Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

JLPT in 2012

It is currently December of 2011 and I have been studying Japanese in one form or another for the past five and half years. Thinking about it in those terms make it feel so much longer ago than I can imagine, but time seems to move quite quick.

Today the 2011 JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) or the Nihongo noryoku shiken (日本語能力試験) was held at sites all over the world. While the website can provide more details ( this test represents the bar for most foriengers studying Japanese to gauge their level of comprehension. Passing the highest level, currently N1, provides bragging rights and a nice line on your resume for any respective company of your language level. Like many my goal is to one take and pass this exam. Even with a minimum pass of around 60% it still proves exceedingly challenging for a variety of test-taker.

I have registered once for the test, but did not take it. This was part out of scheduling, but mostly out of fear. I have always fared extremely poorly on standardized tests (hello STA and GRE guh). However, my early New Years resolution is to make a dedicated effort over the course of the coming year to prepare for, register and take the JLPT exam in 2012. The test is now offered bi-annually in July and December. Realistically the December test date will provide a greater amount of time to prepare, but potentially the July test date will leave me less encumbered by fall term course work.

Regardless I feel it is time to set a goal for myself and language study again. While a good portion of what I study for will be relatively inconsequential to most of my language use, the attempt will undoubtedly provide benefits I cannot see now.

It is a large goal, but seeing that the only way to accomplish these activities to plan early and often I will be giving it the old PhD try.

Until next time, cheers!

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Catching up on picture time (May)

2010/06/20 1 comment

Here is a collection of pictures that make up some of the events in May.

Decided to make an approximation of burger, fries, and a coke in Japan. I think it came out quite well. Credit to Twin Peaks episode for the craving.

Reunion with Waseda study abroad students from last summer! A great fun night!

So these are apparently the ‘Gourmet’ tuna and mayonnaise flavored Doritos, on sale at your local dollar store. A delicacy I’m sure. (Holds back gag reflex)

This is a guide book for using English on Twitter. The caption at the bottom highlights the notion of “Connecting with the World.” I can just feel the restrained excitement in cover-model’s face. “I just love tweet….ing?!”

When Harry Met Sally, a favorite film of my friend Zoe and I who have watched it countless times together. The Japanese title is Koibito tachi no yokan which I will translate as Lover’s Hunch or Lover’s Premonition, even Lover’s Foreboding dun dun dun.

Continuing with US films in Japan is Pixar’s, Up! A very simple title which captures the emotion and sentiment of the picture as well as the literal movement of the house. Japan sticking to the literal side of things has retitled Up! as Karu ji san no sora tobu ie or Old Man Carl’s Sky Flying House. It is awesome when a five year old begs their mom to see this movie. It re-kindles for me the desire to watch Young Arab’s Wish Granting Rub Lamp, a true Disney classic.

Wow 3D tvs. I hear My Dinner with Andre is even more engrossing with a whole extra D. Tell me more about existentialism, Andre.

So here is a very rough shot of May. Oh and I went to school a bit too.

Categories: Japan, Life Tags: , ,

Day Trip to Akihabara

2010/04/28 1 comment

This past weekend I decided to avoid the convenience of trains to shoot me around town and navigated myself to the close location of Akihabara. For most Otaku out there this is the Mecca of electronic shops, maid cafes, and every kind of tech available. It is even referred to as the Electric District or Electric Town. Like places in Kanda, Akihabara developed after WWII as a black market district for cables, wires and any electronic devices. Even today you are encouraged in the smaller stores to barter prices.

My only association to this area was the one or two times I went during my previous study abroad and now when I hear the station name as I go to school. From Ryogoku on the Sobu-chuo line Akihabara is two stops away. When you travel on the trains through Tokyo you lose any sense of spatial orientation or relative distances. What I mean to say is leaving my apartment in Ryogoku I had no idea if it would take twenty minutes or an hour to get there.

The pictures I took capture my route from the apartment all the way up to the electric district. I enjoyed seeing all the avenues and streets that you cross along the way. It gave me a better sense of place within Tokyo’s metropolis. It also provided a glimpse of people going about their daily lives away from the major hubs of the city.

Here is a slide show of some of the pictures I took on the way.

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All in all the walk took about thirty minutes with me stopping, taking pictures and generally strolling about which means a swift pace would get you there in twenty minutes. Not too bad and in the process this part of town became a real space and not just a line from one station to another. Along the way I found a few signs which peaked my interest.

I love this picture. My apartment looks out over the Sumida river. The river which keeps popping up in all my photos. As I crossed the river I came across this sign. The three large characters say Sumida River. Below is written 川をきれいに美しく which I translate roughly to “Keep the river clean to beautify it.” This is a message from the prefecture office. I love that keeping the river clean and beautiful has not translated to the sign itself.

This sign came along the train line as I got closer to Akihabara. Between Ryogoku and Ahihabara I cross districts from the Sumida ward to the Chiyoda Ward. This sign comes from the latter. As you can see from the sign it is an anti smoking sign. It is not suggesting that you should not smoke or you cannot smoke standing in front of the sign. What it demands is that you, “Stop Walking and Smoking!” I put the exclamation point because the final verb やめましょう (Yamemasho) is the command form of stop. Just another amusing sign I love seeing around town.

This is more of a goal I am setting for myself. Nearly everywhere you go in Tokyo there are shrines, historical locations or information about an area. On my way to Akihabara I came across a little shrine next to a park. Looking at this sign I realized that however much my language has developed I still cannot read signs like this. Mostly due to the names or place locations these signs are hard to make sense of. My goal is to develop the ability to read these signs so when friends and family visit I might be able to provide a rough translation and gain a bit of knowledge.

So this was my day. I didn’t take any pictures at Akihabara because honestly I cannot stand the atmosphere there. It is great having every electronic store so close, however, you must also deal with every tourist in the world because internationally this is the electric town and a ‘duty free’ area. Whatever my feelings about this district I will continue to shop there because I do find reasons to by more computer crap. On the plus side it is nice to know that with fair weather the walk is quite enjoyable.

Until next time, Cheers!