Today’s Quote: Payne


“…learning Japanese ultimately involves picking up on what isn’t being said.”

— Peter Payne in one of his J-list Newsletters. He never spoke a truer word, and it’s part of what I find most interesting—and at times frustrating—about learning the language.

出来た! or, “I did it!”

I finally made it! I just got word that I actually passed the 2007 JLPT Level 3 exam!

The score wasn’t exactly a lot to write home about (67%, with 60% the minimum passing score), but I’m happy just the same. It’s definitely better than missing it by a measly 8 points like last year!
 I did ever so slightly worse, believe it or not, on the Kanji section, slightly better on the listening section and quite a bit better on the reading/comprehension/grammar section than I did on the 2006 exam.
Of course, NOW I have to press on to Level 2—yikes! But I’m in no particular hurry for that. And then I have to continue my studies and especially become more conversant and less afraid to speak. I think those goals could be accomplished with a bit of dedication—and another round in the KSU IJP program this summer!
I’m glad that this happened, since it was an important goal I’d set for my possible future in Japan.

Kyoto in ’08? An Intriguing Possibility…

There was in interesting email in my inbox today from Paul Churton at Kyoto Sangyo University.

It seems that beginning this year, they intend to offer a third-level class as part of the IJP program—the one I attended in 2006. It also seems that they are opening it to general enrollment rather than having to go through a particular University. It’s also possible—and cheaper—to attend the program without receiving college credit.
It looks like the same month-long program will be more than $1,000 less than I paid in 2006! Granted, I won’t get college credit and there won’t be a company to reimburse me for my tuition, but that’s still a terrific deal. I’ve also got enough Virgin Atlantic miles to get a free roundtrip ticket on ANA.
In case you can’t tell, this is an opportunity I’m extremely excited about and very seriously considering. I can get back to Japan again for an extended stay, with a true purpose and for a relatively low cost.
Incidentally, did you know that in the current global currency environment (with the Euro so high) that traveling to “expensive” Japan is actually a better deal than traveling to europe?
Why not come and visit me there!

End of semester – already?

I cannot believe that the Spring semester is already at its end. We just had our last day of Japanese 27 today—with our oral finals and a big feast provided by Yamaguchi sensei. Life just seems to go by so fast. And, of course, despite all my best intentions, I just never seem to get around to updating pages, adding blog entries, etc. I could have been wiriting and contributing so much.

BUT, that should be changing soon…

You’ll notice a new link on the navigation bar just under my blog called “JAPAN 2006!” This is going to be the place I will update furiously—hopefully at least daily—during my impending month-and-a-half stay in Japan this summer. I depart June 14 for Kyoto Sangyo University for a month-long INTENSIVE Japanese course. I will the follow that with a week and a half vacation—I already have my railpass and even rented an apartment in Tokyo.

This blog will therefore fall “silent” during that time (not that it was ever very chatty in the first place). I urge you to check out my Japan pages regularly!


Tonight I started my Japanese 1 class—I’m so excited!

Konnichiwa! Watashi no namae wa Kendrick desu…

And so it begins—my foray into learning the most difficult and challenging language of all those I’ve learned so far. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! I was 16th on the waiting list for the class and am lucky to have gotten in. There were about 25 people standing on the side hoping to add—there were still 15 or so sitting on the floor by the end of the night. Pretty wild.

The instructor, Yamaguchi Sensei, seems very dear. She’s also MAYBE 5 feet tall with a very soft voice. Her assistant, Sato-san, is a student from Japan who has been here for a few years. He’s cool, and I’m hoping maybe I can get him to be my senpai…

I just hope to do my best and make this productive. I haven’t been this excited about something in a while, and certainly haven’t tackled anything quite so challenging. It’s gonna be fun!