Jason – Smarter than a Sixth Grader

I’ve got good news for you all: I am now certifiably smarter than a sixth grader. So take that, all you uppity sixth graders! Ha!

I mean, I suppose that may seem evident, considering I’m a university graduate and several times over older than such children, but what I’m actually referring to is the Japanese test I mentioned I was taking a month or so back, the Kanken. Basically, it’s a test of Japanese kanji writing and reading ability for Japanese students and adults. In case you don’t know (and I suppose a lot of people who live outside of Japan don’t and would have no reason to know), Japan is a country hugely interested in tests. I’m sure that seems evident from the general perceptions of Japan, but it goes far beyond your assumptions. These tests are run by private organizations and are unrelated to schools. They have no impact on your degrees or anything like that. It’s basically a mixture of self improvement and resume building. Think of it like certifications for job skills.. but not really related to skills, per se. Let me assure you.. however much you think Japan is interested in tests, it’s more than that. Just trust me on this.

Got a test for bookkeeping? Sure do. Got a test for math? Absolutely. Kanji? Well, yeah. But we’ve also got tests for interpretation, tour guide, psychology, secretarial skills, history, boiler repair, color coordination, and pretty much anything you could imagine. There are whole sections in book stores devoted to tests.

But I digress. The point of this is that I passed the kanji test that I took last month! Meaning that I apparently know all the kanji necessary to graduate from elementary school. All right!

Kanken Certificate

Kanken Certificate

Not necessary an amazing achievement on the face of it, but as a non-native speaker, I’m willing to call it an achievement! Next up, level 4! That’ll take me into junior high territory. I plan to keep taking the test until I get up to level 2 or pre-1 (high school graduate/university level). It’s insanely challenging at the higher levels, even for Japanese adults, with a mere 23.4% and 15.4% actually passing the test (respectively). Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me!

What else has been up? Not a whole lot, same as usual. The monsoons have cleared up and summer has begun in earnest. After 16 years of living in a desert, you never really appreciate the concept of a “dry heat” until you live in a place with 82% humidity. Nothing dries, not really, and you just feel.. sticky.

Coming up next month, we’ve got Obon holiday, where everyone goes back to their hometown to remember their ancestors and the dead and visit with family. It’s kinda like Halloween and Thanksgiving, all rolled into one! Of course, my  hometown is back in the states and I (thankfully) don’t really have any graves to go visit, so.. it doesn’t mean much. But it is also the season of festivals and fireworks, so it’s always fun.

This is the first weekend I’ve had in awhile with absolutely nothing to do, so I think I’m just gonna lay low and read. Right now, it’s movie time!

Enjoy your weekend!

1 comment to Jason – Smarter than a Sixth Grader

  • Megu

    Congratulations on the “Kanken 5kyu (漢検 5級)”!
    「とても、素晴らしいです。あなたの夢が叶いますように…がんばって!」
    Have a nice weekend! you too.

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