2 In Korean learning journey (:/ TOPIK

57th TOPIK II Experience and tips

It’s the mandatory TOPIK experience post again. Probably my 5th! It’s so surreal how fast time passes and it’s already my 5th time taking TOPIK. For readers who like to ask why I would spend money to re-take it every two years, I just like to keep my certificate valid as I would never know when I need it. It’s also an activity that I look forward to every two years (ya I love taking language tests!!), and more importantly, it’s a timemarker for me. Reminding me that yet another 2 years have passed 🙂

For those who are keen to read about the details of TOPIK II can refer to this post.

TOPIK was more fun this year cos Weixin took it with me ?. HSK last year and TOPIK this year. Heh we are language test buddies.

LISTENING

Don’t think I did very well at the start because it took me a while to ease into the exam mode, so I kinda spaced out in the beginning. But as usual, I found it very helpful to read ahead for the questions when the dialogue repeats for the 2nd time. So I would read two sets ahead to make sure that I have a sense of what the next (next) dialogue is about, as well as what to look out for even before the audio.

WRITING

It was definitely worth it to prepare for the “graph description” section. I found it a lot more manageable after reading several sample essays. Usually you will start off by stating which organisation conducted the survey (and what is it about), followed by 결과에 따르면 LOL.

READING

Reading was pretty .. dare I say.. easy this time round. Must caveat that it doesn’t mean I would do well. ? At least I didn’t have any 멘붕 moments. Given past experience, I knew that I would definitely be able to finish the reading section within time limit, so I didn’t deliberately rush and speed-read my way through. I tried to make the effort to read through all options to reduce the possibility of careless mistakes.

Overall, thought it was a manageable paper. (:

3 In Korean learning journey (:

Rediscovery

Rediscovering my love for Korean novels 🙂

What better way to start than to re-read my favourite novel! It’s been 5 years or more since I bought the 3-novel set, and actually I think I’ve only finished the first two books, and was halfway through the third novel.

Seems like just yesterday when I was writing about how much I love these books. It’s quite interesting to re-read again. I still stumble over pretty much the same words that I highlighted a few years ago, but I’m also a much faster reader than before.

Perhaps it’s because I read non-fiction more often, but I do find myself being unfamiliar with a lot of the descriptive verbs and onomatopoeia that’s common in novels. Time to build up the vocabulary bank again 🙂

Listening to Sodagreen while typing this (and taking a short break from the novel). Feeling happy and at ease 🙂

Taking TOPIK again this coming Sunday. It’s become a time marker of some sort, reminding me that two years have passed yet again. If I look at things positively, I think I’ve come a long way to push my limits and take on different challenges. A less positive way of looking at things… I’m getting further and further from where I envisioned myself to be. That is something for another post 😛

Right now, I just want to immerse myself in the book and enjoy reading.

Till the next post.

To the silent reader, yes that’s you, maybe it’s time for a comment? 🙂

1 In Korean learning journey (:/ Others / General

Kang Dong Won Fanmeeting ❤️

A dream come true.

Those who know me or read my blog may know that Kang Dong Won is my allllll-time favourite actor. One thing on my bucket list is to see him in real life. I got v close to doing it in 2015, when a Korean friend managed to get premiere screening tickets for the movie군도 when I was in Korea. But it was cutting too close to my return flight so I had to give up the opportunity. And there’s always that lingering sense of regret.

So it was extra special this time that I got to see him in a small fanmeeting here in Singapore and managed to get front row seats too!!! Kudos to UWeekly and Zaobao for organising! And the host was great too (: A good host is v important!

Seeing KDW in real life is just so … cool 🙂 I’ve always read fan accounts of how his proportions are so out of the world/how he is sooo good looking etc, so it’s nice to finally see him in person. And yes he is v handsome ?. But what struck me was probably how good his English was and on top of everything, suddenly he became a language inspiration to me too. ?

Seeing him in real life actually triggered a lot of memories. I was acutely reminded of how hard I was working towards my dreams a couple of years ago. Of my younger and more motivated self. I was strongly reminded of how I was trying very hard to read his interviews in Korean last time, searching up new words and how I always felt so excited whenever he was featured in High Cut (with all the lengthy and in-depth interviews!). ☺️☺️☺️

I received a lot of positive energy yesterday and I am very glad I went for it. Hopefully I’ll get to see him in real life again someday, maybe in Korea this time.

13 In Russian

Hello Russian!

Welcoming another new language to my life 🙂

I started Korean in 2008 and re-started Japanese in 2012. Can’t quite believe it’s been 10 and 6 years since then.

When I mentioned on Insta that I was going to learn Russian, I was quite surprised by how the main reaction was “HUH THIS IS SO RANDOM”. Actually, it’s not that random. I’ve always wanted to learn Russian someday, just that I didn’t get down to doing it till now.

