One of my major New Year’s Resolutions this year is to study Japanese. I want to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in the summer.
I’ve been thinking about my Resolutions for several months now, and the thing that I keep coming back to is what I want out of my “manga-reading” life. I’ve become frustrated with the lack of titles in English that I’m actually excited to read – and find myself settling on things that I’m less interested in.
I’m ravenous for 60s, 70s, and 80s shoujo manga! But, we’re lucky if we get 1 or 2 titles a year in English. It’s entirely frustrating.
I NEED to learn Japanese in order to read the books and series that I actually want to read.
That’s what this year is for! I’m going to spend the next 7 months studying for the JLPT in July. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll try for the N5 or N4 exam yet, that’ll come later. But, I figure the JLPT is the FIRST step that I need to take in order to become reading-fluent. I’d love to also be speaking and listening-fluent… but reading is my ultimate goal.
I’ve decided on a few study strategies that I will employ to study over the next 7 months… and beyond.
- I will keep going to Japanese classes for the listening and speaking practice.
- I will review my old textbooks. Just enough to get my grammar back to where it needs to be. It’s always a good idea to review old grammar… otherwise it’ll be impossible to learn new grammar.
- I will go through the JLPT practice and study books that I’ve purchased over the years. This isn’t the first time I’ve considered taking this test. I’d actually registered a few years ago, when the testing was in December. It was blizzarding here that week… and I decided to stay home rather than take the chance driving on a treacherous highway to another city.
- I will study vocabulary using the Leitner box method. You can check out tutorials on YouTube about this. But basically it’s a particular technique to help you learn new words and concepts in a reasonably short period of time. It will take quite a bit of my free time to do, though. I’m not super thrilled with that. I don’t have that much free time to begin with.
- I will write key sentences as well as construct my own to help solidify the meanings of words and the use of grammar.
- I will memorize the required Kanji. I have a few ideas how I’d like to accomplish this, but I’ll have to test them out before I commit to anything.
- I will translate manga. My ultimate goal is to be able to read manga.
I might as well get some regular practice in… even if it is incredibly difficult to translate manga when you actually don’t know the language…
I would also like to start listening to some Japanese podcasts, Radio programs, YouTube videos, and Japanese dramas. I need as much practice to listening to Japanese as I can get. If you have any suggestions of good and interesting titles/shows/etc. to listen to in Japanese, (without English subtitles) I’d love to hear about it!