that I still have several months to prepare. What really discouraged me is the reading part. I found it very hard. Reading detective novels and thrillers is much easier than any of the N1 text! To be honest, I more or less thought that I could take the test without making extra efforts on the reading part, that I already had the required level. But now I think that I will have to read other things than best-selling novels if I want to score a good mark. Another discouraging thing was listening. The listening questions of the practice test are too easy and do not correspond to the real test level. …