I have been working on several projects I happily imposed on myself at the beginning of this year. I wanted to complete a translation, J to E, of a short story, about 80 pages long, for my own pleasure, and I somehow managed to accomplish it. It was terribly hard and I often wondered why I have to do this in the first place. No matter how much time I consume my precious time in the translation, all I can gain in the end is a feeling of self-satisfaction, but no physical gain such as salary. I was about to give up on it in halfway.
But I realized that translating whatever I like, even the material is not informative or intellectual, it can boost my fluency and increase my active English vocabulary. It's extremely helpful when I write a mail to my friends abroad or blog entries in English. I have about 40 pages of translation in my hand and I'm genuinely proud of myself. ^^
Now, what shall I do next? I want to do something more practical and it would be better if I can share my fun with some friends. I tried to find friends, who're willing to work on a translation project as recreation with me, but I was out of luck so far. I had no particular idea up until a few days ago.
I was least expecting, but I got a new thought at the Tadoku class in high school the other day. Two students came to me and asked if I'm familiar with some English tests such as TOEIC, TOEFL and SAT. There are not many but some students who have experiences having studied or stayed abroad. For those students, it seems Tadoku approach, extensive reading, appeals better than other ordinary classes, grammar oriented or lecture only classes.
I'm strongly against challenging those tests when you have no concrete purpose and reason to take the tests. It's dreadful to see so many Japanese, who once was devastated to study English with difficult textbooks at school and lost their confidence to use English, again start to do the same hopelessly absurd and only painful practice of English learning.
However when you have a clear idea why you have to undertake studying for the test and what you're going to do after the test, then I believe the time you spend preparing for the test can be beneficial in the future when you study at Univ. or work in a company.
So, well it seems I've spent needlessly quite long before I go into the main issue, but I started to learn more about TOEFL and SAT. I'm not a bit interested in TOEIC, though. I think TOEIC evaluates not your English ability but rather your shrewdness or something...
I have no idea which books are the best, so I checked the amazon USA reviews and bought these textbooks for a starter. Suggestions are always welcome!