Hi friends! So just to put this out there, I will not be posting as much content for the rest of October and into November. I will try to write something about once a week, to keep myself sane, yet I must ban myself from posting any more than that until the JLPT is behind me in early December. It will be the last Japanese Language Proficiency Test I ever take. It has to be. Last July, I failed the JLPT N1 by one point.
One. Fucking. Point.I don’t even want to tell you how many times I refreshed the browser, sure this had to be a mistake. Honestly, I thought I had passed. I passed every practice test I took leading up to the exam, with increasing room to spare. After the exam last July, I checked my answers against the ones somebody always posts on those sketchy Chinese sites that always seem to give me iCalendar viruses. (Which, of course, is my own damn fault, for clicking links I can’t read.) I racked my memory as I went through every question. I did the math. I should have passed.
The only explanation is the curve. And I tell you, it is no joke. I like to think that is why it takes almost 2 full months for the results to be posted. Either that, or Japan is just out to get me, specifically. It wouldn’t be the first time.
In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog- almost a couple of months ago now- was to get my mind off that disappointment and focus on other interests instead- like murder and sento- in an attempt to avoid studying for the next exam. Time has caught up with me now, though. And unfortunately, I have realized that, psychologically, I don’t think I could cope with failing this test yet again.
How many consolation blogs can I start? There is just not enough time in my schedule to accommodate being so sad. That in mind, the only real alternative is to get my game together and just fucking pass this time.
If anyone else out there is studying for the JLPT, I really recommend Nihongonomori. It is seriously the best 990 yen a month I have ever spent in my life. No, I am not affiliated with them in any way. I do feel like I am friends with Yuka-sensei though, after countless hours watching videos of her explaining all the N1 kanji, vocab and grammar. Yuka-sensei is dynamic and entertaining, and- at the risk of sounding like a stalker- I feel like she is speaking to me personally as I watch her pre-recorded lessons. This last point is especially important, as it keeps me from falling asleep while studying, which I am wont to do when taking on these topics independently (can’t imagine why…). Nihongonomori has been a total blessing, and I highly recommend it for people like me, who don’t exactly have the time or disposable income to attend a prep course.
When I contacted Yuka sensei last August to tell her the result of July’s test, she replied to me right away.
Do you see the nine exclamation points? And two emojis? That obviously means that we are friends in real life, right? Right. I shall go on assuming as much.
One of the more engaging aspects of Yuka-sensei’s lessons, is that she provides mnemonic devices for remembering basically all of the N1 kanji. Some, however, are more ridiculous than others. For example, let’s look at her mnemonic device for the kanji 虐げる（しいたげる, to oppress, persecute, tyrannize). Because it sort of looks like the kanji for tiger (虎) minus the “legs” and plus the fork-like ヨ, we can remember 虐 with the sentence ”虎を虐げる.” Let’s persecute tigers.
In a last attempt to avoid any real studying, I am posting this very amateur live action video in tribute to Yuka’s explanation of 虐. It features some of my kids’ toys that happened to be lying around at the moment. If nothing else, I know that 虐 is permanently etched in my memory now. Check it out, and you might just remember too.
And with that I am off to study for real. I think. Probably. I hope so, anyway. Wish me luck.