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VonPeterhof’s log - 旅立ち’14, Yürükler’15+

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yuhakko
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 Message 33 of 158
31 January 2014 at 4:58pm | IP Logged 
Oh right I thought I remembered it was N2! Well there always the 漢字検定試験 then! but
that would be a pretty badass challenge !



dampingwire
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 Message 34 of 158
31 January 2014 at 11:11pm | IP Logged 
Actually I'm curious about the listening test on N1.

How does it compare to:
- listening to a news broadcast (say NHK News)
- watching a 30-45m drama
- watching a live film

On the JLPT website it seemingly suggests that only ~30% of candidates who passed N1
thought they could comfortably understand a news broadcast. I just wonder about how you
(@VonPeterhof) would assess the N1 listening compared to (say) NHK News.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 35 of 158
01 February 2014 at 12:05am | IP Logged 
I'd say there aren't many similarities between a typical N1 listening test and an NHK News broadcast. Unlike the reading section, the listening section tends to be more about the "real life" topics, even in N1. It's usually about situations one is likely to find oneself in at a university or a workplace - making plans, scheduling appointments, receiving instructions, discussing likes and dislikes, etc. I suppose the closest it gets to a news programme is the final task, the long talks. That's where some of the information may be given in the form of a monologue, or even something of a lecture. Still, I would expect the range of topics to be a bit more limited than in NHK News.

I suppose drama is a bit closer, although the N1 listening generally doesn't go into the really colloquial language or more nuanced expressions of emotions. I wouldn't say that listening to the news would be completely useless as preparation, since it can help expand your vocabulary and get used to the natural pace of speech, but you do need to keep in mind that the majority of the listening tasks will be in the form of dialogues, and not just one person rattling off what happened where.
2 persons have voted this message useful



vonPeterhof
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 Message 36 of 158
01 February 2014 at 6:59pm | IP Logged 
Posted the fourth and final part of the "first impressions" series. While I haven't written about all the series whose first episodes I've watched this season, it's been between three and four weeks since I watched those episodes and the first impressions aren't fresh in my memory any more. So I decided to wrap it up by writing about the three series whose first episodes surprised me the most. Next season I need to try writing these posts immediately after watching the episodes.

With that out of the way, I can start thinking about the strategies for taking the N1 this coming summer.

Edited by vonPeterhof on 01 February 2014 at 7:00pm



vonPeterhof
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 Message 37 of 158
08 February 2014 at 7:34pm | IP Logged 
Okay, I don't think I'm completely done designing my strategy for the coming N1, but I'm getting there. I decided that this time I will actually use some 完全マスター JLPT preparation books to hone my skills and close as many gaps in my knowledge as possible (as I have mentioned previously, I've already started working with the grammar book). There are two problems with this:

a) All the 完全マスター books I have are outdated. While I don't think the Japanese language itself has changed significantly since 2001/2, the format of the test has. While the grammar book I've been doing so far has been more concerned with the content rather than drilling specific types of questions, the reading and listening ones seem to be more suited for the latter approach.
b) I'm kind of a cheap bastard, and those new and improved 2011 新完全マスター books aren't exactly cheap (and the local Japanese library doesn't seem to have them either).

With these two considerations in mind, today I went to the book store and bought only the 新完全マスター vocabulary book, since my results seem to indicate that this is my weakest area right now. I've also heard that the range of vocabulary in the N1 has been increased compared to the old JLPT 1, but I haven't been able to confirm that. Either way, I'll also add the old reading and listening books to my weekly exercise and see how this all works out.

In other news, this week I finally got my certificate for last July's N2. I phoned the local office of the Japan Foundation, and it turned out that it had already been mailed to my Saint Petersburg address. Apparently someone at the post office there forgot to notify my family about the parcel and then sent it back to Moscow after the one month storage period had passed. Oh well, at least I have the certificate now.

