The first weekend in December was the JLPT/日本語能力試験
, which was filled with just as much bullshit as I expected it to be. schoolpsycherd
and I took level 4, which we figured that living in Japan for three years would be able to prepare us for. And it...kind of was, in a sense. Our lack of formal schooling (well, mine, schoolpsycherd
did take some classes at university) was a bit obvious. She thinks she passed, I think I failed, mainly because of the listening section. As part of the bullshit I mentioned, the listening section repeated absolutely nothing at all, requiring you to maintain laser-like focus for 35 minutes and preventing you from taking more than a few seconds to think about the answers. There was ample writing space provided, but I quickly learned that it was useless because if you took the time to use it you were already missing the next question (unfortunately, I learned this through experience). The rest of the test was also bullshit, but it's the bullshit inherent to language, like a bunch of words that have slight differences in meaning or all look the same, such as the difference between 料理, 科埋, 料埋, and 科理 (though that would be a better example if those were all real words, which they aren't. At least, not in Japanese. The first one is Japanese, the other three are Chinese).
We plan to take Level 3 next year whether we pass or fail this one. Even if I did fail, I was of an appropriate level where there wouldn't be much point in retaking it. That'll give me a year to study for the new level, too, which should hopefully be enough.
For Thanksgiving, schoolpsycherd
and I took the train down to Kentucky to visit her family. We spent Thanksgiving Day with her father and his girlfriend, and the day after Thanksgiving with her mother and her fiance. Despite our initial misgivings, it actually went really well, and it gave me plenty of time to write (I think I banged out the last 7000 words of my NaNo while we were there). Both dinners were delicious. Dinner at her father's house was a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and her mother's fiance cooked a smaller one but made me a very rare filet mignon, which was incredibly tasty. Also, there were no awkward moments, shouting matches, or anything that we were worried about, though a big portion of that can probably trace back to her mother's refusal to enter her father's house, instead waiting for us out in the car. Still, it was what it was, and it worked out okay.
Last weekend, we went to visit melishus_b
in Seattle! I had been to Seattle before, since my aunt and uncle live there, but schoolpsycherd
had never been (except to the airport, which hardly counts), so we spent two days in Seattle, one day at melishus_b
's house planning (and later throwing) a party, and then one day in the rainforest on the Olympian Peninsula. That last bit was probably my favorite, since I've never been to anything like it before. schoolpsycherd
and I went to a tropical rainforest when we were in Singapore, but that's obvious not the same as a temperate one. Anyway, before we went to the rainforest we went to a little town called Poulsbo
, which is the kind of place that the word "quaint" was invented to describe. Lots of little shops with tasty treats, including some of the best chocolate I've ever eaten, and some places where we stocked up on food before heading off to the rainforest. There's a ton of rainforest photos up on my Facebook.
In Seattle, we went to a little local bar the first night and did the tourist thing the second night, mostly around Pike's Market. We also went to the Museum of Glass
on Saturday afternoon before the party. All in all, it was neat, and I'm looking forward to when melishus_b
gets time off so we can show her around Chicago. (^_^)
And finally, something random, for those who've played Morrowind. The whole thing resolves around the Heart of Lorkhan--the disappearance of the Dwemer, Dagoth Ur's plans with Akulakhan, the Tribunal's power, the final battle takes place in the heart chamber, you spend a huge part of the game looking for the tools the Dwemer used to affect the heart, etc.
Now, listen to the Nerevar Rising
, Morrowind's main theme. The theme that accompanies you throughout the entire
game. Listen to the drums that kick in in the beginning and continue underneath the melody for the whole song.
What do they sound like?
(I <3 Elder Scrolls so much).