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Test Your Japanese Might: Final Stage — 26 Comments

  1. Well I guess I can say I’m around level 65…the part about the satellite’s capabilities was pretty crazy!

    I tried 90/99 and actually understood maybe half of #2 and bits and pieces of the rest…just goes to show that even at much lower levels you can still inflict SOME damage on those million HP super bosses before they waste you!

  2. I think it’s important to note also, that most *native* Japanese speakers will never achieve legendary status as well. How many average Japanese people are taking the bar exam or discussing obscure works of classical literature? That’s why what you said about most people being content with levels 65-80 is true. It’s because that’s what level 99% of the functioning adults in Japan are operating at- and that level is just fine with me.

  3. I certainly don’t consider myself a native speaker, yet I managed to understand everything without even using an electronic dictionary?

    Speaking of which, there’s nothing “business” about lvl50, as well, from my opinion. It’s just some regular texts which aren’t hard at all. Second-year students translate those kind of texts at my university, for example.

    Considering the above, maybe you should add move levels before reaching classical literature?

    • Your university is very impressive. Must have a good program, because my university’s second year students would hardly be able to reach level 20.

  4. “Fluent” seemed pretty normal- just stuff that shows up in newspapers or journal articles (or maybe a more well-written wiki). Didn’t really feel difficult or high-level. “Native” was basically specialized technical vocab so might have been a little unfamiliar to people who hadn’t seen that particular subject before. But Japanese compound words are easier to figure out the first time than English simply by breaking them down, so even never-encountered vocab can be understood in the first go. I guess I was kind of expecting something more epically amazing with these, but they ended up pretty tame.

    The “Master” stuff roadblocked me, full of words using familiar kanji with unfamiliar readings (subject of all those 大人の漢字 books you see in the used bookstores). Knowing the character’s basic meaning doesn’t help much since the different reading indicates a less obvious nuance. I got my game over here, since these always screw me up in real life too…

    Interesting test all in all.

    (Low 80s, lived in Japan since 2007 with some university here too. Probably 9 years of study.)

  5. Level 62.
    That was a fun read!

    I don’t consider myself passed due to not being able to pronounce a few words in the “fluent” section (I knew every word in the level 50 test, coincidentally), and the possibility of misinterpreting things – which I have no way of telling.

    That said, by the nature of a reading test, this is very skewed towards a person who knows Chinese. From the level guide, I consider myself “proficient” – around level 30. After all, I have never been to Japan and cannot hold any sophisticated conversation; I would not consider myself anywhere close to fluent. However, I could even pick out many pieces of level 80 (and of course I completely died on the last level).

    I had studied Japanese for 4 years in high school in Canada, mostly time-wasting imo. I started SRS’ing last year, which means around 1.5 years of SRS for me, accumulating N2 grammar and approximately 6k vocab, and I took the N2 last week (hopefully passing).

    Also, don’t think that 17 year olds won’t know about nuclear reactor or the constitution! Not especially for people who read a lot =)

  6. Level 65. Anything above that, I could understand bits and bobs, but too many unknown words. I had fun doing this! It was a good way to gauge my reading level.

  7. Meh, I think I did mediocre. Last time I took the test April 2012, I was around level 45, and I think I’ve only gained about 10 levels. So around 55.

    I passed level 50, but on the level 65 test, I went like this.

    First one was around 70%
    Second was around 60%
    Third was around 40%

    I think I did pretty bad, for my own standards.
    So I guess I’m around level 55 or so.

    Lately I’ve been reading a lot, around 900 pages in the past 9-10 days so far, from the tadoku contest. I’ve always neglected reading, I have dozens of japanese books but I barely read them before.

    But after I saw the Tadoku contest, my mentality has changed on reading, and with my new attitude, and at my current rate, I will have read around 2500-3000 pages by the end of this month. And by the end of this years summer it will be around 20,000 or so pages, so I believe that will be my long term “antidote” for Japanese suckness for now. Obviously, I’m not going to stop after this years summer, but I’m starting senior high school next year (Grade 11 in America) which has a lot more Japanese people, and I already communicate with them on facebook and such, but I’ve never talked to them in real life.

    I want to be at least around the “fluent” level when I meet them in real life, because I don’t really want to be known as the guy who has ‘ok’ Japanese, but the guy who speaks at least ‘good’ Japanese. And of course, on the internet it is a lot easier to make it seem like you are better that you really are. People on the internet say I speak “too good to be a foreigner” or “feel like i’m talking to a Japanese” or “you’ve had to have lived in Japan for a while” but of course that is just an illusion.

