In any JPLT test level

in any JPLT test level you feel comfortable with japanese language ?

Do you mean comfortable speaking, reading, listening, writing, or something else?

I think at around N3 you have already a pretty good overall understanding. I’m at around N4 and although I’m far from being fluent, I have already become able to understand a fair amount, mostly written, because that’s my main focus. But who am I to give an opinion on this? I’m not at a good level myself yet, so I believe it varies from person to person.


I guess it depends on what you’re doing and what the subject is. Daily conversation? Generally reading and writing are going to be easier than speaking and listening because you have time to think and look stuff up if needed. Kanji kind of complicates this however haha.

At every JLPT level there will be some things you are comfortable with and some things you are not, it’s not an all or nothing thing. Asking about the weather is something you can do pretty easily at an N4 maybe even N5 level. Trying to understand jokes or underlying emotions or implications would be much higher, N2 at least. (There are of course simpler jokes that can be understood)

Also you should know that while studying for the JLPT does of course increase your Japanese ability it doesn’t necessarily show your skill level because it’s multiple choice with no writing or speaking.

Pick a goal on something simple, like talking about the weather, and learn it really well. Then maybe try something harder like what you would say to a doctor when you’re sick. Then move on to something even harder like talking about the economy or declining birth rates.


JLPT is not really an indicator of real world ability. You can grind out JLPT without ever speaking Japanese. If you grind a silly amount of hours per day for a year you can pass N1, but it’ll still take years using the language to get comfortable with it. Of course, that large knowledge base you’ve built in order to pass JLPT will no doubt speed up the process. Like @whatupshimasu says, unless you speak about the weather a lot, you’ll never feel comfortable speaking about the weather, regardless of test level. If you never write Japanese, then regardless of your JLPT level, your writing will suck at first.

For reference, I passed N2 two years ago. I’ve lived in Japan for a total of about one year, and can have reasonably in depth conversations about Japanese theater and physics (my two focuses when I was in school,) but I probably couldn’t have an intelligible conversation about traffic conditions or human emotion, simply because I never talk about those things. There are tons of incredibly common phrases that a beginner learner of Japanese may know, but maybe they don’t use said phrase in the region I live in, so I’ll never learn it or get used to using it. I remember the first time I went to Tokyo (I had lived exclusively in Kansai) and everyone was saying 平気だ and just wondering why they’re all saying that. I have never used that phrase once in my life, and until that point I’d never heard anyone say it. Does that mean I’m not comfortable with the language? Absolutely! But that’s not the only factor, and it certainly has nothing to do with the JLPT.

Think of JLPT as a knowledge base to draw from in your real-world use of Japanese, and a job qualification. That’s really all it is.


The term ペーパードライバーcomes to mind :laughing:

Someone who has a license but still can’t drive :red_car:


I passed the old level 3 about twenty years ago, but had felt comfortable with the language almost since I started living in Japan and did not know any Japanese at all. I picked things up by immersion and so quickly became comfortable in the areas I used it. Mainly shops and kindergartens at first. Over three years my comfort zone grew considerably as I moved into Middle School and High School environments.
The only thing I felt actively uncomfortable about was Keigo.
One thing I made sure of was to study in small chunks and wait until my mouth caught up with my brain before moving on.
I was fluent in the sense that I spoke fluidly without a noticeable accent and often people would not realise they they were speaking to me when I answered the phone at work.
Was my vocabulary large? Outside of things I spoke about on a daily basis, I had almost no vocab. I could not read to write for any practical purposes at all, but since I did not need to, this did not make me uncomfortable in any way…


This is very true for all of these tests. I know a Japanese guy who has gotten a perfect score on TOEIC several times but has trouble stringing together easy sentences. When he speaks all the synonyms he knows tries to come out at once. Or he uses inappropriate and uncommon phrases for the situation.

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