So goes my first attempt at getting a language exchange partner over the internet.
As I said, I began learning Japanese in earnest about four years ago, after returning to the UK from time spent teaching English in a city near Tokyo (千葉県、柏市 for those that are interested).
I joined local classes and bought a bloody great big pile of books and plodded through them, not really making a great deal of headway. No surprises really. What is shocking is I have the perfect learning resource at home - a Japanese family (English is the minority language in the home!) But for the same reason that you should never learn to drive with members of your own family (in my case arguements with Mum, Dad just going to sleep) so it goes that learning to speak another language is best left to professionals. You correct a little grammar mistake ("No, back is not a verb, you 'go back'") and before you know it, the pots and pans are flying and international treaties are being torn up.
So I studied for the JLTP4 with a buddy from classes. We did okay - passed at least and probably learnt more in those intensive sessions than we did in our pleasant but aimless classes.
Then along came a new job opportunity, a professional qualification to study for and /boom/ there went the Japanese learning. That was back in 2003 that I got L4 and I meant to get L3 both the last years, but it never happened. This year it seemed to get the final nail in the coffin when that study buddy damn well went and landed a job editing a new English language science journal in Tokyo. He won't be needing our sessions anymore...
However, I'm in the learning game - I write those on-line courses you do when you join a new company, if they're switched on. Next year I need to do another qualification, maybe a Masters or something, so I gotta get the JLTP3 outta the way, and fast. I have a little under six months to try and get myself through L3. Should be possible.
I have at my disposal a plethora of resources: those aforementioned books; the amazing by-products of the work of Jim Breen, in particular the dictionary; the really (for me) exciting development of podcasting, in particular J-Pod 101; the amazingly detailed grammar guides of Tae Kim and J-gram and innumerable kanji sites and additional resources that various people have thrown in to the mix.
So what's this site about? Well, it's about me using one of these things (a blog) as a notebook. The old MS IME is another useful tool, so I may as well exploit all of it if I can.