Outlook

It is early autumn, the leafs are still green, but the weather and temperatures have dropped sharply. In other words, it is the perfect season for staying inside, spending some more time with books, and other Japanese related activities. Learning, surfing the internet, chatting, and reorganizing my life on top of that, have kept me from writing here. Since I received a request for the 日本語総まとめN2 deck, I thought to let you know that I still exist.

This is also a good opportunity for me to talk a bit about the 新完全マスターN2文法 book, and things I plan to do before december. First things first. I finished the Kanzen Master book two weeks ago. This book consists of three parts. The main part in which the grammar points are presented, about 5~7 per lesson. The back part, with tables and some exercises, and a short test in the very back.

In the main part of the book, you will find example sentences per grammar point. 4 at most. The sentences were easy to understand, no need to translate anything. For instance you would find a sentence like 子どもの頃は、秋になるとこの山で登ったものだ。 with ものだ being the grammar point in question. Some of the grammar points are broken down into an A and B part, in case a grammar point is used differently. There are only 8 or 9 of these points to be found in the book.

Underneath the example sentences the formation of a grammar point is demonstrated. For instance 【動】辞書形  +ものなら, which is then followed by a short explanation of the grammar point. The explanation is very, very short. In many cases 2 sentences, and in some cases up to 5. If you feel that that’s not enough, you better get yourself a good grammar reference book. The Dictionaries of Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Japanese for instance.

Each days lesson is then followed by a short test of about 20 questions. It is always the same, choose the correct answer out of 3 items. It is almost a no brainer, because the grammar point is contained in the sentences, and you are basically asked to choose the remaining part. There are 5 questions that ask for the correct grammar point, but they should be easy if you pay attention while learning the days lesson well.

As far as tests go, every 5th lesson contains one of the usual test, and one that tests you on all grammar points learned up to that point. They are a little more difficult, because you have to choose the correct grammar points out of 4 items, which can come from any of the lessons already learned. So, after lesson 5 you will see questions and answers from lesson 1~5, lesson 10 presents you with questions from 1~10, 15 from 1~15 and so on. Other than that there is nothing special to it.

The last part of the book is a mixed match of information, and some additional tests, sentential grammar for instance. Fill in the blanks with correct grammar points, what is する, and one of my favorites, は vs. が. Out of 35 questions I got 3 wrong, well 5, if you count the cases は and が are possible. But other than that very successful. I can’t say that I liked the back part of the book very much, but it isn’t bad either. I just wish that the variety of questions would have been so broad as it is in the back part of the book. Overall I liked working with it, it does a decent job in teaching grammar points, and it was worth a buy.

So much for the Kanzen Master books. Around the second half of the Kanzen Master book, I also started to work with 日本語能力試験N1~N3の重要表現を網羅 どんな時どう使う日本語表現文型500 「改訂版」. This is one of the books I was planning to work through this year. I didn’t expect to be able to work with it, because I expected that working with Kanzen Master, Sou Matome and some of the other books would take weeks if not months. Now, half the way through this book, I feel that it was the right decision. This book, as well as the Kanzen Master books, are written solely in Japanese. There are no translations or anything of that nature.

Every chapter in this book starts off with two short tests, 5 questions each, asking to fill in the blanks with the correct grammar form, and the other 5 questions are sentences, and the task is to choose between A and B. Following are up to 20 grammar points, similar in presentation to Kanzen Master, starting off with N3, N2, N1, and after each lesson there are various tests for either of the levels. For example N3, N3 – N2, N2 – N1, or N3,2,1. Since it is a good exercise, I also learn the N1 grammar, and do the related exercises.

As far as difficulty is concerned, if you can understand 黙っていないで、反対するなり賛成するなり意見を言ってください。 which is a level 1 grammar point なら~なら, でもいい~でもいい, you should be fine. Meaning, “even” at N2 level you should not have any trouble to learn N1 grammar, or to read and understand the grammar points and the explanations given. The formation rules and the explanation for each grammar point are very brief, which is also something that Kanzen Master and this book has in common. But it should be enough to get the point. When it is the only book you are planning to use, or for the purpose of preparing for the JLPT, I would say there are others you should do first. Other than that, there is little reason not to work with it, and learn grammar from it. If need to be with an additional grammar book with some more in-depth explanations.

And here come the good news. Once I’m done with the book, there will be a major release, for those that happen to own it. Not sure whether it will be a deck, or a special .pdf or even a word file, for you to work with. This will also be my ultimately last contribution for this year. When I start with N1 you can expect to see more material, but for now this will be the last one. To tell you the truth, I was already planning to release a similar sort of quiz deck I released last time, but this time for grammar. But seeing how little this really would do, a deck with 1999+ cards only for grammar, I decided to go with this book instead.

In case I still have time, or take the time to do it, you might also get some additional stuff, for instance Kanji in Context, a combined deck of 飛躍 and another advanced book, but this is anything but sure. Not this year anyway, but something to look forward to. Well, so much from my side, and here is another of my media resources for you. The website is called 政府インターネットTV but don’t be misled by the title. You can find a wide range of things to watch, cooking shows, actual topics such as copyright laws, dramas, anime, and so forth. The best thing is, that many of the shows offer subtitles, so you can read along if your listening ability is still low. Just check it out if you look for something to watch.

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