I am a native speaker of English, and a fluent reader, writer and speaker of Japanese. I passed the highest level on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in 2003. I spend most of my working days translating Japanese documents, but I don’t know everything, so I still study.
My study mainly consists of materials for exams I am planning to take in my specialist translation fields. This year I’m going to take a skincare exam, a cosmetics exam, two mental health in the workplace exams, and a business psychology exam. These are some of the books I am using.
*Update October 2020 – I have decided to take the “Kanji Kentei”, or “test of Chinese characters”. This is an exam for native Japanese speakers and it tests writing ability. It goes from level 10 to level 1. Most adult native speakers start to struggle around level 3 apparently. My target is level 2. The characters tested beyond that are not really in everyday use, and level pre 1st grade and 1st grade have a ridiculously low pass rate. So, I’m starting at level 10, which is really easy. I covered half the book in an hour. I’m going to aim to get level 3 in October 2021, and do levels pre-2 and 2 in 2022.
I am also going to take some pharmaceutical and skincare ingredients exams instead of the mental health management exams. I think they will be more useful for the fields I translate in.
I also read fiction and non-fiction. My favourite fiction writer is Matsumoto Seicho. Here are some of his books. They are mystery and suspense novels written in the 1950s/60s.
And for non-fiction, I enjoy reading books by Nakamura Tempu. Kind of no-nonsense self-help books.
Languages from 2020 – 2023
I am taking the 3rd grade of the HSK Chinese proficiency test in April 2020. I aim to pass the highest level (6th grade) in May 2023.
These are the books I am using. Some of them are in English, and some are in Japanese. Learning another language through Japanese helps improve my Japanese at the same time.
I aim to pass level 1 (the highest level) on the Diplome d’Aptitude Pratique au Francais, which is a test for Japanese speakers, in June 2022. Here are some of the books I am using. I am studying French through English and Japanese, depending on the textbook.
***UPDATE 9th September 2020*** I started doing 15 minutes of Spanish on Duolingo daily, just for the fun of it! I’ll be well prepared by the time I start studying it seriously in 2025!
Languages from 2023 – 2025
I aim to pass the highest grade on the Korean TOPIK exam, and the highest grade on the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language.
Languages from 2025 – 2027
I completed my Master’s degree in Bulgaria, and while I was there, thought the language sounded fascinating. I don’t know of any tests to take though. I aim to pass the highest grade on the Spanish proficiency test conducted in Japan.
Languages from 2027 – 2030
I studied German at school for five years, so I have a head start (well, not really, as I don’t remember anything). I aim to pass the German and Italian proficiency tests conducted in Japan.
Languages after 2030
Arabic, Farsi, Cantonese and…. I haven’t decided yet!