To Boldly Go …

The JLPT is over, what now? Where should the journey go to from now on? How do I continue to learn? Should I simply maintain and improve in weak fields? Or do I just stop learning and just start to enjoy? This array of questions must be what everyone gets haunted by who has taken the test. I’m no exception, because these are the questions I kept asking myself on the way back home. Thinking, hey, I did it! I sat the test, but … what comes next?

I always knew what my goal would be. The JLPT was just a stepping-stone, a big part of my learning career, and now it is out-of-the-way. At this level, or at any level below N1, whether or not it was enough for a pass, there is always another level to take. Some just take the same test again, others give up, because they failed or they lost interest in it all. The JLPT for self-learners poses one question, how much more should I learn? There is always more: More words, the finest nuances of words, grammar points, the most unusual readings for Kanji … In short, no matter how much you learn, there is always so much more yet unknown.

The thing is that there has to be a line that has to be drawn saying: So far, but not any further. And this is the point that somehow troubles me. On the one hand I do want to continue to learn, there are many books I want to work through, just because they are worth doing. On the other hand, there is enough things that are only to be learned through exposure, and I don’t plan to do any marathon sessions just to keep learning. No matter what the outcome of the JLPT will be, either it will be the next step which is N1, or the end of it all for quite some time.

Mind you, all I am talking about here is active learning, not quitting and leaving behind Japanese! I would rather kill myself than abandoning the language altogether. Nevertheless, I will have to find answers to the above questions, and this is what I will give myself some time for in order to make the right decision. Knowing that I have never been learning just for the test, but for a higher goal, even if I decide to quit learning, I still got a good foundation from it. And maybe the most likely thing I will do is to say: To hell with it, I keep learning, no matter what, N1 here I come! But it is a far journey from here to there. My next big step is the invasion of Japan, which involves totally different skills. To make my final decision, I’ll give myself exactly two weeks, in which I just keep maintaining, recharging my batteries, and whatever may come will come anyway.

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