The Road to Fluency

I am nowhere close to fluent in Japanese.

On a good day I can communicate basic needs, but I usually remember all of the right things to say after the conversation has ended. Reading Japanese becomes easier every day, but speaking Japanese is altogether terrifying and different. My brain has a lot of trouble connecting spoken words to the written words I know.

It’s usually an exciting feeling when I realize that the word someone is saying is something that I read every day, though!

That aside, I’m working toward passing the Japanese Language Proficiency exam. I go to a private lesson with a volunteer teacher every week and slowly fill in gaps in my Japanese knowledge. I have been studying kanji diligently for almost an entire year, but I’m doubtful that I will be ready for the exam with my current progress (I took the 2nd level of this exam before).

Currently I use Anki flashcards to study level 2 kanji and vocabulary as well as practice listening.

Does anyone else study Japanese? If anyone has a study trick that they think works brilliantly, please let me know! There are only a few months left before I shell out quite a bit of money for this silly exam.

I predict that, because of the turmoil that’s happened the past several months, I will falter and choose to take the 3rd level instead of the 2nd.

I think it’s important to try my best and give it my all, but I also want to be honest with myself and realize what I am and am not capable of in my current state of mind.


About Jessica

Jessica is an avid writer and artist who dabbles in novel writing and chases pixie dreams on social media. Currently employed as an assistant language teacher in Japan, she mainly blogs about daily life and helpful tips for future residents in the land of the rising sun.

Posted on August 29, 2013, in Japan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Every single day but more on actual experience rather than books or flashcards. I hate taking exams but I do have a plan to take(plan again) this year but I am just to lazy to study.

    Good luck though 🙂

  2. I used to make my own flashcards for Kanji. The commercial ones were too expensive for a student like me, and I figured it is probably better to make them by yourself anyway. One side of the card had the Kanji, stroke order, pronunciation, example vocabulary, the other side had the general meaning of the Kanji, etc. I added Kanji to my stack every few days, dividing them in groups that I practiced every day, every few days, every week, depending on how well I had mastered them.

    At times I mastered 100 or more per month. And, voila, 2 years later I got my JLPT1 certificate 😉

    I would also recommend you to start reading novels in Japanese as soon as possible. Sure, in the beginning you will have to look up every second word in your dictionary and you won’t enjoy it at all. But after some time it will get better and better. Even though it is no substitute for really studying the Kanji, it will help you remember them and it also adds a lot to your vocabulary.

    • I study kanji every day now (well, I stopped when there was so much going on in August, but I’ve started again).

      I will look into buying a Japanese novel and trying my hand at reading. Do you think it’s better to get a book I’ve read in English, or to get one that I’m not familiar with at all?


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