When I went to the office to pick up the certificate, I also handed in my application for those lectures on the methodology of teaching beginner-level Japanese I mentioned before. While the only official requirements on applicants are an age of at least 17 and Japanese ability of at least N2, I'm still seriously doubting if I have what it takes. With my extremely limited experience in actually speaking Japanese, participating in discussions about teaching methods will be challenging, to say the least. What's more, since most of the other participants will presumably be either current or prospective teachers of Japanese, I wonder how they will judge the presence of a self-learner with neither experience in teaching nor intentions to pursue a career in it. With the added bonus of my poor communicative skills, my biggest fear is that I will end up confirming their most negative stereotypes of self-learners. I still hope that I get accepted though, since this is probably my only opportunity to place myself in a "sink or swim" immersive environment without going to Japan. Plus, the fact that the lectures are free of charge really appeals to my cheap bastard side ;)

In non-Japanese news, I've bought the tickets for my Greek vacation. Had to act quickly, since the rouble collapsed in relation to the euro near the end of last week and the prices for tickets to the euro area started climbing. The most optimally priced tickets I managed to get entail nearly day-long layovers in Germany (Düsseldorf on the way there and Berlin on the way back). I actually see this as a good thing, since that gives me an opportunity to use my German (as you can see, I reclassified it into a language I study again). I also have relatives I haven't seen since early childhood living not far from Düsseldorf, so now I'm looking forward to this holiday even more.



g-bod
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 Message 38 of 158
08 February 2014 at 9:01pm | IP Logged 
If you have chance to go into Düsseldorf itself there's quite a large Japanese community there, which makes plenty of opportunities (at least compared to other European cities) for browsing Japanese bookshops if you like that kind of thing!

I'm not sure if it's fair to say that the range of vocabulary for N1 has increased, but rather there is no longer an official list, so the examiners can pick anything they think is relevant to the level. I've yet to start work on N1 materials (I still have plenty of N2 level gaps to fill, despite my certification) but I would say that the new Kanzen Master N2 grammar book is much improved over the old 2-kyuu book. Much more thought has gone into the grouping of grammar points and much more detail is provided in the explanations. In short, it's a lot more user-friendly.



vonPeterhof
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 Message 39 of 158
08 February 2014 at 10:18pm | IP Logged 
g-bod wrote:
If you have chance to go into Düsseldorf itself there's quite a large Japanese community there, which makes plenty of opportunities (at least compared to other European cities) for browsing Japanese bookshops if you like that kind of thing!
Oh yeah, forgot about that. A definite plus in my book! Too bad I won't be able to visit the Japan-Tag (or, for that matter, that Polyglot Gathering in Berlin, which will happen a little more than a week after I pass through there).

g-bod wrote:
I'm not sure if it's fair to say that the range of vocabulary for N1 has increased, but rather there is no longer an official list, so the examiners can pick anything they think is relevant to the level. I've yet to start work on N1 materials (I still have plenty of N2 level gaps to fill, despite my certification) but I would say that the new Kanzen Master N2 grammar book is much improved over the old 2-kyuu book. Much more thought has gone into the grouping of grammar points and much more detail is provided in the explanations. In short, it's a lot more user-friendly.
Yeah, I did notice that about the new N1 grammar book as well. Still, I think the old one is good enough for my purposes.



vonPeterhof
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Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
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 Message 40 of 158
15 February 2014 at 1:06pm | IP Logged 
Last Sunday I tried out the old N1 reading book, which starts with a placement test meant to determine your strong and weak points, so that you can go straight to the necessary sections and drill them. Out of the 32 questions I only got two wrong. Those were in two different sections and I only got them wrong due to lacking some vocabulary, rather than misunderstanding the task. This led me to conclude that I don't have any specific problems with the reading section, outside the need to expand my vocabulary and increase my reading speed. In hindsight, it probably would have been more helpful to take the placement test with timing, because some questions did take longer to figure out. Still, I got a fairly decent score on that section on the actual test last time, so it's probably better to focus on other tasks. Today or tomorrow I will check out the listening book.

As for actual reading, I didn't do as much of it as I planned last month. Per week I managed an average of one-two newspaper columns, five-six news articles, one chapter of 時をかける少女 (those are hardly ever longer than two-three pages) and one-two chapters of manga. I'm only halfway through the novel and still have two full volumes of ワタモテ to get through before I catch up to the latest chapters (legally available for free here). Since I did decide to prioritize non-fiction over fiction in preparation for N1, this time around I won't set goals on finishing the novel or the manga and just keep reading them at the current pace. Starting this week I've set a new goal of reading at least one Asahi or Nikkei column a day, and I've managed to stick to this plan so far.



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