I passed! I passed! I passed!!!
Okay, let me back up a bit. In December I took the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). It’s a hellish test, and I was moderately peer pressured into taking it. I mean, all their reasons were good: it can go on resumes, it provides a goal and a direction for study, etc.
Anyway, there are five levels, from 5-1, raising it difficulty as the numerical value decreases. I took level 2, which, I must tell you, was no fun. In fact it was very much no fun. After 4 hours testing (in the cold, in the rain, naturally), I was so much relieved by the fact that I got to go get ice cream that any optimism I felt was eclipsed. The general mood of the testing suite was dour. And exhausted.
As the time passed waiting for results, I struggled to keep my hopes down. However, like weeds cautiously positive ideas started to bloom. I played it off as though I didn’t care. After all, does it really matter? (Answer: no).
This morning, however, results were released and I found out I passed. I called my mom while brushing my teeth, and told her, screaming through the paste, spitting all over my computer screen. (Minty fresh monitor).
While the test really does have little bearing on my life, it feels nice to have an actual metric by which to mark my language skills and progress. Plus, I finally have an answer for my students, who are constantly asking me how my Japanese is.