So as some people might have noticed in my updated profile or Facebook page, I was recently able to pass the JLPT N2 and Kanken (A series of Kanji/Reading exams for Japanese Students) Level 5. I’m really happy the my 1.5 years in Japan and countless hours of studying and translating have let me get to this point despite never having majored in Japanese. It’s nice to have some (albeit minor) credentials to my name as I continue to make strides towards joining the business world after my time on the JET program. Though I didn’t study much specifically for the JLPT (and thus can’t recommend any books/study materials) I would like to take this time to again encourage all my friends, fellow Vocaloid fans, and aspiring Japanese speakers to consider using Anki, a study/memorization program as part of your studies. I wrote up my detailed thoughts on why and how to use the program in this review/recommendation. I’ll be working hard to pass the JLPT N1 this summer and I hope there will be many of you joining me in taking different levels of the examination this summer. While I credit my day to day life in Japan, my students, my friends, and my teachers for all the improvement in my conversational fluency and listening abilities, I have to say that Anki has by far played the largest role in helping me develop the larger, and larger vocabulary base that lets me understand and communicate (and keep IMPROVING) at a much higher level than before. It’s possible to learn a lot of things through “absorption” (aka watching anime, Vocaloid PVs, living in Japan, talking to Japanese friends), but unless you make serious efforts to build your vocabulary, those other sources of “fun” studying will be much less useful. Definitely check it out and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!
Good luck in your studies!