Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test of DOOM.

A.k.a. the JLPT. I'm currently prepping for level 2, which I'll be taking in one week (!!!) from now on December 5th. I've been studying for it since about September, although with my work schedule and tendency to become distracted by books I haven't been as diligent as I could've been. I've been trying to make up for that by studying like crazy lately.

I thought I'd do a post on the JLPT since I know a lot of people who come over here end up taking it. Level 2 is broken up into 3 sections: grammar, kanji and listening. The grammar is really obnoxious. It's a lot of nit-picky comparisons between grammatical patterns that are almost identical. Here is one example for those of you who can read Japanese, which should illustrate just how obnoxious it really is:

この料理は、作り方が簡単な( )材料も安い。
1.上に  2.上で 3.上は 4.上では

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Halloween and Thanksgiving in Japan... Can it be done?!

Living in Japan means I have many opportunities to experience Japanese culture and holidays, but additionally it means the chance to share my own with my students and the friends I make here. Just because I'm living abroad doesn't mean I have to sacrifice two of my favorite American traditions: Halloween costumes and the chance to pig out on turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie.

While Halloween is growing in popularity here mostly due to the fact that people like to buy cute stuff with pumpkins on it, there are few people who actually celebrate it. Fortunately, if you want to have your own party the supplies are plentiful and it's relatively easy to find costumes (Don Quixote has plenty, including many you may wish you'd never been forced to look upon.)

Thank god neither of those turned up at the club. ...As far as I know.