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What’s Your Proficiency? (Take 2)

As an ode to my dedication of Japanese language study, I’m taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (or the JLPT) today for… let’s see, just how many times HAVE I taken this test? *counting* I think this is my 4th time taking this test. Not bad considering people take this thing annually as an indicator of their progress. Here’s the deal though: last year when I decided to take level N3 (which is somewhere in the middle), I’d been out of any kind of REAL Japanese study for a few years. I went back into it admittedly cold, and even though I didn’t pass it, I still got a lot of questions right and with some more study, I really think I could have passed it.

This year is very different.

From the time I found out I failed the test, I’d been studying like mad. Every day, I touched Japanese in some way, shape or form. I participated in the tadoku contest all year long to improve reading and for my part, comprehension. I studied grammar every day via daily emails and re-reading the many books I have in my possession about Japanese. While work may have sidetracked me a little in the last couple months, I’ve always been clear about my dedication this year to learning as much as I could. So today is the day of truth: do I have what it takes?

Can I really hack it in Japanese? We shall see. I’ll take the test today, but I won’t get the results until February I think. I won’t stop studying; in fact, I’ll redouble my efforts particularly with my kanji (heaven bless the Heisig method, love it) and do what my friend did — daily immersion, at least 20 mins a day reviewing kanji, learning new stuff. I want to get my core stuff down to at least read a newspaper without a beat (I can read it now, just REALLY slowly).

I know that my plans for Japan have changed a little bit, but that means next year is it — I’ve gotta get myself together and grind harder than ever before.