Dropped into a city

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 beexam rooming a sheep. I was a blind sheep.
  6. Trying not to laugh at random “break music” on listening test
  7. Trying not to laugh at ridiculous possible answers to questions.
  8. Trying not to attack the guy coughing throughout the listening section. Who was strangley quiet in the other sections….
  9. 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.

STP dilemma

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?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s