TOPIK Challenge!

Hello again!

I decided to take the 43rd TOPIK I in November, so I registered for it. I wanted to take TOPIK II, but right now I’m at a stage where TOPIK I is too easy and TOPIK II is too hard. Also, I’ve never taken the test before so I wished to get used to the format first.  That’s why I plan to take the 44th TOPIK II in January 2016.

My first goal is to pass level 2 with at least 90 points in each part of the test. My second goal (TOPIK II) is to score at least 100 points and even though it doesn’t mean I will pass any level, it means a lot for me. However, if I do pass I will be extremely happy. My main problem is vocabulary because I haven’t found yet a method that fits what I “should” learn.  I’m a more analog learner so I need pieces of paper and write to my heart’s content.  For now, I’m going to try to follow this method and hopefully, I will be able to write here about my results or process.

Any suggestions on learning and remembering new words in the long term?


Book Haul May-August 2015

This one was super overdue.

In late May, I started a Japanese course back home and we used Japanese for Busy People I and since my professor knew I could read Kana, she told me to get the Kana edition. I also bought Basic Japanese Kanji vol. 1 (which I noticed it is sold out online).  It covers 205 Kanji, and it has an interactive CD-ROM; the CD has reading quizzes, printable Kanji Flash Cards, and some other exercises. It is also under 20USD so it’s even better (I bought it for $14 online)


I love how Japanese for Busy People is quite simple to follow and it has a lot of writing exercises using and adding the grammar and core points of the lesson. The only thing I wish it had is an audio solely focusing on the vocabulary presented. Below are some pages of the 1st lesson:


On the left are the grammar points and on the right the dialog and vocabulary. They also add notes below the vocabulary for explaining briefly culture or grammar.


Writing Exercises and new vocabulary


What I like about Basic Japanese Kanji is that first they give you some mnemonics, and the most used words as well as common compound words. Every two Kanji, you get a short reading section using those Kanji as well as others and get a reading comprehension quiz. Mayor drawbacks are: it has no on-yomi, kun-yomi readings and if you are just starting (like me) then you don’t have much vocabulary so it can be a bit hard. On the other hand, it is good for acquiring vocabulary and excellent for reading.


At the end of the chapter (10-14 Kanji), you get a chapter test. This photo of the first test but as you go learning, it all becomes Japanese. Overall, I think it is a really good book to learn Kanji and use them actively through reading simple things. I do hope they keep adding volumes and fix some of the mistakes in this book.

While I was in Busan, I went to a Bookstore in 부산대 (also went to another one in Shinsegae) and bought:

The latest 3 volumes of 밤을 걷는 선비 and a book for learning Japanese.

I should add that the Korean drama and the manhwa are loosely related. I was really disappointed in it so I stopped watching it.


Sorry for the bad quality!


It is super colorful, but that’s a trademark of most Korean language books. I plan to complement it with both my Korean studies and Japanese for Busy people because it starts with Kanji so I feel it’s more natural. Although, the Kanji has furigana at first, the book stops giving it when the word is one from a previous chapter or is in the exercise section.


Kana and vocabulary


The last 2 books were given for free during my TaLK National Orientation.


You can find the e-book version for free at:

That’s it for now!

Returned from the Land of the Dead

Hello, again!~~~~

I’ve been MIA for some time now, but I think that’s always the case with me. Some of you may know I’m currently living in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Korea (and will be for sure for at least 6 months) as an English teacher through the TaLK Program.

Speaking about TaLK, I received the acceptance notice on July 1st, so I spent most of that month running around getting everything I needed and making arrangements with the bank, closing accounts or paying bills. I arrived on July 29th in Seoul and was there for about 4 days before I headed down to Busan for the TaLK National Orientation together with other fellow scholars. I met a lot of new people and I liked that everybody was friendly towards everyone, but sometimes it felt a bit clique-like and because I’m the only one from Puerto Rico, I felt a bit lost because I don’t quite fit anywhere XD. On the other hand, that made sure that I was surrounded by  diverse people all the time.

I also had a Provincial Orientation, which lasted three days. I had a blast, but it was also exhausting because of all the things we did. We went to a temple, bowed 108 times (I thought my knees would give out) and immediately went for a hike of 1 hour -oneway-. Next day, I couldn’t even bend my knees or get down at all and I was like that for a whole week. School-wise, I’ve been working for two weeks but teaching for just one. I won’t say I’m an excellent teacher, but I can say I’m finding my feet in the classroom.

I do plan to keep writing about this experience, next time I will go more in-depth about the National Orientation.

PS. you’ve might have noticed that I’m writing short stories (more like reflexions about certain things) and posting them here, I hope you have enjoyed them ^^.