I’m studying for the Japanese Proficiency Exam which is coming up in December. I have never taken the test before, but I’m gonna take Level 1, the hardest level. I do this because I’m a genius, or really really stupid. I’ll let you know when I get the results.
Studying for this thing though is crazy. Half the time when I ask my Japanese friends what things mean, it goes like… Hey Ken, what does 「…試験に勝たんがために~塾に通う」mean? The answer is usually something like “Hahaha, last time I heard that was in a jidaigeki on TV! Have you been watching samurai movies??” “No man I’m studying for this exam!” Geesh…
You know you’re in trouble when you’re looking up vocabulary that appear like 5th and 6th in your electronic dictionary. For example, じたい。字体, nope. 自体 nope, 事態, nope, 辞退 yup. That’s the one. It’s about freakin’ time! You people studying Japanese will know what I mean. Same thing goes for when you’re typing Japanese too, henkan, henkan, henkan, henkan… how long is this freakin’ list?! It’s even worse when the word is not in the Japanese-English dictionary and can only be found in the Japanese-Japanese dictionary, like 「検案」。I guess they figure that there is no way that a non-native Japanese person will ever need to use this word or something.
Then there’s the words that seem to have only one example sentence in existence. Seriously though, Japanese seems to have a lot of words like that. For example, I look up 喪失 (そうしつ) in my dictionary, and get the example, 「彼は戦意を喪失していた。」 Something like, ‘he lost his will to fight’. When I first saw that I didn’t know 戦意。 So I looked that up. I get the example sentence, ｢彼は戦意を喪失していた。｣ Does this mean that the only way to use 喪失、is with 戦意?? Isn’t there anything else to lose other than your “fighting spirit”???
I also know a lot of vocab that is really unnecessary now. Like, 憤慨 (ふんがい), or how to write 垣根 in Kanji… Or freakin’, 山岳(さんがく)I think the kanji GAKU is only used in this word, and this word alone. What the heck.
And then there’s the stuff that really isn’t going to be on the test, but is just as good to know. Like, 半尻(はんけつ)It literally means “half-butt”. You can use it when you’re sitting on the edge of a crowded bench and only half your butt is on it. Ask your Japanese teacher about that next week.