How I am learning Japanese language.

I am writing this post to share with you how I self-practiced the lessons and prepared for JLPT exams. I started learning Japanese in 2014 October from the very basics. The ever first thing I learned in the Japanese language was ‘Konnichiwa’ and ‘Arigatou’. So, for beginners, I think it is the essential greeting words that have to be learned at first.

I used many textbooks and websites for learning every JLPT levels. For listening practice, I searched for previous question papers and listening practice videos on YOUTUBE. After completing the textbooks- grammar and Kanji, I spend more than one month on solving the previous questions, Official JLPT workbooks, and other preparation workbooks(eg. Gokaku Dekiru) with sample question papers.

Japanese classes and Part time job

I got exposure to the native Japanese conversation at the free volunteer Japanese class conducted by Tajimi International Association two hours on the first three Sundays of every month. At the class, the volunteer Japanese teachers were teaching us using the Minna no Nihongo series of textbooks for N5, N4, and N3. For N2, we used Shin Kanzen master series. For N1, we are using TRY!(Bunpo) and Pattern Betsu. During my N4 studies, I had a Japanese teacher for about four months, who is my neighbour. She took lessons following ‘Minna no Nihongo’ once in every week(one hour). She used to talk with me in between the lessons, which also helped to improve my conversational skills.

But the great opportunity that I got during that time is a part-time job at an Osteopathic clinic(Seikotsuin). I went for helping one of my friend who is working there. I got exposure to a fully Japanese environment for about six months(Jan 2015-Jun 2015). Most of the patients coming to the clinic were old-aged who loves to talk about various topics. And the osteopathist is also a very kind lady, with whom we used to eat our lunch. During the lunchtime, she talked about many things, related to Japanese culture, customs, food, as well as language.

Sensei(osteopathist) in front of the Seikotsuin

Passion for the Japanese language

At the beginning, I didn’t have any intention of appearing for JLPT  exams. After leaving my part-time job at the Seikotsuin, I learned by myself using the Minna no Nihongo textbooks and CDs, various websites etc. It was the last six months of my pregnancy.

We have a city magazine which is received in our post every month, which is the main factor which encouraged me to learn Japanese. At the beginnings, I used to turn over the pages of that book and threw it away. After learning some Kanji, I saw them here and there in that book. So I wished to read it completely as fast as possible. It is one of the thriving factors for me to learn Japanese. I concentrated on Kanji learning during that time.

Tajimist 2017 December edition (Tajimi City’s magazine)

How I decided to take the JLPT exams

After my baby was born, I got so many information booklets and other official papers from the city office which were in Japanese. I felt that it might be a disturbance to my friends when I always ask them to explain it and fill it up. That made my Japanese studies much faster. I spend about 2~3 hours learning Japanese along with my blogging. By that time, I completed JLPT N3 grammar and Kanji. Being my first JLPT exam, I appeared for JLPT N4 in July 2016. I passed it with very good scores, but I didn’t feel it a very big achievement because I was learning with N3 books at that time. So I appeared for N3 in December 2016 and passed it again in good scores, which was a moment of pride for me.

But I was a little scared of JLPT N2 because I had heard the stories of many people who were unable to clear N2 even after many attempts. But on the final day of application for JLPT, I decided to make an attempt to check my level, so that I can prepare according to that for the next time’s JLPT. It also helped to make my N2 studies more seriously. But I passed N2 in July 2017.