March 9, 2018: Hello Again, Readers, I Have Come After a Long Absence to Brag, Again: Kanji Kentei 3-kyū and Three Other Important Things Since Last Friday

My Kanji Kentei 3-kyū Certificate
My Kanji Kentei 3-kyū Certificate

Long time no blog. I've decided to be more active from now on with updating this blog. I made almost zero updates in 2017, and I really felt like something was missing from my life. Over the past week (well, technically slightly more than a week because it's Friday night, now), four major things have happened:

  1. Last Friday, after a two-day ordeal, I finished filing my tax return at the Tachikawa Tax Office, and although the process felt like it caused several new gray hairs and wrinkles to appear on my head and face, respectively, the good news is that I will get over ¥371,000 back—that's over $3,400 at the current exchange rate. This was not a surprise—I knew I had been overpaying, but it's still nice to have confirmation that that money will indeed return to me.

  2. On Saturday, I handed a signed contract to my boss, which he had already signed. I will work there for at least one more year (maybe more, depending on various factors), from April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019.

  3. Yesterday was my 7th Japanniversary. I arrived in Japan at approximately 11:55 AM on March 7, 2011. Basically, I am now less than three years away from being able to apply for permanent residency, out of the ten continous years required.

  4. Today, I got the certificate in the mail that says that I passed Kanji Kentei 3-kyū. It's a test of 1,607 kanji, or all the kanji taught through the end of junior high school.

    At the test center, the girls behind and in front of me were 14 years old (I could see their birthdates on their answer sheets before the exam started) and the woman to my right was 19, so although I was still over a decade older than them, it wasn't as embarrassing as taking 7-kyū back in 2011, in which I found myself in a room full of elementary school children. Pretty much everyone there was at least a teenager. The pass rate was only 46.8% and almost all the examinees were Japanese, I believe—as far as I know, I was the only non-Japanese in the room—everyone else had black hair and East Asian features, so I suppose a Chinese or Korean could have slipped in there, for example, but as far as I know, all of them were Japanese.

    Now, my kanji is as good as a Japanese freshman in high school! :-) There are actually Japanese people out there who finished junior high school (the highest level of compulsory education in Japan) and opted not to go to high school (which is not required), who have the same kanji level as me. Yes, I'm kind of proud, because it took me less than seven years to achieve what a typical Japanese person takes 15 years to achieve (although it is only fair to note that I have lived in East Asia for over 16 years, so I guess I'm right about where I should be). Should I take the pre-2-kyū next? I passed the 3-kyū with 155/200 (a 15-point margin—the pass mark is 140/200), so it's not inconceivable that with lots of study, I could pass Kanji Kentei Pre-2-kyū, as well. Pre-2 is acceptable even for Japanese adults, so it would be a major, major victory. This one was still a major victory, though, but with only one "major."

    Online Pass Notification
    This notification says I passed the test. I got the notification at 10:00 AM on 2/26. The test date was 2/4.

    Paper Score Report
    This is the paper score report that came in the mail on 3/9. It has my score on it.

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