Dec 15, 2008

Knowledge is Nifty!

For some reason, I sort of like getting up early. There's a sense of purpose to it.

Two weeks ago, I got up early and peeled myself out of bed to go to Nihon University to take the third level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It was quite the thing. I'd taken the test before, last year, and failed. But last year I really should have taken a much lower level. Last year was kind of like being trampled by an angry rhino that was made out of language. This year was much better, and I may have even actually passed the thing. Even if I didn't pass, though, it was an awesome experience because of the mental place that it put me in.

I've been studying for my entire time in Japan, but I been studied far more intensely than normal the week before the test, and loved it. Absolutely loving it. I studied so much that I got a sort of high off of it. Really. For the entire week beforehand I'd made myself do little else with my free time, and while I definitely couldn't keep up that level of work all the time, it was great while it lasted. Finding stuff out, seeing how systems work, looking at a pile of information and seeing how it all fits together is one of the most pleasurable sensations ever. To suddenly understand something new, to have a new skill or ability, to see the world in a new way- that is a niftier aquisition than any new object.

Seriously. Knowing stuff rocks.

Anyway, nerdy knowledge junky that I am, the test gave me a focus and reason for my studies. I'm fairly goal-oriented, and something like the test is just the sort of thing that can make me work and act in such a way that I wouldn't be able to under normal circumstances. Also, the experience of the test was wonderful compared to last year. Like I said, last year's examinating trampled me handily. This time, though, I actually understood almost everything that was on it. I didn't know all of the vocabulary, and on some of the finer points of grammar I had to guess, but even in questions where I didn't know the specifics of the language mechanics I was still able to understand what the sentence was about. That's a fairly big deal, and comparing that with last year's experience gave me an awesome feeling of progress.

Afterwards I joined a bunch of friends (several of whom had also taken the test) and we commemorated our academic endeavors by getting absolutely trashed on Brazilian sugar-cane booze. Fun times.

Come February, I've another test to prepare for- the U.S. Foreign Service Officer Exam. While I'm still studying Japanese for the fun and immediate utility of it, I'm also refreshing my knowledge of political science. Yay studying! Yay knowing stuff! Yay!

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Good job, Joe. Knowing stuff does rock!