日曜日, 1月 30, 2005

Bad Luck!

    Looks like I failed the kanken and lost my mobile phone on the same day.
    If you mailed my mobile phone today, please send it again to my regular e-mail. I lost it somewhere between my apartment building bicycle parking lot and my nearest train station's Starbucks, a fairly short distance, between 11 and 12 this morning, as I was on my way to the test site. I checked at the Starbucks, some nearby stores, and the police box near my apartment, and nobody's turned it in.
    I knew this morning - and yesterday - that I wouldn't pass the test, but I tried anyway, and was actually surprised at how close I came. The first time I totaled my score (after we finished the test, they gave us an answer sheet) I got exactly 140, which is passing (70% of 200). However, when I looked at it later, I noticed another small mistake. So I probably missed passing by a mere 1 or 2 points. I would have passed if I hadn't had second thoughts about a couple of answers and changed them- making them wrong. Annoying. But I was pleased that I was able to answer so many of the writing questions, yojijukugo, and taigigo/ruigo questions.
    I'll definitely take the kanken again in June. It's a good experience. I think I got stared at a bit by the other test-takers. More so than at the Chinese test. The group taking 3-kyuu was all ages, but there were probably more middle schoolers than anything, one very young child, and a sprinkling of older adults.
    The test question I'm kicking myself for the most is シャソウ. I knew it was some kind of window from the context. If only I'd just thought "(train) car window" and written it that way! The answer is 車窓. I've never heard that word before, but I should have been able to figure it out from the sentence, and I should have remembered that the onyomi of 窓 is そう。


  • At 10:32 午後, Blogger dadsweb said…

    I knew there had to be some benefit from watching all that late night TV! There is a very long running program on TV Asahi on great train journeys of the world called 世界の車窓から, so I knew that one. I think it refers to a train or bus window, rather than a car. Sounds like you did much better than you expected, so you should breeze it in next time. I think I got through ok, but I made a few really stupid mistakes. We shared the test room with the ikkyu people. I was a bit shocked to see a couple of junior high school aged kids taking ikkyu. They are obviously studying way to much for kids of their age...

  • At 10:19 午後, Blogger Matt said…

    D'oh! That sucks. I mean, those suck. (Is that the correct plural of "that sucks", I wonder?)

    I didn't mail you anything this morning, but I didn't mail it to you again at your regular address just now so you should have not received it OK.

  • At 9:23 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    I think you could say "that sucks" to refer to the general predicament of having lost one's keitai and failed a kanji test on the same day. "That sucks" is an idiomatic expression that can refer to things in general. You could also say "Those two things both suck" if you want to emphasize that each separate event is equally sucky. As an English teacher though, I can't recommend the usage of "those suck" alone - somehow it doesn't sound like natural English.

  • At 12:06 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Dadsweb - so what questions did you miss? Or deliberate about for the longest?
    Sounds like we took the same test. Why are there so many tests in the past test book (A, B, C, and so on) if people take the same test all over the country? I guess they could be at different times, but I thought they were all for the same year. Am I wrong?

  • At 7:44 午前, Blogger dadsweb said…

    There are six or seven versions of the test for each level every time it is held, so it is a bit of a coincidence if we did the same one. I did the 'G' version. I was really stumped by 広々としたマキバを歩く as I had never realised that 牧場 could be read two ways, マキバ being one of them. I also agonised forever on the find the wrong kanji question 森林は水源の保然、用材や燃料の供給など多面的な価値をもっている. I thought 保然 looked hinky from the start, but couldn't come up with a good alternative and ended up getting it wrong. I've never come across the word before, but a friend tells me it is used in newspapers (I hardly ever read newspapers unfortunately). The U-Can course sounds interesting. Most of the texts I've looked at have been more or less variations on a theme, so I wonder if it will take a different approach? I'm thinking of taking the computer version of 準二級 as I don't want to wait until July to sit it. However I don't know what it will be like writing kanji with a tablet. My kanji are ugly enough with pen and paper. Anyway shall give it a whirl and see how it goes.

