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Drafonis

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I would like to learn enough Japanese to go achieve JLPT1-level proficiency, but I realized that that'll be hard without practicing with Japanese speakers. Unfortunately, the area I live in is predominately Hispanic and Eastern European, so that's out of the question.

I decided that maybe I should get a Japanese tutor. I have textbooks (the Living Language Beginner Japanese book) and interactive learning CDs (the EuroTalk series), and am willing to go for about $20/class, but I need to know exactly how much the price would be, as I am on financial constraints and my parents agreed only if I were to earn the money myself.

I live in Sayreville, New Jersey (by East Brunswick).
 

Glenn

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I guess it depends on your area, but one guy who lives near me said that a university professor wanted $75/hr for private lessons. However, that's the only figure that I've heard, so I don't know how it falls in the overall scheme of things. There is some software that works like a phone that enables you to talk long distances, and one of the forum regulars uses it to practice his Japanese. I don't remember too much about it, though, so I guess we'll just have to wait for him to come in.
 

Fantt

Envious of Nabeshin's Fro
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You can always do like I'm doing - just keep studying and learning the best you can until the opportunity presents itself to work with some native speakers. It will come along eventually.
 

Elizabeth

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The tutor I'm with now is $20.00 an hour, but I've worked with university students in the 12-13$ range and naturally if you can find someone who needs help with their English as well you may be able to swing it for even less.
 

rakuten

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Are you aware that JLPT Level 1 is the highest grade you can achieve and permits you to study at any Japanese University? Actually JLPT Level 1 is not a guarantee but a condition of admission, similar to the TOEFL. Learning Japanese has become quite popular, and a lot of people I know do it as a hobby. Some of them studied for 3-4 years, but Level 1 is still far from reach. Level 1 requires all 1'945 jouyou kanji and 10'000 vocabulary items.

Don't misunderstand this, I want to encourage people to learn the language. But many are not aware (and waste money for nothing), that it's quite different from learning French, Italian, German or any other language which is somehow related to celtic/roman languages.

Best would be to live in Japan as the learning curve is by far the highest, but for most this is not an option. Secondly, I recommend to study Japanese at University. Usually these students achieve Level 1 after graduation or a little later. You can also study by yourself, but you need A LOT of self-discipline! You're gonna need lots of well selected books, and a teacher/friends who can explain what's not in the books. Mangas, animes, literature and newspaper are not recommended in the beginning.
Learn the language, study seriously and see how you progress - then take level 4 or 3. From there, level 1 is not so far away anymore. It's better to learn/repeat 10 minutes every day instead of learning for 2 hours on Sunday evening.

A friend who graduated from university last year, succeeded shortly after in JLPT Level 1. As a university student you are also allowed to study one year abroad, so you can officially study Japanese in Japan! And just recently another friend came back from a 16 month practical training. His level is higher than that of people who studied here for 3-4 years (not university students). On the other hand, his writing/grammar skills are not that good.

Good luck to you!
 
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Emoni

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Ya, JLPT 1 is darn hard to get from what I have read so far. My goal really is to pass JLPT 2 someday, maybe 1 later on.

Nothing wrong with goals, and I don't know your skill level, but for now just keep studying and take JLPT 3 and 2. In order to get there I recomend you take college Japanese courses. These are where you really start to learn Japanese. You may find you don't really need 1.

Good luck to you! If you pass level 1 someday, that is one heck of a milestone!
 

Scrivener

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My progress to level 1:
Starting from nothing (well actually a few evening classes), I went to Japan on the JET program and taught English for two years.
By the end of that I had conversational Japanese but not many Kanji.
Then I studied kanji pretty hard over the summer and went to university half-time after that. I could go straight into about third-year university level.
After that I got a scholarship to study in Japan and went back for one year (there are lots of scholarships around, the Japanese love Westerners to come over and learn about Japan). I spent a lot of that time drinking beer and reading manga, but also studying Japanese.
At the end of that year I passed level one having not done any of the other JLPT levels beforehand.
So starting from nothing it took me four years, three of them living in Japan.
Anyway I don't know if that is any use, but that is about how much it takes to get level one JLPT. (I got a good mark, about 85% 👍 <--boasting now)

Anyway, to go on topic for a second, JLPT is all about reading and listening. You don't necessarily need a language partner if your only goal is JLPT. There are a lot of great textbooks made specifically for JLPT, but you might need someone in Japan to send you them.
 

Drafonis

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Oops, sorry for the confusion I caused. I meant JLPT level 4, not 1.
 

Fantt

Envious of Nabeshin's Fro
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I've made the same mistake (though not on the forum) several times. It's kinda counter-intuitive...
 

rakuten

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Well that explains a lot 😌
I hope we didn't bash you down with our posts...
Level 4 is pretty easy to master from what I've heard.
100 kanji and 800 words are required, that should be really easy even if you're a lazy bum ;-)

I don't think it's necessary to be able to speak at that level.
Focus on the vocabulary and the writing system first, then do listening comprehension and finally get one of these JLPT exam booklets (with CD) to prepare with.

See examples here:
http://www.nihongolessons.com/program.html (and forget about magazines or newspapers, not advisable before level 2 or 1)

JLPT:
http://momo.jpf.go.jp/hiroba/e/about_e.html

JLPT tests your "Japanese ability skills" concerning reading and understanding, grammar and some listening comprehension.
No need to communicate (interact) with someone, though it would be helpful (and nice) to have a Japanese (girl)friend.

And don't mix up the levels when you apply for the test :giggle:

Ganbare!

And to Scrivener: kanshin, kanshin! omedetou! 👍 :haihai:
 
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