Somewhere during the pursuit of N3 I was feeling the weariness. It took me thrice to pass the JLPT N3. Prior to this, I also took the old JLPT 4 and flunked that too. Hence it was extremely demoralising for me for each failed attempt. Once I passed the July paper for N3 last year, I decided to try the N2 in December. Knowing N2 level is extremely difficult and a great jump from N3, I started six months before the exams and bought seven books for practice and revision. After taking several half days to revise for each exam (I have my own school’s exams, and the JLPT exam), I nearly died.
After passing N2 on my first try (and passing December paper which is thought to be harder than July paper), I questioned if I should continue with N1 paper. After thinking through in December, I decided not to since I am not planning to move to Japan and stay permanently, nor work for a Japanese company (and definitely NOT stay in Japan and work for a Japanese company).
Thus I decided to focus on brushing up a few areas that classroom style teaching and JLPT exams doesn’t teach nor test – speaking and writing.
For writing, I found a Japanese partner to converse with via email. It is going well at the moment with him writing to me in both English and Japanese, correcting my Japanese, while I correct his English. For conversations, my Japanese partner pointed me to Skype lessons. Hence I found one that is cheap at 500 yen per hour. This is so far the cheapest that I can find online for Japanese lessons.
With something so cheap of course you cannot expect good service. This was communicated right from the start, and it was full of hiccups as well. During the first skype lesson, the person in charge told me it was just for registration purpose (what??). Second lesson was a trial lesson and he found me one. Let’s call this person A. A’s computer suddenly crashed one hour before our skype lesson and the person in charge called to say it cannot be done. Then he said I need to liaise with the girl directly myself to arrange for the next lesson. However, she doesn’t reply to my email nor LINE message, hence I informed him. He got me a second person – let’s call the person B. B was prompt and ended up A and B both skyped me at the same time on the same day.
Frankly speaking, I am pissed off with A for not replying me at all. Hence I apologized to B and explained the entire incident to him (after getting a reprimanding email from the person in charge). And I also wrote an explanation email to A, but also pointing out the fact she didn’t reply me. After the first trial with A, I don’t find A that well. But one good point about A is she doesn’t speak much English, However, she did try to use English to speak to me.
Hence I hope B will want to speak to me again.. sigh.
I find this very amusing but at the same time, I found an organisation, a tourist information centre , who organised free skype lessons. Although the time is shorter (20min), but the past two lessons were very smooth. The second lesson even extended to one hour. The organisation received subsidy from their government and thus the lady was able to even buy the textbooks that I am using currently from my Japanese school. Looking forward to the next session. J
However, this question kept coming back to me. What is the purpose of learning Japanese and what can I use it for? Frankly speaking until now I cannot find any use for Japanese in my daily life, except activities that I consciously seek to maintain my exposure to Japanese, e,g. radio programs, TV shows and music.