I’ve been searching for something a bit more real world than the vague descriptions provided on the JLPT website. If you’ve passed a JLPT level can you tell me what you can actually do with Japanese other than pass a test? What manga/books have you been able to read? What anime/tv shows have you understood? Etc. How much effort was required to understand them? I know JLPT is often criticised for NOT being real world but it would be nice to compile accomplishments for each level.
I’ll start: N5 → very little
Read some signs, not get lost, simple interactions in everyday practical situations, when supplemented by caveman-like grunting and hand gestures.
I mean, it’s not nothing. When I go out with my coworkers, there are often situations where they’re puzzling over a menu and I can help, or they’re just following me in an unfamiliar train station (but I’m just reading the japanese signs which are more plentiful than the english ones). [Which way? That way, come on. How did you even know that? It says deguchi, right there, idiot.]
I can look at a Japanese-only website and well, I wouldn’t say READ it, but figure out how to get there, make a reservation, what the business hours are, what links look likely to click, how to pay.
It’s a start. I feel like N1 is “ok, now you’re officially terrible at Japanese” and 2-5 are just checkpoints to that, but N5 is a start.
I’ve managed three trips in Japan conversing with people in Japanese, though my listening ability still sucks. I’ve taken JLPT N3, but I can’t say in any of my conversations I’ve ever gone “oh, this is definitely from such-and-such a JLPT level.”