  • At 9:15 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Oh! We did take the same one! That's so funny. The ones you mentioned were difficult for me, too! I missed マキバ too - I puzzled over it for ages. Then I also looked at the 保然 question for a long time, realized the 保然 looked suspicious, and eventually guessed 全 - mainly because it was the only zen I could think of that made sense (座禅の禅 wouldn't have, for instance!) I got some right that I've never practiced in my life, like 岸辺 and 高層, but then there were some I should totally have known, like 効率, that I didn't get. The ones that I studied that appeared on the test were 縦, 演奏, 商う and 拝む to name a few. The JTE who took the test with me also took the same version, and she said she missed 鳥居! In my opinion that was one of the easiest.

    I see passing 三級 and 二級 as the important milestones, and I don't see much value in taking 準二級 except for practice. By all means, take the computer version if it's more convenient. I'm not very motivated to take 準-anything, because it doesn't sound as impressive.

    I'll keep you updated on the U-Can course. They have a lot of other courses. I originally sent away for information on the haiku course, and I also thought the "ビデオ囲碁" course sounded interesting. However, I thought it would be best to focus on language for now. Reading the testimonials of students in the haiku course, it seemed like they enjoyed writing haiku anyway before enrolling in the class. They were also mostly retired people in their 60s and 70s, with lots of free time to walk around appreciating the seasons with a notepad in hand to jot down each inspiration-soaked moment. Having never written a decent haiku in Japanese, I doubt I could keep up with them.

  • At 10:27 午前, Blogger dadsweb said…

    Mm, I agree with you as far as ni-kyu is my ultimate objective, but realistically there is just too bigger jump between 3-kyu and 2-kyu for me to just skip jun-2-kyu. Especially when you need 80% just to pass it. There's about 700-800 more kanji that you need to know on top of those needed for 3-kyu, which is nothing to be sneezed at. I've met a couple of of Japanese who have failed it on multiple occasions, so I guess I have a lot of respect for it. Looking at past exams even the reading seems quite hard. Do you find your knowledge of Chinese helps at all? Do you come across characters that you haven't seen in Japanese before, but you know in Chinese? Inversely do you think knowing written Japanese would be a big advantage in learning Chinese?

  • At 3:15 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    If you started a beginning Chinese class tomorrow, you'd find that your knowledge of kanji put you several steps ahead of beginners who hadn't studied Japanese. Knowing English also gives you an advantage in learning Chinese because of the grammatical similarity.

    There's no doubt that knowledge of Chinese can also help with Japanese kanji. Nowhere is this more apparent, perhaps, than on the kanken. If you were fluent in Chinese and spoke Japanese as your second or third language, you would have little difficulty with these sections on the kanken: yojijukugo, which shares many of the same expressions with Chinese; antonyms/synonyms, for which many words may be similar or identical; "pick the wrong kanji" which tests compounds that may also be used in Chinese; and finally "熟語の構成", which is straight meaning and requires no pronunciation. Chinese would help you less on the other parts, okurigana, reading and writing, which test the Japanese pronunciations.

    No, I don't come across characters that I know in Chinese and not Japanese, simply because my Japanese vocabulary is so much richer. I know only a few hundred characters in Chinese, compared with almost 2000 in Japanese; all of the characters I know in Chinese, I either know in Japanese, or they are not used in Japanese. Still, I think that the Chinese study I've done has helped me, and it would help me more if I knew more. Some of my Chinese classes emphasized writing (translating sentences from English to Chinese, or "write this character correctly 20 times") more than my Japanese classes, so I got some extra kanji writing practice that way, not that you would be able to tell by my writing! I still have a long way to go!

    If it looks like I can prepare for ni-kyuu without taking junni-kyuu, I probably will. Why spend the money if you don't have to? You can find out if you can pass or not just by taking a practice test. You don't need to spend the money if it's not your goal. As for bragging rights, sure if you tell your friends who flunked that you passed they'll be impressed, (or feel stupid themselves), but how much more impressed they'll be when you pass ni-kyuu!
    (I've been teaching debate to my students...so sorry if I sound argumentative today!)



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