Friday, June 28, 2013

Tax Increases in Japan for 2013 and beyond

Feel that your pay packet is a little lighter these days? Perhaps it is a raise in your insurance, or maybe you bonus is a little smaller. While those maybe  a problem, pesky tax increases (zozei 増税) are also taking effect, so watch your wallet carefully.

After the Great Tohoku Earthquake, the already debt laden Japanese government needed to find a way to cover the monumental costs incurred by this unprecedented natural disaster. In order to help put the Tohoku region back together, a special "reconstruction tax" (fukko tokubetsu-zei 復興特別税) has been added and a planned five percent decrease to the corporate tax rate was scraped.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Official JEES Sample Questions for Revised JLPT (2012)

Since the revised JLPT began, JEES has continued to provide sample problems for the exam on its official website each year. The problems are presented in official style, very similar to what examinees will actually see on the tests themselves. MP3 files are included for actual listening practice. These materials are all freely available from the official JLPT website, and some description of problem types and problem design are available there as well for you to learn about the test designers' intentions.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The JLPT: Online grammar resources

In my experience, biggest cost of studying for the JLPT is not the test fee or even arranging transportation to the test site. Test preparation materials are probably the single biggest expense of an potential Japanese master. Like any good language test, the "standardised testing industrial complex" makes sure that you pay out the nose for all sorts of fancy books and CDs.

However, not everyone has the resources to shell out 3000 yen per book. But that is where the internet comes in. Here are some good websites that provide grammar and vocab resources for (mostly) free.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Forum Full of JLPT Prep Materials

Another Vietnamese source: The forum Tieng Nhat Club appears to contain a wide variety of materials for JLPT study. Both old materials (1~4級対策) and new materials (N1-5対策) are mixed together. The forum requires a registered account to browse threads.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Official JEES Sample Questions for Revised JLPT (2009)

Before the first year of the revised JLPT exam, people were scrambling to find materials to study with. In anticipation, JEES arranged for the release of practice problems similar to what might appear on the new N1-5 style exams.

These problems were made freely available as PDFs and have been mirrored in dozens of locations online--you may have encountered them before, but if not, they are worth a look in your studies. They include examples of all the different test sections for all levels of the test, and they even include audio files and sheets to mark your answers on akin to the real exam answer sheets. (The answers to the problems are provided as well, in separate PDF files.) You can still find all of these files at the official JLPT website.

If that link no longer works, however, you can find the same PDF and audio files mirrored at

Friday, June 14, 2013

The JLPT: Sentence arrangement problems

Seeing as how LP has been busy posting Japanese Language Proficiency Test prep materials, I figured I would make my own small contribution to the world of test preparation with some hints on how to conquer the dreaded "sentence arrangement problems" (bun no tatekumi mondai 文の立て組み問題)found on the higher levels of the JLPT.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

JLPT Practice Problems: Meguro Language Center

The Meguro Language Center is a Japanese language school in downtown Tokyo. In addition to JLPT prep classes in their center, they offer a variety of practice problems and self-assessment tools for JLPT hopefuls. I downloaded and skimmed through all of their freely available materials when I was prepping, and I'm happy to see that they've redesigned and re-released a lot of their materials to reflect the N1-5 test revision.

You can check out the materials on the Meguro Language Center website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A JLPT N1 Practice Test (2010)

In previous articles, we've covered some sources of past JLPT exams for download or sale. Unfortunately, many of the downloadable ones are outdated and do not reflect the redesigned N1-5 style test, and I'd again urge test-takers to take a look at the official past problems available for sale at bookstores or through Amazon.

However, example exams are slowly beginning to spread around the Internet. Today we'll look at another one aimed at you N1 hopefuls, a practice exam put out by a Japanese language school in Seoul. (Unfortunately the listening script is not included.)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Websites for Foriegn TV Shows in Japan

There are many things I love about Japan, but prime time TV is not one of them. Even though I generally prefer time wasting computer games over mind dulling TV, there are times when I long to see some good 'ol Western TV shows.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

JLPT Practice Exams for N1 and N2 (2009, 2010, 2011)

A host of original practice exams are available from Yu Da University in Taiwan. They include all of the relevant sections, including listening with an MP4 file to listen and a listening script for study. Answers also included in separate files.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A Collection of JLPT N2 Example Problems (2010)

The Vietnamese message board Tinh Huong appears to have a copy of a modern example questions for JLPT N2 prep. A PDF and RAR file (containing sound files) are linked on the page in question; the PDF at least has been checked and is legit. The forums appear to load a popup on your first click to an outside site but after that the links function normally.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

JLPT Past Papers: Official

We're coming up on JLPT season again. A few readers have mailed/messaged in about locating past problems, practice exams, or other sources of study. In the past couple years, there was a big scramble because the test design changed and there were no published examples of past or sample exams that test-takers could use for study. That's now no longer the case--there are official publications of past exams.