Taking the JLPT 5 (Japanese language proficiency test) in London, December.
Sunday was quite an experience. I did a round trip to London in one day (over 6 hours travelling) for a 2 hour (ish) exam. It gave me some mini-practice at exposure to many different “new” things all at once.
- Firstly finding the damn building. They tell you it’s on “campus” – great. You know, there is only about 9-10 large buildings with various entrance/exits on campus, interspaced with parks and side roads. I ended up bumping into a few other lost people, and after establishing we were all going to the same place, did a bit of wandering till we came across a busy courtyard. Bingo.
- The shock of how many people were taking the test! I was 45 mins early and already there was a queue of about 50 people snaking across the courtyard. I heard that it was something like 350+ people all in all. Thankfully I found this easier for my anxiety as I could just “blend in” amoung the crowds and observe.
- Learning people had come from other countries just to take the test! There were people from Scandinavia, Germany etc. My trip from “up North” paled into insignificance.
- Having one of the all-too-familir long waits for a cubicle to be free in the guys toilets. It’s a tad awkard stood there in a tiny room where everyway you look seems to be either a guy at a urinal or a mirrored image of a guy at a urinal. Cue fake very-important-crap-on-phone look.
- Realising I am actually quite good in a stress situation. After finding a queue of people outside a room, after going though a warren of doors, I assumed I had found the correct room. I stood in the queue outside the door. God knows what clicked, but after 20 mins I thought…”humm, is this really my room?” I abandoned the queue and walked up to the door — wrong room. Shit. I doubled back and did some quick-step exploring, before finally finding the right room where thankfully nothing had started. Lesson: being a sheep can be OK, as long as you are a sheep who knows why you are being a sheep. I was a blind sheep.
- Trying not to laugh at random “break music” on listening test
- Trying not to laugh at ridiculous possible answers to questions.
- Trying not to attack the guy coughing throughout the listening section. Who was strangley quiet in the other sections….
- Enjoying a 1st class train journey home, as it was oddly cheaper than a standard ticket. I of course did the normal and drained the food trolley of all possible free food each time it came round and stored some away for later.
Anyway, I think I have passed, and it felt really good getting to show what I had learnt over the past years. It also refreshed in my mind how intense Japan is going to be – a constant bombardment of the unknown and quick decisions that either set you on a right path or result in you quickly falling deeper into the rabbit hole.
Thinking of getting a decent STP/packer before I go to Japan, but really struggling to find one that ticks all the boxes. Thing is, I prefer “discrete” but there does not appear to be a good one that is this, + STP’s well. I really like the idea of having one though, so the search continues. Anyone got a recommendation?