05 December 2006

The trip to Tokyo

was good, and mostly not because I made good on my threats towards Japanese Proficiency Exam Level II. No, more than that, I was able to see some friends, connect again with the city that has my number, I'm beginning to think, and realize that I have made some progress as a Japanese student and maybe even as a human, since coming to Japan. I spent the night with J and V, as J has recently returned to Japan to teach English again with the Lutheran church. V is from up around here and the three of us had a really fabulous time. Also saw Heather too briefly, but it was a fine 45 minutes none-the-less. Ran into M, another friend of my hero and mentor, Mr. Neal, and he regaled me and V with a story of smoking weed while driving and being blown by a Chinese woman. "That's something," I said to V, "I don't think I will ever experience."

Now, instead of resting like I should, I have begun to prepare for Japanese Proficiency Level I, although I doubt I will be able to pass that test in 2007. I think I'd like to try though. 10 Chinese characters a day. In the end, I will have to know 10,000 words and 2,000 Chinese characters to pass the test. I noticed while taking the test this year that a majority of the test takers are from China. It occurs to me that they have an incredible advantage in learning Japanese as they already know all the Chinese. I gotta get into a romantic language next.

When I run, I listen to the Berkeley Buddhist podcast and encourage you to read this interview or, better, this e-book. Fascinating.