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 DO IT NOW. Continue reading “真剣に日本語を勉強する。The Road to Japanese Fluency”

Posted in 2014, geekery, Japan, JLPT

[日本語勉強] 3: When Babbling becomes Understanding

Fujiwara Yuuki of THIA
Fujiwara Yuuki of THIA

I used to stare at pages like these in magazines I have bought throughout the years.  I would try to make sense out of it and rely on the understandng of Translations from online sources. It was good enough for me. I relied on Google Translate, Babelfish, Excite Translate and a bazillion of other references. And I did pretty well, with my good grasp of the English Language and some knowledge of Japanese, I tried my best to make sense of things on my own.

I thought that was fine.

Until I learned how to read Kanji by myself.  Imagine my joy when I stared at the characters I was staring at for a long time and words and images form in my head. Imagine the feeling of finally being able to grasp the kana and kanji together.  I was more than ecstatic. It was better than an orgasm. (SorryXD) I felt like I have achieved something from hours and hours of drilling which I thought went nowhere. But, my head has finally processed the information and I could actually read about 70% of that page.

The rest, I figured out with Yomiwa app, which defines the kanji for me when I write it on my iPhone.

Now, I am a step into my dream of fluency.

Also, I almost cried the other day when I listened to a song and for the first time understand the full gist of it, along with the emotions and all the nuances. >.> I did what I do to ENGLISH songs and Filipino songs, which was amazing. Its not just blabber and music. I don’t listen to it just because I like how it sounds.

tumblr_n1tz4k0g1D1slurmmo2_1280I listen and understand

This is a videotaped radio show by THIA ( a group that I am into) and I started writing down on evernote what they were saying. I had to play and repeat several times but I really got it this time.

I used to do this before, but I feel that now, with this new grasp I have I could understand better.

I laugh out loud now at things I actually understand from the get go. I dont just stare at Mio’s face (OK, I still do, but yeah… I actually understand what he’s saying). I am so happy!

I know I have a long way to go, but I will do this. This makes me more encouraged to learn and to go forward.

And.. at least I get my fangirl fix. hehe


Posted in <3, geekery, JLPT

[日本語勉強] 1: A Step into Fluency

Kanji KanjiIt’s been a couple of months since I started learning Japanese and I thought it would actually be nice if I started recording my journey into fluency. I am studying in ENLI for two days a week and everyday I  torture study cram Kanji in my head to learn how to read faster.

My current level is such: I am an Elementary Learner (or my teacher even said Advanced Elementary). They want me to skip N5 entirely and go with N4 or challenge myself to N3. I have  a year to go — and a long way to learn so here is me trying to do it.

I can recognize about 500 kanji now more or less. Though reading them in tandem can sometimes be difficult because of the onyomi and kunyomi. But I know the meanings more or less. I am studying radicals, I can actually read tweets without much help sometimes and can easily translate blogs  of my favorite artists. I am trying daily to get faster and better.

With Conversation and Comprehension, I can more or less watch Dramas raw now. I dont get super technical terms but I can understand most things — and it makes me swell with pride once I try to talk to friends, c0-learners and they tell me that I really can keep up with them now.

But, there is still a long road ahead to fluency.  I have a lot of things to learn. Vocabulary is especially hard. Its like cramming a full dictionary inside your head. 2000 kanji for common use (Joyo) and lets not talk about the grammar.  Yet, I’ll move towards fluency. Its a dream I want to achieve — at least that.. I know I can do.

Ganbare atashi! Yume no tame ni…

Posted in 2014, Japan, JLPT

JLPT Adventure: February update

So it’s not so easy. cramming kanji in my head can be addicting as well as exhausting. I have been wondering why I feel so sleepy all the time lately and I think I found the reason why. I can’t stop studying. I feel that if I lose my step now, I will lose all motivation — BUT, on the contrary, I feel so exhausted.

I am averaging 20-35 kanji a day as opposed to planned 50. At least, I find that there’s progress. I still write on Raito (my journal) daily, making him my writing practice as well as kanji learning diary. I learn new words everyday.. I try to read as much kanji daily (ameblo/ twitter) and I am on page 10 of a book called puppy (ko inu) on wakaru. I am learning I think.

My professor also started to let me write on the white board. by which i should really get my whiteboard and study there. ( I have so much paper wasted!) I got most of the kanji, and realized though I can read it, I need to remember how to write it. I began learning radicals – i think breaking it down IS the best way to learn it.

So far, I know at least 300++ kanji. I can recognize their sounds — but reading takes time.

Downloaded a bunch of stuff for Japanese learning too. I hope I can utilize them all.

And I do need to take a breather sometime. TO SLEEP.

I still watch dramas raw. ( I think my listening comprehension tops my reading and writing by miles). I’m into Lost Days, Dr. DMAT and Shitsuren Chocolatier lately. And I still attempt to translate tweets and blogs.

Learning Japanese is a full time thing. I have 298 days to go. ANd I haven’t decided whether to take N4 or N3 yet.  My teacher says to definitely skip N5. But, somehow, I don’t know. I just want to advance.

Though it is exhausting, I think… I am stepping towards my goal.
Now, if only I can be this disciplined with food too. Then, everything will be perfect.



by the way, did I mention it’s my birthday tomorrow?