Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nihongo No Ryoku Shiken

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is the Japanese government’s answer to the clamor for a single Japanese Language Proficiency Standard that everyone can respect and more or less be happy with. It’s given once a year by the Japan Foundation and its counterparts worldwide.

The idea is that you can believably slap someone silly with your certificate and he will be wowed by how well-versed you are in the language regardless of the number of hours worth of Japanese language training you claim to have taken. Since the test is being administered by the Japanese, you can bet that incidences of test taking weirdness are pretty much nil.

They even smell you cheating and you’re out the door, no questions asked. The only way one is likely to ace this test is if one actually studies. This is a refreshing development, considering the horse trading and petty wars… an odious reminder of how much education on the Islands has begun to really suck.


I am happy to report that based on the mock-tests I’ve been taking so far, I have the ability to pass my upcoming Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The pertinent question is how high I can push my score. Most folks who take the JLPT are pretty satisfied getting the minimum 240 points required to pass the bleeding thing. I’m not. My best scores have always lived in the 320+ range. I’m hoping I can push into the 350+ range before my review is over.

That is, if I don’t die of stress-induced asthmatic bronchitis first.

Farewell to “Mader”

I took a few minutes away from work to see my very special friend “Mader” Jo, ang Arnisadora sa Breakwater. She’s leaving for the US of A this week and I just had to wish her all the best. I’m praying Uncle Sam treats her better than he treated me, because Jo deserves all the opportunities living on the Islands has denied her.

Let’s face it—there ain’t much work for the media guy here. And what’s around usually subjects the poor employee to the health-destroying conditions of… you know what it’s like if the common thread in many of my friends’ employment horror stories is to be believed.

“Hawk, Chew”

I guess it was a good thing I stepped outside of the office too—as I am again on the verge of burnout. Sleeping late; working early for long hours. I oughta be in bed.

This illness has not in any way affected my appetite but I am having the most raggedy throat since I came back from Japan. In between lines of teacher’s text, code or software renderings, I have made “Hawk, Chew” my unofficial sick man’s mantra.

You don’t get it? Okay, try saying it as if you’ve got something in your throat.

Haaaaaaaaawwwkkkh … Cheeeewwww!

Then give yourself permission to gag.

Missing Honey

This is one of those times that I’m feeling my ex-betrothed’s utter absence. Whenever either of us fell ill we always had a bottle of Gatorade handy to treat the stricken partner’s dehydration. I would lovingly massage the parts of her anatomy that ached. I would shower her with kisses, buy her meds and make her soup.

She took the more mannish road—actually getting me tested at a lab when absolutely nobody in my immediate family would believe that something was very, very wrong with me. I remember I nearly died of typhoid.

Honey’s not here now. Likely someone else is calling her that. I am very thankful for my friends—new, old and developing— because I still get the customary “Get well soon, Dexter.”

Love Song for No One

One of my more minor inconveniences is that I have to get used to being single again. It’s been a rocky three or so months— I’ve said on various occasions that should Anna do a 180 and ask to get back with me, that I would take her back, no questions asked.

Today, the situation is different. I’m not in high school or college any more. I can’t afford to throw everything to the wind and risk everything to have what we had. The problem is I feel that such a measure would be exactly what it would take— and even then the odds of playing it right are at best 50-50. I had asked her again to marry me. As per her penchant for concrete plans and believable goals I even drew her a chart. Well, you know by now how well that went.

I don’t want to rush things and make high stakes gambles anymore. Too many people depending on me. And I don’t want to exclude the possibility that there may be someone else on my horizon.

I have time. I just hope no one is hurt by the actions I take.

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