After writing about my experience last month, a few of you mentioned that you rarely studied kanji individually, but instead got used to kanji from reading. I do feel like a lot of the kanji I’ve really made automatic was from reading, doing lots of reading.
I’m going to try something a little different though. Since I already use memrise on a regular basis for reviewing and maintaining lists there, I started thinking about adding lists there that practice kanji in a little easier way.
For me, I think kanji is a little easier to remember when it is grouped together, so I’ve started grouping kanji together for the higher levels of kanji starting with N3. But, I do have plans to build an N5 list soon as well. I’ll be writing up an article soon with more details, so stay tuned for more.
I had been listening to old listening drill CDs (So-Matome and Kanzen Master) for the 1st part of this year, but I got to a point where I had practically memorized all the recordings. So, I wanted to change that up a bit, get some different kinds of listening. And that lead me to take another look at native Japanese podcasts.
My biggest issue with Japanese podcasts is that a lot of them seem to be poorly produced. For example, there are sounds of paper shuffling, and photos being taken (supposedly inside a studio not live). Or, for some reason, they have distracting music running in the background the whole time. I still think podcasting has a way to go in Japan unfortunately.
I did happen to find some nice gems though. One podcast that have been listening to fairly recently is ザ・ボイス (The Voice). It’s a show where they “pick up” 7 news items and they have a commentator discuss it for a few minutes. They mostly go over heavier topics like North Korea, disputes with China, the Fukushima incident, and Abenomics (the prime minister of Japan’s plan to reboot Japan’s economy).
I’m not going to pretend like I understand every point of these podcasts because I don’t and unless your Japanese is at a pretty high level, or you are used to news in Japanese it will be quite difficult. I tend to be able to understand the main point as well as a few details, but I usually have to go back and double check some things.
Another podcast that I found interesting and bite-sized is フラット３５ My Home My Life, which is basically a weekly 2 minute PSA in the form of a radio drama. For those of you who aren’t buying a house in Japan, Flat 35 is the name of a special kind of loan that has a flat rate for 35 years. So, the radio drama is mostly about a young couple buying a house, which may or may not be of interest to you.
The podcast reminds me a lot of the シーソーメール(She Saw Mail) podcast that is no longer airing, and unfortunately they pulled the episodes offline. It is an interesting radio drama that I wish they had more of. We can only hope they make more.
I feel like I am in a bit of the same situation as last time with the JLPT. My reading speed has improved and I’ve gotten a little better at comprehension, but I still keep making stupid mistakes with reading. I’ll either misread the question, misread kanji or grammar structure, or just be careless. What is frustrating is, as soon as I see the answer I know what I did wrong. Or my other problem is narrowing the answers down to 2 and guessing the wrong one.
Anyway, I really haven’t been seriously studying specifically for the test, so I’m interested in seeing the results. Sometimes I feel that if you concentrate on drilling too much, you end up not being to use the language, just answer questions about it.
Looking Forward to It
I’m actually looking forward to taking the test, to see how I score. As always, I’m also looking forward to hearing about everyone’s results, so after the test, please be sure to come back and visit. Good luck!