We got our results back from our tests. I passed the grammar/writing test. It was a little tight on the listening test, but I figured it would be tight.
Today was the last JBPP class. We had the Okazaki version of donuts. I forget what they’re called now, but they were good. S-Sensei brought us all kinds of donuts, and beverages as well.
It was a little sad to see everyone for the last time. I had a blast in JBPP, and learned a ton. And I realize there’s a ton more I need to learn still! Good luck to my fellow students, N-san, Z-san, and K-san! Thank you for your patience and understanding!
I made another trip to Kurita for more packing materials, and the Daiso for some more.
I got home, and there was lots of frantic throwing things in boxes, mummifying said boxes in clear tape, and a trip to the Okazaki Main Post Office to send two of them back to the US by boat.
I took a taxi. There was no other sane way to get there!
They laughed when I told them I’d be back tomorrow, but I’m serious. I will be.
After that, I went to ZigZag for the Christmas Party. They don’t call it a Holiday Party here, because Christmas means having a hot date in Japan, or some KFC and cake and some pretty lights… no deeper meanings, so nobody takes offense.
Most Japanese, who are raised in Shinto and Buddhism, have no problems with celebrating Christmas. Considering that the Shinto religion has millions of gods, what’s wrong with celebrating one more?
I gave D-san my store of “edible stuff that I can’t take with me, because I shipped it here like an idiot,” and he graciously accepted it. I hope he can use it. I was really glad he took it off my hands, and I feel like a dork for bringing it all.
D-san hosted the Bingo game and everyone won something… like massage oil, Q-tips, salted Pocky, you name it.
I won KitKats, which made me happy. I love winning something useful and delicious. (I was fine with not winning massage oil.)
I hung out with P-san, T-kun, and some of the guys who have been working locally. It was fun. I probably stayed later than I should have, and I’ll probably pay for it in the morning. Such is life.
I wanted to be with a lot of people tonight, and I wanted to see everyone having a good time while I can, because tomorrow it’s time to leave Okazaki, and that’s a bummer.
I had a blast here, and everyone was great.
Fushigi na Tokoro/The Crossroads of Language Learning on the Tokaido
Yamasa is a strange, ephemeral kind of place. All kinds of interesting people come from all over the world to desperately learn Japanese in a very rigorous setting, and they all work crazy hard to do it, and then suddenly– VOOM– they’re gone.
Mission accomplished, or maybe not, but for whatever reason, they’ve done all they can either afford to or are allowed to by their government or the Japanese government through visas, and that’s it.
So everyone works hard, plays hard, and racks up the best memories they can. Students range from fresh-faced 18 and 19-year olds, to 60+ year olds who are looking for new challenges in life.
It’s a fun mix of people, from a wide range of different cultures, but we all have one thing in common.
We can all speak Japanese!
Stupid FOREX People
In my case, my study was limited by the strong yen/weak dollar. Those guys working the Yen FOREX trade essentially did me in, because everything here is just ungodly expensive for me. It makes me cringe just to think about it.
When I came here four years ago, the rate was 110 yen to the dollar. Now, it hovers around 77-78 yen to the dollar, and it has done so the whole time I’ve been here. I know, because I watch the exchange rate like a hawk. As soon as it hits 78, WHAM, it gets pounded down to the low 77s again. That’s how I know that someone, somewhere, is making a killing off of this.
It’s a shame, because it’s hurting businesses here and keeping tourists away.
Overall Results: Success!
We got our 実力 (aptitude/achievement) test results back today, and I’m pleased with the results. There wasn’t a really big change in my grammar/vocabulary abilities, but I wasn’t too concerned about those. What I was pleased with was the big jump in speaking and writing ability. That was the main reason I came here.
Since I was in a N2-level class, we covered a lot of material I already sort of knew, so there wasn’t a whole lot of new vocab to learn, nor was there a whole lot of grammar to learn. BUT there was a lot of learning “shades of meaning” that I didn’t even consider before. So I got to know the grammar I learned a lot better than I used to know it.
And while my passive vocab didn’t increase a whole lot, my active vocabulary shot through the roof. That’s due to all of the talking and writing in Japanese that I did.
All of my excursions were daily 実力 tests to see how I could handle all kinds of things in a 99% Japanese environment. Things like getting tickets, buying food, finding stores, ordering things, dealing with the post office, dealing with all kinds of people on an everyday basis– all of that was a series of daily exams.
I’m very pleased with my results.
Tomorrow is the closing ceremony, party, and then I head out. *Sniff!*