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Struggling with my Minna no Nihongo Chuukyuu II

#1
Hi there!

I used to study with the Minna no Nihongo Chuukyuu I last year, so I took the second one to finish the serie. But so far I'm not really happy with it... I used to read a lot because I like book and stuff, so the reading part seems a little bit too easy. But the listening part is really difficult for me. As I am still a student (but I study Japanese alone in France), I'm not really familiar with the bussiness thing, and it is really confusing for me to listen japanese in a job context. I'm sure I should really work on that listening part. But I really don't like these audio tracks, and when I'm struggling at the 3rd listening to understand the main point I'm really really frustrated. I don't think it is really healthy.

I was wondering if switching of method of learning could be a solution. As I was thinking to take the JLPT 2 in December, the Kanzen Master series could be a solution. But maybe they are a little bit too text axed? (like with some obscure stuff we don't really see when reading/ listening). For my level, I'm nearly sure I already have more that I'm roughly between a N3-N2 level (with a little advance in kanji). I can understand easily most of easy everyday japanese (like Love Live without subs or some not-very complicated japanese as in some japanese TV-games I saw on Youtube). But more fast flowing and without pictures/ formal japanese is still very very tricky for me, and sometimes I have to repeat 3-4 times and I still don't get the essential point. For the reading part I can read without much trouble simple books (Like the Ojamajo Doremi LN or a book where someone tells his everyday life in travel for example), I think I know how to recognize about 900-1,000 kanjis.

So finally here are my questions: what is the best thing to do to really improve my japanese? (I'm not a really big fan of flashcards as I memorise things far better in context). Is it "safe" to switch of book in the middle of it? If you have some good podcasts, drama, methods, or any advice for my listening problem (that is not "anime japanese") that is less boring that the Minna stuff, I will be very glad to look at it.

Thanks!
(Hope I was clear)
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#2
For getting my listening up to speed when I was going for N2/N1, I spent a lot of time following along with https://www.erin.ne.jp/ (available in French, although I always preferred to navigate the site in Japanese for incidental practice while poking around for what to do next).

You can also follow along with the JOI Teacher's blogs, http://www.japonin.com/free-learning-too...-blog.html
The blogs are a free learning resource, although of course they are meant to advertise the lessons. (I never used them, but I heard the lessons are useful too.)

As for switching books, I think it's fine. If you're not happy with your book and can afford another, then I'd take a look at the Genki series. It's very popular and as I understand it, it follows a student/school life story with the dialogues. I think as a self-learner using more than one textbook is actually really helpful for getting a different perspective. (Class learners should get at least two perspectives, the book and the teacher... although there's no guarantees as the teacher might simply parrot the book precisely if they're not good at their job.)
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