Waiting to Look at My Own Work


On the 11th I found out that I reached junshodan (準初段). In twelve hours I will get a look at the work. You might think that sounds a bit odd, since I am the one who wrote it. The work was done on the third week of last month and, since I skipped the last week, was not as clean a work as I was hoping to turn in. My reaction to the teacher’s announcement that I advanced, was one of shock and surprise. (OK, there was joy and satisfaction mixed in as well.)

Tomorrow, she will return July’s works when she hands out September’s models. Studying my work will help me understand what the society liked, and will give me a look at my growth (and areas needing improvement.)

On a nerdy, detail-loving side; I want to get a look at the official markings on the paper. Normally, when I advance, one of the stamps on the page reads shinkyuu (進級). Shin is the kanji meaning susumu, ‘to advance’; and kyuu is the lower system of levels.

Since the levels from here on up are called dan (段) – pronounced like the name ‘Don’, not the name ‘Dan’ – I have long wondered if advancing from kyuu to dan gets the shinkyuu label or if there is another word to refer to the transition between the two systems of levels. Likewise, I wonder if there is a word for advancing from dan to dan. My dictionary does not have any words like shindan, so it may be that shinkyuu is a general word for advancement regardless of what kind of levels are used. It is after all, also used for advancing grade levels in school, like ichinensei (一年生) to ninensei (二年生).

You may wonder why I can’t just ask my teacher. Well, I have asked my teacher (and fellow students who are above my level.) Unfortunately nobody could recall: partly because advances get few and far between; and partly because most people don’t bother with such pedantic information as what gets stamped on their works. Sometimes I think I might do better to just focus on the doing of the art, but that just isn’t me. Here’s to learning more details tomorrow.


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