Friday, 12 July 2013

Good To Be Home - JLPT N2 review/rant

I got back from Japan the other day (the 10th July), mostly because my visa was going to run out on the 12th and I had to be out of the country by the 11th. But I ended up coming back to the UK mostly because it was ridiculous how much I missed my family and friends, and English countryside with it's trees and hills, and home cooked food in an oven! I think this urge to just get home was probably mostly due to the fact that Wes and I stayed inside 90% of the time the last month studying a ridiculous amount for the exam.

I mentioned a while ago how stressed I was about the exam and doing mock tests. Well after I posted that I stopped caring so much, which actually helped because I was stressing out less about the exam and actually concentrating more because I wasn't worrying about how much I don't know. Well as the real exam got closer I began worrying again about how much I didn't know and when the exam did finally happen I just...I honestly don't know how well I did. There was a lot that I hadn't gone over in my books (and FYI for anyone who wants to do the JLPTs use Nihongo So-matome for N3 but not N2, I was disappointed at how much it missed out for the N2, although I did still find it useful and I learnt a lot from them, it just didn't go that extra useful mile). I think that it might partially be because a LOT of Chinese speaking people take the JLPT. There was about 6 out of 95 people in the test room who were not Asian, meaning that a lot of people have an unfair advantage when it comes to kanji because Chinese people use it A LOT. And what was even more unfair was any katakana words that were on the test (these are the English words that have been Japanafied) had notes attached to them explaining what they meant! If as an English speaking person I am expected to know the readings and meaning of over 2000 kanji and their 10,000+ combinations and word conjunctions, then Chinese speaking people with a kanji based language can learn the 1000+ katakana Japanafied English words that crop up every now and then. It's not that hard and it's frustrating when you work really hard for something just to see other people getting an unfair advantage (being tipped off on certain words, not the bringing brought up on kanji part). Mini rant over. 

My main point was that the JLPT N2 was hard, even after 6 months of intensive study it was still hard, BUT no matter what happens I will keep working on my Japanese with the new studying skills I've picked up. So I have a better idea for the next exam, which I'll take even if I haven't passed N2. My next goals for this year are to take the Japanese Business Proficiency Test (JBT) in November, followed by the JLPT N1 test in December. I also want to start taking the course in getting certified in the program Trados, which is a translating program. It won't be a certificate in Japanese-English translating but will show that I know how to use the tools for translating. And these are things I want to do even if I do or do not get a job in the next few months.

So pretty much the last month of Japan was spent not doing that much, although there were a few times we'd go to karaoke with friends or go shopping or relieve stress by going to the arcade and playing DDR (a dancing game) for an hour. But thanks to being horribly busy/stressing out over the last month I haven't updated this blog since May and that was about things I did in April!!! Which means there is 2ish months of things that I have not told people about like my birthday, or about the crazy things we've been up to with some of the amazing and crazy people we've met! (Or even just the scary crazy people we ran into in the last week!) So I will get to those and I will post about them slowly over the next week (for risk of giving too much information to everyone).

But right now this post is to say I'm back in the UK, Wes is safe in America with his family. I am able to relax for a bit after the exam and before my interview in the US in a few weeks. It's good to be home.