JLPT Journal Entries – part 2

JLPT journalling, Japanese writing

This week, I tried my hand at journalling about movies in Japanese.

As I wrote about before, I’ve fallen in love with Hulu. Hulu has a huge library of movies to watch. There are a few hidden gems and a few duds. I’ve taken to watching a few while doing odds and ends around the house.

I thought this week I would write up some journals about what I watched and see if I could translate them into Japanese. It was a lot tougher than I imagined because the journals are pretty conversational and used a lot of things I didn’t actually know the word for in Japanese.

I actually found that there just isn’t the same variety of expressions in Japanese as there are in English. I guess I kind of knew that before, but it was made more apparent while translating these journals.

Frustrated with limited Vocabulary

It reminds me of one of the biggest hurdles people smash into when they learn a language is the frustration that comes from having something to say, but not knowing the words to say it. It’s terrible feeling.

You are used to being an adult with the whole vocabulary that goes with it. The ability to express so many things, because you have been practicing with it for your whole life. And you will probably always be able to express yourself the best in your native language. And that is unfortunately something you need to get comfortable with.

But, the more times you practice, the more you will find that you don’t need as big a vocabulary as you think you do to communicate. You don’t really need advanced grammar either. A well-practiced speaker can communicate a lot with just N4 level grammar and vocabulary. So don’t be afraid to try it out.

Test Out your Reading Skills

Try to read the Japanese journal first and pick up as much as you can. Then, check the English translation to see if your understanding is correct. Keep in mind that the English translation may not match the Japanese word for word. Actually, in some situations I had to rephrase a lot of what was being communicated in order to have it make sense in Japanese. Just use the English as a general guide.

Journal 1



ビーンというヤツは大好だいすききになるか大嫌だいきらいになるかのどちらかにちがいない。 わたし後者こうしゃだとおもう。

普段ふだんはめったに映画えいが途中とちゅうるのをやめないが、これは絶対ぜったいにやめなければかった。 映画えいが集中しゅうちゅうさえ出来できなかった。ひどいな。

English Translation for Journal 1

Journal 2




Journal 2 – English Translation

Your Turn

How about you give a try this time?  Write up a journal about your favorite movie, get it checked by somebody at lang-8.com and share it with us.

Photo by Kenneth Lu

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tom March 9, 2016, 9:08 pm

    Interesting that you mention dealing with a limited vocabulary. Haruki Murakami brought that up in an essay he wrote. He talks about writing parts of an early novel in English rather than Japanese:

    Needless to say, my ability in English composition didn’t amount to much. My vocabulary was severely limited, as was my command of English syntax. I could only write in simple, short sentences. That meant that, however complex and numerous the thoughts running around my head might be, I couldn’t even attempt to set them down as they came to me. The language had to be simple, my ideas expressed in an easy-to-understand way, the descriptions stripped of all extraneous fat, the form made compact, and everything arranged to fit a container of limited size. The result was a rough, uncultivated kind of prose. As I struggled to express myself in that fashion, however, step by step, a distinctive rhythm began to take shape.

    • Clayton MacKnight March 9, 2016, 11:39 pm

      There can be a kind of elegance to it, too. I think if you can get your point across in simple words, than you are a lot better at communicating than a lot of other people. It’s just really frustrating to deal with at first.

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