All posts filed under: motivation / daily study

JLPT 2017 second test and beyond

Yesterday was finally the second JLPT test of the year. As I prepared a lot for it, I cannot but give my impressions on the test. Disappointed 😫 To be honest, I went to the test with a decent amount of self-confidence. I was particularly afraid of the grammar part so I worked a lot on it and when the day of the test finally came, I felt ready. But sincerely, I am not even sure to have made a better performance than I did in July. Surprisingly, the grammar part was not at all difficult. Of course, there were some tricky questions but I had the impression that the test was easier than the mock tests I had practised. On the contrary, the vocabulary part was quite difficult to me. But I guess that rather than saying that it was difficult, it’s better to say that I was unlucky. It’s hard to tell which words will come out and I feel that I just run out of luck. The reading part was okay I …

Things I want to do after the JLPT and planning for next year!

These last months have been almost entirely devoted to preparing for N2. I am very happy that I did it because it helped me improve my vocabulary and grammar knowledge with the result that I can read books in Japanese more comfortably now than I could this summer. I also worked a lot on improving my listening skills because the listening part of the test that I took on July (JLPT N2) made me aware that listening was my weak point. But now, I am very glad that all of this is almost over. I don’t plan to study that much this week because I feel that it won’t change anything anymore. Instead, I am more focused on what I will do after the JLPT. I won’t try N1 because I really want to do something else than preparing for a test. I think that sometimes, I just don’t know what to study next and feel like I don’t have any concrete goals. At these moments, deciding to sit the JLPT is a great booster …

Some last listening exercises before the JLPT

The Korean publisher Darakwon has an interesting series to practice the listening part of the JLPT. It is called 新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마. It exists for every level, but N4 and N5 are grouped in the same series. I only have the N2 book for listening, which is called: 新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마 -N2 대비-, this is the book I will present in this post. Two weeks before the JLPT, I am mainly revising grammar points and doing practice tests. Even if the grammar is my weakest point, I am most worried about the listening part. I think that, concerning grammar and vocabulary, I will either know the answer or not. It’s more about knowledge than performance. But to me, listening is all about performance. There are almost no unknown words in the listening scripts of N2 to me, but sometimes, or even often, I just don’t recognise things that I know. As a consequence, I feel like I need to do some extra practice concerning the listening part. This is where the Darakwon …

Daily Japanese Study: JLPT N2, third month recap

October is almost over, and I have hoped that I would be left with only revisions to do (no new words or grammar) for the last month of preparation for JLPT N2. Well, I am more or less where I wanted to be. Let’s turn back on what happened in October. Note: I started working in August to try myself at JLPT N2 in December. I have already written a post about how I have been doing in August and September. Vocabulary I am working with the Shin Kanzen Master series. The vocabulary book is very smartly designed. The first lessons that I have completed at the end of September introduced a lot of vocabulary. The following part that I am still studying right now comes back on known words to deepen our understanding of their usage. Some of these lessons have been a lightning of comprehension in the midst of confusion. Especially concerning synonyms. I struggled a lot to differentiate similar words and adverbs. The Shin Kanzen book offers exactly what I needed. Moreover, I …

Daily Study: Listening to Okinawa radio

This weekend, I went to a Japanese restaurant where you could hear the radio of Okinawa. Back home, I checked their website, and they have several programs accessible in streaming. I have always considered the radio to be one of the best ways to improve one’s listening skills. People tend to speak at a natural speed and use expressions they would use in everyday life. I often listen to audiobooks too, but the reading speed of the speaker is much slower than real life conversation. Even if I can understand some audiobooks, I am totally lost when it comes to radio programs or Japanese people talking to each other. If you take a look at the radio of Okinawa and go to the “streaming” page, try the first program “ゴールデンアワー”. They speak so fast!! 😮 Compared to the slow and peaceful stream of an audiobook… I take it as a challenge and a way to get out of my comfort zone in the hope that I will get better at listening to Japanese. I like the …

Motivation: don’t pass N2 in 4 months and be enthusiastic!

I am preparing the JLPT N2, and I think that I might have put myself too much into it. I met several Korean students who passed N1 and even a girl who got a full mark at the section “language knowledge” of N1 😳 I also saw that some Koreans can pass N2 in 4 months (beginning from nothing) and it made me reflect upon level and enthusiasm and how one is so much more important than the other. Don’t pass N2 in 4 months Last week, I came across this advertisement for an institute in Seoul (Japanese sisa) that offers a course to pass N2 in 4 months. (I roughly translated it) As you can see, the course aims at complete beginners and promises that you will get N2 in only 4 months. The line that I translated in light blue indicates clearly that the purpose of this course is to add a line to your resume. If you can study like Koreans do, it is maybe possible to pass N2 in 4 months, but …

Motivation: Find something that exists only in Japanese

Among the usual advice given to language learners is the idea that one should pursue one’s field of interest in the target language. For example, if you like history, try to read history books in Japanese, if you like cooking, try this Japanese recipe, and so on. I am following this advice, of course, but even if it makes the learning process more enjoyable, it does not prevent me to feel demotivated from time to time. For example, I am interested in Japanese modern history. What I can do is buy a History book for children with illustrations and try to read it. If I want to learn more about a historical event, I can try to understand the Wikipedia page in Japanese. But to be honest, I think I would finally give up and read what I want to know in English. This kind of method always leaves me with a demotivation phase after the euphoria of the first days. I think that there are two reasons for this: either I don’t really want to understand the content of …

I don’t make any progress 😕

When learning a foreign language, it is easy to get demotivated and give up, especially when one is self-studying. One of the most common causes of demotivation is the belief that we don’t make any progress. I think that there are two reasons why language learners can have this feeling: if you don’t study, you are not making measurable progress if progress means “getting closer to an unreachable goal”, the journey will last forever. These are some ideas to stay motivated when you feel like you are treading water. First of all: are you studying? Before lamenting that your Japanese is not improving and so on, ask yourself if you are really studying. Sometimes, I think “I am fed up with studying because I don’t make any progress anyway”, when the truth is, that I am not making progress because I am not studying. I wish that I could become fluent by just watching films and reading books but, even if it does help improving one’s reading and listening skills, it’s not enough to take …

Notes on the JLPT

I took the first JLPT of the year (2017) on July, 2nd. It’s been almost a year now since I’ve started learning Japanese (with some previous knowledge of kanji thanks to Chinese that I learned years ago) and I have decided to challenge myself with the N2 level. I don’t really care about succeeding or failing at the JLPT so I thought that a higher level would be more attractive and encouraging. Here are some personal thoughts about this session. The N2 session is divided in two. The first half contains the vocabulary, the grammar and the reading part. The second half is only the listening part. Vocabulary I think that the vocabulary part is a straightforward one that does not require a lot of thinking and time: either you know the word, its kanji, its pronunciation and how it is used, either you pick an answer randomly. You really can’t afford to lose time for the vocabulary. I wasn’t good at this section, and there are two reasons, I think: Not enough words First, …