Goals, Jobs, and the JLPT

New Offical Website of The Japanese Language P...

New Offical Website of The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (Photo credit: Rainbowhill LL)

If you’re interested in Japan, you’ve probably already heard of the JLPT. The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, or JLPT for short,  is what it sounds like–a test that measures the Japanese ability of non-Japanese, and about 600,000 people take it every year. The test is divided into five levels, going from N5 (the easiest) to N1 (the hardest).

Typically companies in Japan require foreign workers to hold a certificate at the N1 or N2 level, which is why passing the JLPT N2 has been a goal of mine since I started studying Japanese. But it’s always felt like a far-away goal, something that, even now, would still take a year or two of studying to pass.

This July, I sat for the N2 at a local university. I didn’t expect to pass, but at least I would know how close I was to reaching my goal. Last week, the results were posted. I didn’t pass, as expected, but my score was higher than I thought it’d be. Much higher. My listening score, in particular, kicked some ass. I was floored. For a year I’d been beating myself up about how low my Japanese skills are despite studying for five years, but here I am almost reaching my goal. It was a huge boost of confidence.

I’ve been studying Japanese every day since the results, and I plan to sit for the test again in December, this time with a goal of passing. But… if and when I do pass, it will leave me with a decision to make.

Should I keep teaching English and being miserable but being paid well? Or, do I want enter a different job where I have the chance of actually enjoying what I do? If the latter, I’d have to work twice as long for the same about of pay I’m getting now, which would mean less time to write, which is what I actually want to be doing. I just need a job for the money until I get good enough at writing to hopefully make it a career.

Whatever I decide to do, I hope I’ve learned to have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and that goals might be closer than they seem and are reachable as long as you do the work.



Filed under Japan, Personal

6 responses to “Goals, Jobs, and the JLPT

  1. Awesome good luck. I’d say depending on the job you can make more than English teaching. It might be a little early to say so but now that n2 is in your sights you could probably pass n1 as well

    • Yeah, unless I REALLY enjoy what I do, maybe it’s better to stick with teaching English for now. About the N1, the same thought crossed my mind, but I’ve always thought it’d be a nearly unreachable goal for me, so I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I could be there soon. Pretty crazy. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Learning Japanese in 30 Days – Day 20 | Month Hacker

  3. Month Hacker

    It is getting really tough for me. I thought I’ll be able to do N5 level in a month. But it is next to impossible. Japanese isn’t like other languages with simple letters and sounds. Kanji is the challenge. I’m almost losing hope for even N5. N2 is like a dream right now.

    • Thanks for your comment! Yeah, you really need to be in for the long haul if you want to get good at Japanese. I’ve been studying for five years, which is why I’m finally reaching the N2 level. Good luck with your goals!!

  4. Manjeet Singh

    Hi Jeannette

    Can you teach me English please? I am based in India. How do I reach out to you? Please let me know. I am floored by your writing skills. I want to enhance my reading/writing/spoken abilities. Perhaps we are sailing on the same boat in a way that I have also developed interest in learning Japanese. I am to take N5 Level in December. By reading your blog post, clearing N2 looks like a distant dream. I have enrolled myself here in a local institute in Delhi, the capital city of India. By the way, you must have researched about job prospects after learning Japanese. I am into Digital marketing and especially into Email marketing. Any ideas as to how learning Japanese can help me in the long run. I am doing a 9 to 5 job and does not seem to be satisfied at what I am doing. The job has become monotonous. I am looking forward to doing something challenging, infact where my interest lies. I like interacting with people and want to be very good at English as well. I am doing hard practice to enhance my English writing/speaking skills. Please help me on this front. I will be extremely indebted to you.

    My Skype login Id is manjeetsingh1982@hotmail.com


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