I Can

I Can

Written by sonicsuns

Topics: Blog, Everything

So…. Japanese Placement Test…yeah…
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/That was hard.
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/Some background:
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/Skill in Japanese is measured on a scale of 1 to 4, where 4 is the worst and 1 is the best. Try to remember that: they’re counting backwards.
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/(There’s also, technically, a level 5. You don’t wanna be level 5.)
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/I’ve been studying Japanese for 3 and a half years. As I mentioned in the orientation post, I’m definitely not fluent. But I know a few things. Like, the other day I bought a pizza, asking “how much does it cost?” and such without help. And I’ve had other simple conversations in Japanese.
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/But here’s the problem: I Can’t Read.
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/I know my katakana and hiragana, but I’m a total moron when it comes to the kanji. That sounds a bit complicated, so allow me to summarize: I Can’t Read.
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/Out of 76 questions, I managed to answer 13. That’s one-three, people. This was the hardest test I’ve ever taken. Ever.
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/(Though not nearly the most stressful test I’ve ever taken, since I’ve learned to calm down a lot since my high school years, but that’s another story)
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/Afterwards, I was left to speculate whether they would kick me out of the country.
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Newsflash: Foreigner Deported Due to Incredible Stupidity

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/See, to be in Japan, I have to be in this exchange program
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/And to be in this exchange program, I have to be level 3 or better.
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/I wound up in level 4. (which is worse)
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/But no one seems to have noticed the discrepancy, and far be it from me to point it out. =)
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Well that was embarrassing.

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/The other thing on my mind was/is “What the heck?”. I’ve been at this for 3.5 years, I’d like to think I’m level 3 by now. Kirsten is a year behind me at Carthage, but now we’re in the same class. Comparing me to the other 200 people in this program, there are 9 people of the same or lesser Japanese skill.
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/Now, I’d like to chalk that up to the difference between my speaking skills (which were not tested) and my reading skills (which were). In fact, my friend Till is a level 3, and he says that I speak better than him. Well that’s cool. But nevertheless I can’t read, which is just embarrassing in its own right.
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/I know, of course, that embarrassment is not going to help me. I’m in Japan now, and it’s the perfect opportunity to practice my Japanese.
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/But here’s a tip for all the Japanese-learning folks back home:
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/Make sure you learn how to read.

  • uncle Tom

    I just want to know…Do you need a proof of your age to buy beer in Japan when you are over fifty years old ?

  • uncle Tom

    I just want to know…Do you need a proof of your age to buy beer in Japan when you are over fifty years old ?

  • uncle Tom

    I just want to know…Do you need a proof of your age to buy beer in Japan when you are over fifty years old ?

  • JohnMark

    Dear Maninjapan,
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    /One of the most influential talks I ever heard was the opening to my orientation to graduate school. It went something like this:
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    /”In this year’s world news and reports UIUC’s graduate chemistry program was ranked 5th. The work of at least seven Nobel prizes has been performed in the labs around you. In keeping with that tradition, we have brought you here. Look around you. Many of you have never scored lower than the 99th percentile. You are the best of the very best…all of you. What you need to recognize is that now, statistically, almost half of you are going to be “below average” and that’s ok. You need to understand how irrelevant that marginalization is. Know yourself, know your abilities, improve, we are here to help…..”
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    /It’s all about perspective. How many Americans could score a 4? How selective is the program, obviously they thought you could do it. I believe in you Jimmy, don’t get discouraged, just work at it.

  • JohnMark

    Dear Maninjapan,
    /
    /
    /
    /One of the most influential talks I ever heard was the opening to my orientation to graduate school. It went something like this:
    /
    /
    /
    /”In this year’s world news and reports UIUC’s graduate chemistry program was ranked 5th. The work of at least seven Nobel prizes has been performed in the labs around you. In keeping with that tradition, we have brought you here. Look around you. Many of you have never scored lower than the 99th percentile. You are the best of the very best…all of you. What you need to recognize is that now, statistically, almost half of you are going to be “below average” and that’s ok. You need to understand how irrelevant that marginalization is. Know yourself, know your abilities, improve, we are here to help…..”
    /
    /
    /
    /It’s all about perspective. How many Americans could score a 4? How selective is the program, obviously they thought you could do it. I believe in you Jimmy, don’t get discouraged, just work at it.

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