So I took the JLPT test for the first time ever and it was N4.
And until just a half hour ago, I was afraid I would have failed this exam since I probably fucked up a big time here.
Once the results were published online (at 3 fucking AM), my heart was pounding like crazy. [rm]
So I filled in my details to reveal all the information (my head hurts, that's why I'm still awake) and...PASSED!
The first exam I passed in years, so I'm not as much of a bogan head as I thought I was when it came to taking exams.
And this also gave me a green light to do exams like Unity certification and IELTS (for UK English, am I right?).
I already decided to do JLPT N2, so that doesn't count.
But I think the results reflect the difficulty of the exam perfectly; vocabulary and Kanji were easy, grammar was difficult, reading was boring, and listening was OK.
All with all, taking the exam was definitely worth it and I can't wait until the N2 exam in December of this year, as well as Unity and IELTS whenever they come available around here.
While I still don't have my results yet, I fear I may have fucked up JLPT N4 a big time.
It was much harder than expected, and I may have started learning way too late (a few weeks turned out insufficient after all).
But it doesn't matter, N4 is useless any way.
Now my focus lies on N2. [rm]
I couldn't initially decide whether I wanted to do N3, N2, or none at all, but now I figured it out: it'll be N2.
The main reason is, I want to try convincing my family to study at the HAL university in Japan, which requires foreign students to have passed JLPT N2.
If not, I want to try getting a job there, which also requires N2.
Thanks to the fact I did N4 (passed or failed), it still gave me a basic idea on how much I have underestimated this exam, so now my study approach will be different.
I have just bought myself some Sou Matome N2 books (I was recommended that one from all possible sides, so I gave it a try), I made a tight schedule for the next 8 weeks (gradually adding sections as I progress), and then I'll continue practising with real world stuff like light novels and YouTube videos.
In the mean time, I'll get some Italki sessions, but it won't be much since I'm low on budget right now.
During the 8 weeks, I'll gradually add sections to my daily drills.
For example: vocabulary and Kanji books take 8 weeks to complete, while reading comprehension takes 6 weeks.
So I start the first 2 weeks with just vocabulary and Kanji, then I'll add reading in week 3.
That way I'll complete all 5 books at the same time, and I won't start off with too many things. Win win!
But that's just part of the trouble, I'll naturally make flash cards to boost my memory based on the notes I create during my core study time.
8 weeks later, I'll switch to light novels and videos, so I remain in this loop even after I complete everything.
Yes yes, I am going to take the JLPT N4 test this Sunday.
I have practised a lot and my only remaining problem would be reading.
Not because I can't read, but simply because it's some truly boring shit. [rm]
Lol, why N4? Weren't you anything better than that?
It's my first time taking a JLPT test AND the first time taking an official exam at all (besides my driving lessons exams).
Therefore, I first want to try it out safely and thus I chose N4 (because N5 would be way too easy, I want a challenge too ey!).
What do you want to get out of it?
I want to see how well I perform, nothing else.
N4 doesn't guarantee you any job any way, so I'll wait for that one until I'm ready for N2.
How have you been preparing?
I have a really awesome online teacher, he helped me a lot in the last 3 months.
This week I started to put myself to extra pressure by studying JLPT material I found online.
Any future plans?
As I said, I want to reach N2, but that'll probably take a while.
I will do N3 in December if University of Leiden will be holding it then.
If not, then I'll probably skip all the way to N2 in July next year.
I'm also planning to get certifications for the English language (read: not sure which test I should take) and the Unity certification.
After that, I think I'll be satisfied.
A lot of beginners confuse ""aru"" and ""iru"" (or ""arimasu"" and ""imasu"") a lot.
In this post I'll try to explain all of this. [rm]
One thing is clear about these 2 words: both mean either ""to exist"" or ""to have"".
On the side note, don't confuse it with ""motsu""（持つ）/ ""mochimasu""（持ちます）, which also means ""to have"", but more in the sense of holding something.
To get you to understand the difference, you can check out this image:
Aru / Arimasu
Aru is meant for non-moving objects.
Think of trees (木がある), computers (パソコンがある) or even sheets of paper (手紙がある).
Iru / Imasu
Iru is meant for animating objects.
Examples include humans (人間がいる) andn animals (動物がいる).
So if it doesn't move, use ""aru"".
If it does, use ""iru"".
Let's be honest, I don't love anime. I like anime.
I don't love manga. I like manga.
I don't love games. .....well, maybe a bit?
But why are so many learners of Japanese giving up so soon?
More about it in this post. [rm]
I was told by nearly all polyglots that interest in the culture and passion in the language is key for learning a language.
A lot of kotaku's meet both requirements, and yet they give up soon.
So tell me Blave, why are so many people quitting nonetheless?
To answer that, let's take a look at the following boring meme-ish but accurate pie chart:
As you can see, they do have an interest in the culture AND passion in the language, but only for one single aspect.
Japanese is both linguistically and culturally so much more than just anime, something most people aren't aware of.
I started my journey to learn Japanese because I started importing video games from Japan in 2008.
Just like all the others, I had no idea how Japan really was like.
But once I grabbed my first (digital) textbook ""Human Japanese"", I was actually impressed to read all those cultural notes.
The more I went through it, the more passionate I became about the real Japan.
This real passion was the passion those polyglots were talking about, the Japan as you will see in real life. Not the Japan as seen in anime.
Over the years, I realised I was making very slow progress.
But passion was no problem, so was interest.
The problem was the tool set.
All I had until 2015 was this textbook, which was insufficient and got boring quick.
Since 2015 I started learning from native speakers over Skype and I found tools like Memrise, JapanesePod101, WaniKani, iKnow and Renshuu.
As well as YouTube videos in Japanese.
Since then my learning got an enormous boost.
This tool set is something many people don't think of and instead just hook up to anime with subtitles and hope they'll learn something.
It's not only wrong tool set, it's wrong mind set too.
So in short: people are typically too unaware of the real Japan and once they become more aware, they usually quit really soon.
That's why so many people want to learn Japanese but fail.
And that's why it got unnecessarily the label ""hardest language to learn for a westener"".
Because languages aren't hard because of a label, they're hard because of your overall motivation.