    I think (pretty sure) that I speak naturally, considering I waste most of my time talking on chat sites with Japanese people and karaokeing to some Hiphop, which is known to bend the language in a way flows. Maybe that is what creates an illusion that I am better than I am?

    Continuing at this rate, hopefully by the end of this years summer I’ll have reached level 65 at least.

    Either way, my “stats” if you will.

    Total time studied so far: 26 months give or take
    Method: Mass immersion. Barely any english remains in my non-education life. Movies, anime, music, manga, etc as close to 24/7 as I can get it.

    Anki
    Sentences: Anki sentence deck is around 6200 cards.
    Kanji: Well it’s just the RTK deck that came with Anki.

    • Wow, nice dedication on reading and immersion. It took me 2.5 months to read 1000 pages worth of text

  8. Level 70ish, I guess?

    About 1-2 unknown words per text for lvl 65.
    Too many unknown words for the lvl 80 one. I could read the 3rd text without much difficulty (looked up 3 words), but the first text was too technological and the second one had too many unknown terms (I got the gist of it, but too many lookups for it to be anything but a failure).

    However, I disagree a bit on the choice of text for the last level. I could read the second text quite easily, and most of the other texts are not as advanced or classical as you’d expect… They were on par with 森鴎外: got the grammar, but too many old words… still, not exactly classical level. I’m sure a well-educated Japanese person could read them just fine.

    Stats: 2 years of dawdling around at absolute beginner level + 2 years of intense study. No real method and no mass immersion.

  9. A year after finishing RTK, plus a year and a half of faffing around, and I’d put myself probably high 50’s, low 60’s. I wouldn’t say I understood everything in part three of the last section of the level 50 test, and I was struggling at times in part one of level 65 here.

    Method: nothing concrete, but nothing out of the ordinary.
    Anki: 1700 cards (deleted around 1000) + RTK1 pre-made and slightly edited deck.

  10. Looks like I’m about level 60. Not too bad for 4 years of studying. To be fair though, my reading/writing is superior to my speaking/listening, so maybe I should roll back a couple of levels. These days I’m mainly studying by reading manga, novels, playing games, watching TV/movies, just trying to immerse myself. I have been working in a Japanese company for a few months, so that helps.

  11. I’m guessing I’m about level 60. I understood about 40% of level 65 in general, but my vocab is pretty weak. I’ve been studying Japanese since 2007, in college classes and dabbling in various methods (Anki, study immersion etc) and I’ve lived and worked in Japan for a few years. I stopped using Anki because once you fall behind in reviews it’s impossible to catch up. Has anyone at these advanced levels found Anki to be significantly helpful?

    • I’m at level 75 and still use it. It’s such a minimal time commitment to review, yet keeps me from forgetting the less common words, and is a constant reminder of new ways to say things in my speech.

      I haven’t added a new card in almost a year and a half though.

  12. I’m around level 60ish in that read-only test. My ability to speak is probably in the low 40’s.
    Technically i started in February 2009 (a month before my very first trip to Japan) but i stagnated around level 20 until march 2011 when i decided to stop using textbooks and go full immersion (props to Adshap and “mr all fun”). Reading the previous comments, it looks like almost every japanese learner went through that phase were you spend a long time to learn close to nothing then they suddenly “get it” and their level skyrockets.
    Textbook always promise you that “this time it will work and with minimal efforts!111!!” but they can only get you that far, keep your money to empty a book off the day you go to Japan.

  13. Why is there furigana in the fourth sample text of the highest level? For example 須すべからく、透とおる、尽ことごとく. I think you should find a version without such reading aids:
    参禅は須く祖師の関を透るべし。
    妙悟は心路を窮めて絶せんことを要す。
    祖関透らず心路絶せずんば、
    尽く是れ依草附木の精霊ならん。etc

    or even leave it as a 漢文 to make it even more challenging.
    参禅須透祖師関。
    妙悟要窮心路絶。
    祖関不透心路不絶、
    盡是依草附木精霊。etc

    I don’t understand the text, but why spoil the fun for the few that may actually be able to read it.