It was probably on a random whim that I actually got down to learning half the alphabet on my own a couple of months ago, but I realised that I really couldn’t find the motivation and discipline to do all 3 languages on my own. So I contemplated taking classes and one fine day this week (lol), I decided to Google for suitable classes and woohoo I found something that fit perfectly (must be fate!). So I signed up the very next day and went for my first Russian lesson a few days later! Hahaha talk about spontaneous decisions 🙂

While I do believe in making measured decisions, sometimes it’s really all these spontaneous decisions that turn out to be awesome choices in life. That was also how I got into Korean and Japanese language. Random decisions. 🙂

Thanks Gil for the notebook! 🙂 I used it immediately!

I have two notebooks for Russian now – one for class and one for self-study. Although I’m taking classes, I’m not planning to rely entirely on them to progress and hopefully I can still find some time to self-study 🙂

Till next time! 🙂

6 In Japanese learning journey (:/ Korean learning journey (:/ N1 Journey

Japanese and Korean learning log – March 2018

Hello everybody! 🙂 It’s been a long while on the blog but I’m glad I managed to have a quiet and productive afternoon to myself and the languages. I often get asked how I manage to find time for language study all these years, as I transit from being a student to a working adult. It’s difficult, and most of the time I’m also struggling to find that balance between what I need to do and my hobbies. In the end, it boils down to priorities and to me, language study is a form of enjoyment and therapy and hence I take the effort to squeeze time out for it.

I don’t know if it sounds strange, but I’m most at ease when immersed in the world of languages :).

Korean

New books give me motivation and hence I’m always adding to my collection of unfinished books 😛 I try to read as widely as possible in Korean and hence I tend to buy the most random books in Korean. (Such as books on FinTech and law). The most recent addition to the collection is a textbook on Theories on Public Administration 😛 I just love the idea of challenging myself to difficult texts and recently, I’m quite into academic texts hahaha. I don’t speak Korean at all in my daily life, so I’m trying to maintain language proficiency by reading as and when I can. It’s difficult to set goals in the advanced level and sometimes I feel a little lost (and unmotivated) when progress is less obvious (compared to the beginner and intermediate level). That said, I’m working on a few things right now: (i) to highlight fewer words in texts; and (ii) to improve reading stamina and concentration.

Japanese

I barely did anything for Japanese in the past year and I’m suffering the consequences ><. I can clearly feel that my Japanese reading ability has been negatively impacted so I’m working slowly and steadily to build it up again. I bought a couple of new books (motivation :P), which I’ll share again in a separate post. But I’m sooo happy that today, I managed to sit down and really learn a couple of grammar points. Can’t remember the last time I concentrated so well in a long while.

Sharing my staple grammar books for now!

  • Kanzen Master (Grammar) N2 – Love this series!!
  • Japanese Grammar Dictionary – Got the Korean version instead! I believe they have it in several languages
  • Handbook on Japanese Grammar – It’s actually a book for people teaching Japanese to intermediate/advanced learners

The last book is a new (sort of) addition to the collection. I really like it as it goes into the nuances of the grammar point and how it differs from other similar grammar structures. While the one in the middle works more like a dictionary, with more sample sentences. Will blog about these two books next time! (Remind me)

It’s a good language-learning day :’)

0 In Others / General

Phases of interest

Hello, blog. It has been a while.

I’ve learnt long ago that life works in funny ways and at least personally, things never quite seem to go the way I want them to be. Project #2018282, which was supposed to be the highlight of the year, is not going to happen. The surprising thing is that I decided it on my own volition.

Overall, it doesn’t seem like a bad outcome. In fact, I was actually quite happy about it (in some sense). Instead of living for tomorrow, I’m now able to live in the present and this change of mindset was a welcomed one.

While having goals and dreams is a great thing, sometimes I find that I’m just too consumed by it, that I lose sight of what I have, what’s around me, and what I need to do at the present moment.

While I might sing a different tune later in the year, this post will remind me of how I felt 🙂 and that everything will be ok.

Now that I got it out of my system temporarily, I’m now better able to really focus on doing what I need to do at this point in time. To stop seeing things as transient (and hence inconsequential) and really learn to face things head on.

I should also learn some new things! 🙂 Well, not necessarily “helpful skills” (urgh I cannot concur with the idea of choosing to only learn stuff that’s helpful – what does it even mean), but rather things that I love and enjoy. A lifelong passion can start from perhaps a random thought, a moment of interest (which you don’t quite know if it would last) or chanced upon accidentally.

Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong or bad with having random phases of interest. There are some which you will forget before you even embark on it, some that will fizzle our after a couple of weeks or months, and some that will follow you through life. What’s important is that you give it a chance and you dared or chose to do something about it 🙂

While we tend to scoff at those who don’t have the “willpower” or “determination” to see things through, these days I think I admire their courage to start.

So I shall start too. 🙂