Posted in 日本語

There and Back again, A Language Journey.

I admit I have not been very good at keeping goals and I have failed more than once to achieve my language goals. However, I have been in Japan for more than a quarter of a year now and I have already gotten the go-ahead to stay for more than a year, so it’s definitely now or never.

The goal is to finish N2 on December 2018. Get Kanji Kentei certified (as high as I can go) and to be fluent enough to conduct my business and read and talk in Japanese.  The dream has never faded — only the motivation to do so does.

I have all the tools now. (I do think I have too many books). I am in the country of my dreams … and I am now embarking on this monstrous task of fulfilling my dreams within the time limit.  Yep. The clock is ticking.

今の日本語は?

  Right now,  I can pretty much speak conversational Japanese. I can even speak it while drunk. I can express myself. I can explain some stuff in Japanese. I can understand generally what they are talking about and what I need to know. But I really want to fully understand them to speak and read like a native.

I am lucky because I am immersed in the language. I use it daily at work. However, it really takes effort to really learn. I can learn from listening, trying to read and writing my daily diary in Japanese. But I guess anyone who wants to learn a language can say that language learning is not just about words and phrases or grammar. It`s about learning a culture. It`s becoming the language or a person who uses the language.

I also know that my biggest weakness is reading. I love looking at kanji. LOOKING but  I cant read all of them. I think my goal should beto be able to read and write and not to speak. So I need to focus on that part better.

THE MASTERPLAN

So, this is how I plan to do it. I have been studying Japanese seriously for about a year or so without any method (or by experimenting with what works for me) halfway through, I have been losing both focus and motivation to do so.

So I figured, since I am all over the place, I need to streamline my studying to phases.

PHASE 1 : KANJI and VOCAB                            3 months
PHASE 2: GRAMMAR/ READING                     3months

Since I am in Japan and I am exposed, listening has become the easiest part to study.

PHASE 1: KANJI AND VOCAB
Time: 3 Months (May-August 2017)/ 2200 kanji in 3 months
Daily time allotment: at least 1-3 hours a day
Tools: Remembering the Kanji 1. Notebook. Kanji 1000. Kanji Dictionary. Vocab Lists for N4-N3. Kodansha Kanji Learning.
  Memrise/Anki. Daily Log.kindle

I use Heisig RTK system because I like how it is a complete system for at least REMEMBERING the Kanji and how to write it. I have to support it with the Kodansha system for the Japanese meanings (since you dont get to do the complete Japanese meanings until RTKII) . I also have several notebooks for drills and another one for RTK/ Kanji I learn daily.

THe goal is to learn at least 25 kanji a day. Meaning and all. I like how RTK has its own app for flashcards. I can at least review on the go.  What I also do is that I try to read as much as I can in Japanese. Right now, I am reading 君の名は in novel form. I am slow, but its fun and I am getting there.

PHASE 2: GRAMMAR AND READING
Time: 3 Months (Sept-Dec)
Daily time allotment: at least 1-4 hours a day
Tools:  Genki, Sou Matome Books, etc.

I am not there yet, but I am planning that once I learn kanji, i should be able to go through this. Since I know how to speak and listen, I will seriously sit down with the grammar once there.

For now, I am working on PHASE 1 and will update as soon as I can.

 

 

 

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Posted in <3, Japan, JLPT, JLPT N4, 日本語

真剣に日本語を勉強する。The Road to Japanese Fluency

I went to Japan a month ago and it rekindled my spark to be fluent in Japanese. My friends in Japan were all taking the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) which rates the English level skill of the person taking it. They are taking it for work and I were asking me if I had any certification in Japanese Language.

Well… I honestly have to say that I haven’t been officially assessed yet. Aside from a few school assessments that I have gone through which both assessed me as an Intermediate Speaker (about N4-lower N3 level) I do not have the official papers to back up my Japanese Language skills. This made me think.

. I deal with Japanese people daily with the work I do. I can speak ok (in fact most Japanese are impressed by my level of understanding) , but I find that expressing ideas to them has become difficult lately with the language barriers especially once we are talking business. Well, of course we do use English and Japanese but there are things which I cannot clearly explain to them and that they cannot clearly understand. And the other way around.

This made me decide something. I have to get off my lazy ass and check one thing off my bucket list.

I HAVE TO BE FLUENT IN JAPANESE.
I HAVE TO DO IT NOW. Continue reading “真剣に日本語を勉強する。The Road to Japanese Fluency”