Oh, the relief after university at never facing another exam again. Or so I thought. It’s exam season! Mr Textbook, we meet again… but this time, the advantage is yours. Once again.
December 2 in Japan is the day of the annual, worldwide Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). There are four levels, from four (beginner) to one (many universities or job require that you have this level). Lots of foreigners I’ve met in Japan only go as far as level two, which is good enough to get by in daily life. Level one is by all accounts Very Hard, so you’ve got to have a significant reason to want to tackle it.
Me though – I’m just going for level four this time around. So, it’s back to the books for me. Here’s my current studying environment. I tidied it up for the photo. You’re welcome.
From the top left, clockwise:
- 24 inch multi purpose TV / monitor. I put it close to my books because I like to be easily distracted. That helps me appreciate the time I spend studying all the more.
- Notebook – I feel I should write random things down as I study, as it seems like the thing to do.
- Past exam book (brown) – yes, you can buy last years paper and listening exam for the modest fee of 1200 yen ($12 AUD). Very handy, especially if you want to confirm that you are, indeed, doomed come exam day.
- Far-too-expensive Apple wireless keyboard – I buy all technology based on whether it matches my furniture.
- TV remote control – unhelpfully, all the buttons are marked in Japanese. Helpfully, there aren’t many, so mashing it with a balled-up fist makes it do things.
- Nintendo DS – it’s for study, really! The kanji lookup software I bought when I first got here is worth it’s weight in gold. Here’s someone demoing it on YouTube, too.
- Gulliver’s Travels (in Japanese) – a friend gave me this book, and it’s great because a) I know the basic story already, b) it explains how to pronounce all the difficult characters, c) it’s designed for kindergarten kids, which means that d) it’s got pictures. Lots of pretty pictures. It really is useful for reading practice though, and it helps get the hang of right-to-left, top-to-bottom reading.
- JLPT exam cram book – this is my bible at the moment. It lists out exactly what you need to know.
That appears to be a man dressed in pleather sitting on a women wearing not much at all. I think he just suplexed her.
Study, or crazy Japanese wrestling? No contest really. As an added bonus, watching Japanese TV is often far more amusing if you have no idea what is going on. And I certainly did not.
I hope there’s questions about that on the exam.