Where do you stand?

Wow, it’s been a while since I talked about studying Japanese!

Has anyone else had the mental perk-up since they got vaccinated against you-know-what? I feel like I’m more awake than I have been for the past year. Not much has changed in my day to day life- I’m still masking, staying away from people (especially those who don’t know how to wear a mask properly or don’t wear one at all), and keeping mostly to places I can reach on foot.

But the two shots have been a breath of fresh air and I’ve found myself becoming more active. Putting more effort into exercise. Reading more. Keeping up with hobbies better. Starting new hobbies.

And picking up Japanese study again.

I’ve been feeling self-conscious about my lack of serious study for a while, now. A friend has recommended Preply for online one-on-one lessons, and I’ve heard good things about iTalki, as well. Have I tried them personally? No, because talking to strangers is scary.

…But I do want to give them a shot, at some point.

So what have I been doing, instead?

I watch movies and anime in Japanese on a regular basis, both media that I have watched before (in English or with subtitles) and new content, too. In addition, I read books (physical and ebook). I generally aim for light novels, but I will also read kids’ chapter books too so that I can understand more of what’s going on. As I read, I plug unfamiliar words or phrases into my own personal deck in Anki , a flash card app that lets you download premade decks or make your own.

Also, I’m going through one of my old intermediate books to brush up on grammar that I used to know. You know it’s been a while when you see a grammar point and go, “Oh yeah! That’s grammar! I sure used to know what that meant. Wow, wild.”

The last thing I’ve been doing is taking “what’s your vocabulary level/speaking ability” tests for funsies.

One option was here – you can choose which language you want to test yourself on, and it will give you a rough estimate of how many words you know, and what level you can speak at.

My results are:

Whoo I talk like an 8 year old, apparently! No wonder I bombed the N1 last time I took it.

The other test that I took was here, and it was more forgiving in terms of my own abilities. While I didn’t take a screenshot of my results for this one, I was informed my vocabulary was more like that of a 5th or 6th grader in elementary school. So… the vocabulary (optimistically) of a 12 year old, which is a big jump from an 8 year old!

My takeaway from these tests is that I’ve got a lot to do in order to get back to where I was when I was preparing to take the JLPT last. I’m hoping to buckle down and study more so I can not only recognize more vocabulary and understand more grammar, but be able to produce it myself in conversation for when I am able to talk more in depth with friends, fellow taiko members, or what have you.

I’d encourage any Japanese studiers to try these tests and let me know your results! What did you get? Do you think your results are accurate? How are you keeping up your studies (if you are at all right now)? If you’re just starting out in studying, what would you want to know about getting started?

Hope you all have a fantastic week!

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