I’ve recently been really mixing up my studying to try to do some more things. I can never seem to keep my motivation up for passing the test between these lulls in action of between taking the test and getting the results back.
So, I’ve turned to doing a lot more fun and interesting studying instead of day after day of drilling. For instance, I’ve started back playing Chrono Trigger (the Japanese version) as well as some other games in Japanese on my ride home.
The main reason for this is I’ve been struggling to try to study after a long day of teaching and I sometimes end up falling asleep or not really retaining anything. I figured it was pointless to try to keep hitting the books when it just wasn’t an effective use of my time. So, I switched to playing games which involve a lot of reading like RPGs.
I’m very eagerly awaiting the results which should come out on August 26th for those that registered online and took the test here in Japan. I think online results for everybody else usually pop up the following week. Be sure to check the official JLPT site for more details about how results are handled in your area.
Of course, I will be posting a results blog post shortly after I get my results discussing what think I got wrong and what went right. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pass. At this point I’m just crossing my fingers that my score didn’t go down. Anyway, as soon as you get your results come visit the site and let me know how well you did.
Found a Great Podcast
I’m always on the lookout for a good podcast to practice my Japanese listening. And after my (probable) defeat on the listening section of the last test, I figured I would go looking again. I came across a great podcast called ジェーン スー 相談は踊る. It’s basically a radio advice show, featuring Jane Su as the host.
It has some pretty entertaining topics ranging from whether not to wear a bra at night to how to become a radio talent. There are times when some of the topics are a little boring, and the way that every guest announcer seems to go on about not being on the radio since forever can get on my nerves a little. But, overall, a pretty interesting show to listening to.
The pace of the conversation is sometimes a little faster than what you would normally expect, but I think that is because it is a radio show and they are always trying to fit everything they can into the limited time spot they have. Their conversations are also not scripted so it is a pretty natural flow.
At this point, I’m simply just listening to it when I can and not trying to force it. I try to listen at least once a day so I can get regular practice with it. I’d really like to be able to have a little more natural listening ability. Right now, I kind of have to be in the mood to listen.
EDIT: I mentioned in the podcast that I had no idea what ジェーン スー was. Well, I did some research, and surprise, it’s the host’s name. Go figure. Sorry about the confusion.
Back to Reading Game of Thrones
I started reading Game of Thrones after a bit of absence while I was preparing for the test. It was good to get back into it, and I am starting to make good steady progress. I tend to read about 2 pages in about 20 minutes or so. This is a snail’ space to be sure, but I don’t look up that many words unless I want to double check the reading. Mostly I just guess at what is being said.
I’ve been learning some fun expressions that I use as a joke with some people. For example, 名誉に値しません (meiyouniataishimasen) means I’m not worthy of the honor. Something that Ned says to the King in the first part of the book. And yes, if anyone was still wondering “Hand of the King” is in fact “王の手” (ounote), the literal translation.
Reading it bilingually is a huge plus. One of my biggest pitfalls is losing the subject of the conversation, so I lose the context and have a hard time understanding what is going on. It also helps me with the incredibly difficult kanji that shows up often. I can use the English to look up words a little easier. I spend a little too much time hunting down complicated kanji that I probably will never see again, but it is fun.
I still don’t recommend it for general study, but if you are a fan of the series and at a higher level it might be fun to check it out and see how well you do. If you are not use to reading fantasy it might be slow at first because George R R Martin loves describing things, especially people’s clothes and that gets carried into the translation as well. That means you’ll be wading through a lot of old pieces of clothing and equipment like tunics and cloaks and the like.
Picked up Aera
Aera is basically Asahi Weekly, or at least that is what it replaced. It is a weekly magazine that goes a little more in depth on some issues and topics than your regular newspaper. It seems to trend to more businessy topics, but they also focus on one particular person each week and write an in depth article about them. Overall, it is a regular, native-level read. There will be some topics that can veer into the way too much kanji category, but I found it to be pretty readable for my level.
I’ve noticed that articles are occasionally plucked from this magazine for use on the test, and that is why I ended up picking it up to see if it was a good source for the type of material that you can find on the N1. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. It has some great articles about interesting topics, as well as a good amount of photographs to help it all be a little more digestible. I’ve only made it through a couple of articles so far, but I found it to be well-worth the Y390 or so yen I plunked down for it.
My particular issue had a series of articles on foreigners in the workplace. It was basically a positive piece on how foreigners can add a new dynamic and allow companies to see things more globally, from a different angle, etc… It also went over all the issues that stand in the way of hiring and keeping foreigners including language barriers and visa issues. It ended up with the perennial topic of shrinking Japan, and how immigration might be a good solution to that.
They have a few shorter articles online that make for some good reading as well.
I’m just trying to keep studying and focused on the test. I have been spending more and more time teaching my daughter English, time that I was spending drilling vocabulary words (and writing blog posts). I’ve cut my blogging duties in half, and trying to squeeze studying in where I can, but it can be a relentless battle. I’m starting to get really anxious for those July test results.
How about you? How are you faring in this hot summer heat? Let me know your strategies below in the comments.
Photo by Photocapy