I went to San Francisco for JLPT N1. Compared to my N2 experience in Houston, Texas, my classmates were mostly undergrads and seemed to be very skilled in Japanese. They even conversed in Japanese while we were on a break and I overheard them saying that the exam was exceedingly easy.
I found that the listening is easier even though I didn’t catch everything. There’s not a big jump in listening from N2 to N1. The same with reading. The problem with reading is the same: kanji and more kanji that I’ve never seen before. I think my kanji skills has been fossilized at N3 level.
If I can do some time-traveling and redo my preparation, I would have read more current events, op-ed, and essays. Since I may have to retake the exam, but maybe not immediately in 2014, I will focus more on Kanji. I will also be consistent. I spent days without studying Japanese, only watching dramas or listening to music. I consider the latter not to be studying since those are passive activities.
I read Luca’s blog about his method and got inspiration to do the same. This time, since I will do both French and Japanese together, I will start doing the translation for both from Assimil. Assimil French is interesting, but the Japanese one doesn’t have nice voice actors/actresses. Their voices are dull (except for one male actor) and got me bored instantly.
OK, slow and steady win the race! Let’s see what I can achieve in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months!