My Journey & Accumulation

Hello everyone! This is a bit random especially for a first post but I just randomly had the urge to discuss about my experience and journey studying Japanese.

I first had interest studying Japanese in around seventh grade in which I didn’t really take it too serious (nor did the school since it was just middle school). The class just consisted of learning basic Japanese phrases such as おはようございます or こんにちは and such forth. I thought it was pretty interesting in which I decided to take the next level which was considered “advanced” Japanese which consisted of 2 people that knew no Japanese and 2 natives. I actually got to learn hiragana and some kanji in which I absolutely despised at the time. I had no motivation to learn all these foreign characters and words as I saw there was no purpose so I practically gave up and got a C in the class.

After going into high school, I decided to keep taking Japanese for fun without any studying whatsoever. I found the classes pretty boring and disappointing as the teachers did not teach me anything whatsoever. They always focused on culture or things that felt so irrelevant. It wasn’t until the beginning of junior year in which I started WaniKani which was roughly around two years ago. I took it pretty chill and just saw it as something to kill time (I took about a whole month per level that was how hard I was chilling). It was pretty satisfying but I still didn’t think of learning Japanese as anything besides a hobby. It wasn’t until our school had a foreign exchange with a sister school from Kanagawa prefecture that I started to take learning Japanese seriously. Roughly around 30 Japanese students came to our school in which we formed pen pals with one another. The exchange lasted about a week in which I felt so defeated with myself. I wasn’t able to speak a single one of my thoughts to them which was absolutely frustrating. After that exchange was over I decided to start studying more Japanese more seriously albeit only through grinding WaniKani.

When the pandemic came though that’s when I really took it up a notch. I had ridiculous amounts of free time so I started doing Bunpro, watching Japanese youtubers, core 10k Anki deck, HelloTalk, and reading native material. I didn’t know how far I really came though until recently when I took my college placement exam for Japanese. I didn’t really care what class I got placed into since my ultimate goal was to take the JLPT anyways but to my surprise I did really good. The placement exam consisted of 161 questions which was roughly N5-N3 in which I got 141/161 correct. My only downside was my grammar which I wasn’t surprised as that was the area I least studied. Immediately after the exam I got emailed of my performance and I had to be interviewed. I was extremely nervous since I’m not confident with my hearing and listening ability as I never practiced those skills with another person before. But to my surprise, I was able to understand my teacher and was even able to respond back in Japanese. I felt so gratified at that moment as I just realized how far I’ve gotten in my Japanese journey. I was placed in JPN 402 in which my teacher said that was roughly N2 level. I know I still have a lot to work on but I’m just so thankful to myself that decided to do WaniKani in the past as I would have never gotten this far. I’m also very thankful to the creators of WaniKani for making this website and the amazing community that surrounds it. I would like to hear other people’s experiences and see if they had similar experiences or not as I really have nobody to compare with in my school. Anyways thank you for those who have read this far and I wish the best of luck to everyone studying Japanese.

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