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Sunday, Dec. 3, 2000
More testing times for students of Japanese
By AMY CHAVEZ
Today, many foreigners have put on their armor and have sharpened their swords in preparation for battling through the Japanese Proficiency Test. I wish you all luck and survival. I recently spoke with the god of the Japanese Proficiency Test, who lives on Uranus and appeared on my TV screen via my satellite dish. He gave the following predictions in a millennium special edition of the Japanese Proficiency Test-takers' horoscope.
Aquarius (1/21-2/19): You are clear-sighted and will have problems understanding the point of the test. Especially when you get to the grammar part, which will test you on discreet grammar points you have never heard of. Don't worry, just do it and you will be rewarded. Maybe.
Pisces (2/20-3/20): You will have a tough time making decisions throughout the test. There will be several questions in which you will have narrowed it down to two of the four possible answers. Vacillating between the two, you will choose A, then erase and choose B, then erase and choose a again. You'll do this several times until you finally decide on one, which, regrettably, will end up being the wrong answer.
Aries (3/21-4/20): You have studied diligently and will breeze through the test. In the reading section, you will be able to read the meanings of each individual kanji, even the most difficult ones, but you will have no idea what the heck the text is trying to say. Did you remember to buy a talisman?
Taurus (4/21-5/21): Your practical side will get the best of you if you're not careful. Use your creativity rather than logic to answer the questions. When in doubt, choose the answer you absolutely think is the wrong one. It will be right.
Gemini (5/22-6/21): You probably didn't study enough to pass the test. But don't worry -- others studied very hard and still won't pass. You still have a chance. When in doubt, choose C.
Cancer (6/22-7/23): The test makers are aware that you often rely on feelings rather than reason when making decisions. Thus, they have implanted various questions designed to mislead you. These are trick questions and you will fall prey to all of them.
Leo (7/24-8/23): You have good vocabulary comprehension and you have studied your kanji. However, the test will cover only kanji you haven't studied yet or kanji you have forgotten. You will remember the kanji you've forgotten as soon as you step out of the test room.
Virgo (8/24-9/23): You have steadily risen in the ranks of Japanese proficiency and have studied thoroughly. Most likely, you will pass levels 4, 3, and 2 on your first try. Level 1, however, will require one year of solitary confinement for adequate study. Only if you've done this will you pass.
Libra (9/24-10/23): Although you are usually in harmony with your surroundings, the testing atmosphere will create conflict. Your peaceful nature has prevented you from coming prepared with the proper strategies for the battle. But don't worry, under pressure, you tend to make unbalanced and impractical decisions. Perfect. You'll pass the test.
Scorpio (10/24-11/22): You have a roseate view of your own Japanese ability which will be shot to shreds after finishing the first section of the test. Don't worry, it's just a test. You know you can speak Japanese, and that's what's important. Who cares what a silly test says about your Japanese ability? Besides, there's always next year.
Sagittarius (11/23-12/21): You can communicate very well in Japanese. You think you should have no problems with the test. However, the test will not measure your communicative ability. You may still pass the test -- if you are Chinese or Korean.
Capricorn (12/22-1/20): You are smart and will score high on all sections except for the grammar, which will prevent you from passing. If you don't pass, just tell people, "I don't test well."
And last but not least, the god of the Japanese Proficiency Test would like to tell everyone that the important thing is not whether you pass the test, but that you did your best. "Yoku gambaremashita ne?"
Visit the Japan Lite home page at www.amychavez.com or e-mail comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org