Tests and Rain…

Lanterns on the 浅野川

Lanterns on the 浅野川

It is still 梅雨, rainy season.  I love the rain but hate the humidity that accompanies it during the summer months.  It doesn’t rain constantly during rainy season – we go days without rain – but there is the constant threat of a downpour as you push through the heavy, thick, humid air.  Ah, summer, how I loath  thee…

To cool off I’ll flash back to Kyoto over the New Year holidays…

Monkey at Arashiyama Monkey Park

Monkey at Arashiyama Monkey Park

Okay, it wasn’t freezing but it wasn’t humid either.

Now back to summer…

There was a festival in Kanazawa the first weekend in June.  It’s called 百万石 (Hyakumangoku) and lasts for three days.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  That Friday I actually took off from work.  I lucked out with the way the schedule was written up and had no classes.  Friday night is when the elementary schools march through the streets.  Everyone then goes down to the 浅野川 (Asano-gawa) to watch lit lanterns float down the river.  It was a really amazing experience.  It was a drizzly, sometimes rainy day, but everyone still came out.

Lanterns floating under one of the bridges over the 浅野川

Lanterns floating under one of the bridges over the 浅野川

I apologize for the graininess and blurriness of the above photo – I was shooting at a higher ISO while balancing on a rock in the river surrounding by people in the rain…The men in the river are helping the lanterns along.  There had not been a lot of rain before the festival, so the river was lower than normal.

Saturday I went to work so I missed the parade.  If you go to http://100mangoku.net/know_hana.html you can see some of what the parade looks like.  I was able catch some of the ladder acrobatics while eating lunch.  We could hear the parade from inside the school.

Sunday I headed up to the castle park to take in some more of the festivities.  The highlight had to be the 獅子舞 (Shishi-mai Lion Dance) towards the end.  Sunday’s weather was the complete opposite of Friday’s; sunny and hot!

獅子舞

獅子舞

This is one of the performers during the 獅子舞.  You can view a different shot of the festival here – http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3800308/.

Towards the end of June two of my college professors were in Japan.  It was great to have lunch with them and catchup on everything that has been happening.  In April I had Skyped in for a panel discussion at the school.  I was on the panel the year before (and attended in person) and both times it has been a great experience.  Using Skype was a bit strange as everyone could see me clearly but I could not see them clearly.  Plus with the time difference, it was around three in the morning in Japan.

I saw them both via Skype during the panel and one of them in person over the Golden Week holiday, but seeing both in person at the same time was wonderful.

Onto the test portion of this post.  Yesterday I took the JLPT.  Holy language headache Batman!  No, really, I ended up with a major headache by the end of the test.  The bus over was filled with Indonesian, Chinese (not sure whether it was Mandarin or Cantonese), and Vietnamese.  Not to mention Japanese.  There was a special bus schedule that was almost like a test itself just to get to the test.  The schedule had a lot of kanji on it and you needed to be able to read it in order to get on the correct bus.  The extra buses weren’t numbered so you had to be able to read the sign on the window and understand enough of the announcement.  Once at the testing site, everything was in Japanese.  Need to know what room your test is in?  Need to understand the directions the proctors are giving you?  When you need to be back in the room?  What you need to do for each section?  Yep, all in Japanese.  I’m happy to say I made it to the testing site.  I also made it through the test without any infractions.  I even made it back to station with no issues other than the headache and being mentally exhausted.  I won’t know till August how I did on the test.  I’m not sure I passed as I did not have enough time to study.  I managed to come up with a real good study schedule…three weeks before the exam!  The next test is in December but I am implementing the study schedule now.

Well, until next time…

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