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The Top 10 of 2012

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Top 10 Japanese Learning Resources of 20122012 was a brighter year all around for a lot of people.  Japan started to get back on its feet after the earthquake and we survived the Mayan prophecy.  JLPT Boot Camp doubled its readership in that time as well.  For 2012, I received over 100,000 visits from 160 countries.  This is just a quick post of all the great articles that caught everyone’s eye this year.

#10 Culture has to be Absorbed

Culture is an amazing thing, it is more than just some special holidays and an interesting custom.  It is a way of thinking and a way of life.  It is a living breathing thing that just can’t be put down in a book or portrayed in pictures.  That’s why I truly believe it is important to go to a country and absorb the culture.  Make the cultural experience personal to you.  In this post, I go over my personal experience with learning about Japanese culture, and how you can truly understand the importance of culture.

Culture has to be absorbed

#9 JLPT N5 Listening Section

The JLPT N5 is the first rung on the JLPT ladder and can sometimes be a bit tricky for those not used to taking tests (like us older post-college learners).  I go over what to expect on the listening section of this first exam as well as some pointers on how to study for the test.  If you are looking to take the N5 this year, be sure to give it a read, so you know what to expect.

JLPT N5 Listening Section

#8 First Reactions to December JLPT 2012 N1

This post was one of the most commented on articles ever on JLPT Boot Camp.  There were tons of comments about the test taking experience from test-takers of all levels and from several different countries.  If you didn’t get a chance to add your experience, I encourage you to take the time to tell me how it went.  I’d love to hear from you.

First Reactions to December JLPT 2012 N1

#7 July JLPT 2012 Results

The results for the July test were not at all surprising to say the least.  I knew I was going to fail, but I wanted to take it anyway to see how far I needed to go.  Overall, the leap between N2 and N1 proved to be not as bad as I thought it was and not as bad as a lot of people expect.  It is quite do-able.  Although I’m not optimistic about passing the exam in 2012, I think I will come close.

July JLPT 2012 Results

#6 First Reactions to the July 2012 N1

The first reaction posts are always some of the most popular articles on the site and this one was no exception.  This July test was the first time for me to take the N1, which proved to be easier than I thought.  It helped me create a new game plan for the December 2012 test, which I hopefully ended up scoring higher on.  It was also good to hear about everyone’s test-taking experiences in the comments.

First Reactions to the July JLPT 2012 N1

#5 December 2011 JLPT Results

I just managed to squeak out a pass on the N2 at the end of 2011.  I go over what helped push me over the edge and get me there. Also, be sure to read the comments, a lot of people added some extra information about how the studied and their future study plans.  If you looking to take the N2 sometime soon, this is the post for you.

December 2011 JLPT Results

#4 The July 2012 Test

The July test is held in Japan as well as some other countries.  It is really a great opportunity to take the exam again, if you didn’t do so well on the December test or want to see your weaknesses before you take the exam in December.  Unfortunately, it is not offered in all areas, so be sure to read up on all the details before the sign up deadlines roll around in March.

The July 2012 JLPT

#3 The Official JLPT N5 Workbook

I know a good portion of you are studying for the JLPT N5, and this workbook is the thing to practice with.  It is pretty much the same size as a real test and it is made of questions from previous JLPTs.  The best part is, it is absolutely free.  I chopped up the audio and added some notes to it to help you get the most out of the workbook, enjoy the free downloads:

The Official JLPT N5 Workbook

#2 The Train Culture of Japan

Trains are a big part of Japan, especially in the urban areas.  Some people spend a good hour or two hours on a train every day to get to work.  They are not only just a way to get to work, but some of the companies that run the trains also have large department stores and even theme parks along their lines.

This article got picked up by a Japanese news outlet that summarized it in Japanese.  Be sure to try to read the Japanese summary and see how much you can understand.

The Train Culture in Japan

#1 The JLPT N2 Practice Test

The N2 seems to be a bit of a speed bump for those studying the language.  It is where you have to really concentrate on improving your language skills (specifically reading and listening) in order to pass.  You can no longer rely on studying only vocabulary and grammar to pass.  The free practice tests put out by the JEES are a good place to start:

The JLPT N2 Practice Test

And if you happen to be studying for a different level of the exam, I have practice tests for those, too:

JLPT N5 Practice Test
JLPT N4 Practice Test
JLPT N3 Practice Test
JLPT N1 Practice Test

What about you?  What was the best part of 2012 for your Japanese studies?  I’d love to hear your opinions about what went right and what went wrong in 2012.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • vivzilla December 29, 2012, 3:04 am

    Congrats on the site progress in 2012. Good luck in 2013.

  • Afoofoo December 29, 2012, 9:29 am

    I’m sure I had many moments in this year, but one I can remember is speaking in Japanese for the first time! When I took the N2, there were 2 brothers taking it with me (that’s it! xD) and their 2 sisters took N1. The more social brother struck up a convo with me in Japanese and I frowned mentally. (speak in English! Speak in Urdu! Why Japanese?) I unconsciously resorted to those casual one-liners (Nai. Suru. Un. Kantan datta. Tomodachi ga iru. Nihonjin no.) but it was such a confidence boost that my accent was bearable! It was so surreal hearing Japanese in real life so I was in a bit of a daze 🙂 Then the inevitable happened, I didn’t catch what he said (I think he asked if I wanted to do something Japan-related in the future) and I was just dying to brush it off and run away haha!

    • Clayton MacKnight January 3, 2013, 4:12 am

      It is a bit strange to use Japanese as a lingua franca. I’m so used to using English when talking to people from other countries.

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