Following Up

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Had a great weekend. Studied a lot for the Kanji Kentei. Friday we had a special judge come to the photographic society meeting. Afterwards he joined us at Taishou for dinner and drinks. Saturday I could not make major improvement in my shuji, but I learned a lot. Next Saturday I hope to put that learning into use. Sunday I went to an international exchange luncheon and then to an English tea house. I think I made a few good connections for possible classes.

I can’t seem to pass the sample tests for the level 8 Kanji Kentei. I have learned a lot, but they always through some curve balls in and I fall just a tad short. Hopefully, by Friday I will be ready. Also the level 8 test requires 80% or better to pass. Some sections have only 5 questions which means you can only make one mistake. The sections in which I am strongest are worth fewer points.

At level 7, a passing grade is 70% or better. Wouldn’t it be strange if I failed the level 8 test on Friday and passed the level 7 test on Sunday.

One tough part on the test is writing okurigana. Most verbs in Japanese consist of one or more kanji characters followed by phonetic kana characters to add grammar. So the reading of the characters is split between the kanji and the following kana; knowing where this split falls is a bit tricky. For example: atatameru (温める) assigns the first three syllables – ‘a’, ‘ta’, and ‘ta’ – to the kanji and the final two – ‘me’ and ‘ru’ – to the okurigana. In this case, I can remember it because the readings atatakai, atatameru, and atatamaru all exist; the common portion atata is assigned to the kanji in each case.

Some cases are very easy, like ou (追う), which only has two sounds. There is always at least one syllable assigned to the kanji and the okurigana, respectively.

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