  14. That’s fantastic, some months ago I took the test and past the level 40 and understand about one sentence of the 50, and now I almost passed the level 65! I’m very close to fluency, now I’m going to focus hard on:

    -Listening, to make that skill as good as my reading
    -Speaking, my speaking is around level 40. I can speak well but not for a long time, and my vocab is to simple considering my passive vocab, so it’s time to polish it
    -(extensive) reading, to be able to read almost as fast as a native

    Considering all those things I guess I’ll put my overall progress about lv 60. I already have a hell of vocab, time to make it flow, I can already see the end of the race, I fell like I already own this language, I just need to take it

  15. Pretty much full comprehension until 80+, where I’m unfamiliar with a lot of technical language. Then again, I can still guess most of the meaning. That’s the power of Kanji for you.

    Another way to measure these things would be with reading/comprehension speed. Maybe get some educated native Japanese to read a bunch of text and time it. Then compare your time. I just finished grad school in Japan, and I found that above all it was speed of comprehension which really caused me a lot of stress, as opposed to knowing or not knowing this or that word. With English I can rip through paragraphs at blinding speed, and you take that ability for granted. Truth is though that it takes years and years of heavy reading to develop.

  16. I am Kanon from above. I think I can understand most of level 80 now. Certainly the kanji presented no difficulty. As noted by Daniel, I am quite a bit slower compared to reading easier texts or reading in English for example, and some of the literature I’m reading are surprisingly hard to understand despite passing this test, both of which show that I still have some way to go before reaching native level. Obviously the solution is just to read more that’s all. I’ll definitely have to participate in the tadoku contest and jack up the volume…

    On the other hand I don’t think I will spend the effort to reach master level reading. There are more important things to work on like my comparably bad listening and speaking. I want to be able to understand news and anime at least. Besides I’m not too interested in classical stuff.

  17. Third text in the fluent category, and that’s it for me. Haven’t really read anything about that kind of topic before, resulting in a comprehension at about… 70%? The texts before that one was easy enough. In any case, I’m okay the result. Funnily enough, I didn’t really have any trouble with the text in the native category. Finally found a use for 頚椎, never thought that was going to happen. That’s what you get from not stopping to branch when you run across obscure terminology, even though you clearly don’t have any use for it.

    I have been studying for about 1 and a half years, so I think it’s quite a decent result. The time spent is equivalent to 50+ new words a day average, and the reading required to do that. To keep this up, I did have to skip between different subjects, books and texts, when they became to easy. Not incredibly fun, but effective.

    I must, however, confess, that my listening skill sucks (ass), and my speaking and writing skill is next to not existent – i have never trained those two. And I’m pretty bad at reading katakana (remember folks, always learn the basics first).

  18. I got to around level 78. I tried up to 90 and started having problems following the context. Its definitely nice to see other ideas for tests instead of the JLPT/BJT. I’ve been studying Japanese for 13 years and lived in Japan for a year. I can definitely say that most people will not push themselves to get up into the 90s level. Many people that I’ve met who study classical literature in Japanese have specialized dictionaries for help. I’m impressed with the challenges you gave. Thank you.

  19. I’m not exactly sure what you’re referencing by “Classical Literature.” Do you mean kogo? If so, you can start studying kogo at whatever level, since it is a dead language and the grammar is totally different than Modern Japanese. I admit, it’ll be hard to learn outside of an academic setting where there are scant resources for self-teaching. But it’s basically learning a totally different language. You’d even have to buy a totally different dictionary (a kogojiten MJ–>Kogo) If you were to ask any Japanese Joe-Schmoe to read the first paragraph of the Tale of Genji–or even the first line of Ise Monogatari–they could probably read it out loud, but they wouldn’t know what it means (even though kogo is usually pretty straight forward and syntactically simple, especially early monogatari).

    Taisho-era Japanese, on the other hand, is considered Modern Japanese but it’s really conflated, stuffy and hard to read. So to set ALL Classical Japanese Literature at such a high and almost unachievable level is kind of discouraging (and misleading at the least, imho). You need to specify what era of Japanese literature you’re referring to.

    That’s like saying learning Middle English is level 90 of English proficiency. Middle English is a dead language and NOT Modern English, and also usually pretty simple to read once you know the language.

    (I completed an translation of an early Kamakura-jidai wakashuu as my undergraduate thesis when I was around level 70).

  20. Level 65 pretty much 99% but still don’t feel like I’m near fluency, still nice test and a good confidence boost. Level 80 is readable but a few words stand out that I don’t know, however I can roughly guess the meaning but still had to look them up.

    Duration of study: 1 year and 1-2 months
    Consistency: Full hard core immersion (besides University in English)
    Methods: Essentially ajatt, heisig first, loads of reading, loads of listening and loads of sentences in anki.

  21. Bloody hell…I’m level 65 in understanding, however I can barely string a sentence together to save my life :O

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