Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

Am I proficient yet?

I intended to study a lot yesterday. Really, I did. But the zipper on my one pair of cream-colored pants broke, so I decided that since I needed groceries anyway I would shop for a new pair. I bought the original one when I was in Niigata, so I figured I should be able to find something similar without too much trouble.

...Boy, was I wrong. I could find the right color in a sweater or a jacket, sure. Skirts they had in abundance. But after searching at least three different stores, I came to the conclusion that there was not a single pair of cream or ivory pants in all of Moriyama. Thus my futile search came to a conclusion and I returned home, whereupon I was promptly struck with a craving for potato curry. There was nothing for it but to make some. (...Which left me with another sinkful of dishes. Why do all the things I like to eat use so many pots and pans to make? Why?!)

In essence, I didn't get around to studying until after supper. But at least it was a really GOOD supper.

I got up this morning at about 4:30. I didn't need to, of course, but once my eyes were open I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. I caught an early train to Kyoto and made it to the testing site with plenty of time to spare. One detail I found interesting: the test-takers (at least for level 1) were overwhelmingly Asian. I think there were only about three other non-Asian faces in the room with me. (I did see a lot more outside after the test got out...perhaps they were all in the lower levels?)

The official testing time ran from 9:45am to 3:30pm, with two breaks in between the sections. The test itself went pretty quickly. What took forever was all the waiting.

Kanji and Vocabulary
I'm not very proud of my performance in this section. It started off well--the very first problem was about ghosts, which was vocabulary right up my dark alley, but it went downhill from there. I had made a list of about 125 kanji compounds to study (including a bunch of business vocab), and I don't think a single one was actually on the vocab part of the test. In particular, there was one sentence about someone's college buddy doing something agricultural that was sheer gibberish to me. And I know for a fact that when I went back over the questionable problems I second-guessed myself and changed a right answer to a wrong answer. Ah, well, I did what I could.

I was incredibly lucky that my room was right next to the bathroom. There was still a line, though, because the lower levels had shorter exam times and therefore got out a few minutes earlier. I was also glad that I had brought along my own hand sanitizer, because there was no soap.

This section was a piece of cake. I think there was only one question I missed, and that was because I was listening to what was being said rather than who said it. I just spaced out for a minute there.

Before the third part of the test started, one of the people in my room was disqualified and kicked out. I'm not sure what for...possibly for opening the test booklet too soon.

Reading Comprehension and Grammar
This was easy as can be. It was tedious to go through all the text excerpts for the reading section, but the questions were a breeze. I finished with a half hour to spare and hadn't even marked any questionable ones to go back and check. Do you know how BORING it is to sit silently at a desk and look as not suspicious as possible for half an hour? I tried putting my head down for a while, but that just cut off the circulation in my arms. Eventually I just sat up and yawned a lot.

The guy sitting next to me nearly got disqualified after the tests were collected because he turned on his cell phone. The proctor warned that using cell phones in the room was against the rules, even though the test was over, but he pretended not to know who did it. (We were sitting in the center second row, so it was pretty obvious.)

After the test, I caught a bus to Kyoto Station and went shopping in the underground mall, figuring that if I couldn't find a pair of pants to my liking there, they don't exist in the entire country. It was rough searching. I found one pair that was almost what I wanted, though slightly too yellowish, but it was priced at $80. Yeaouch. Finally I located a single pair that wasn't quite the style I was hoping for but was at least the right color...and, more importantly, a decent price. So, yay.

While shopping, I was entranced by a store selling clothes from the Hitoshi Tamura Collection. The gown up front on display was absolutely gorgeous...kind of like Faire garb made out of kimono fabric. None of the clothes had price tags on them, which was a sign to me that they were probably WAY out of my price range. I ran a web search on the designer, but didn't turn up anything other than that there was a Hitoshi Tamura fashion show in Canada back in 1997.
Tags: culture, language
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