Today’s Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) was, if anything, even more difficult than the mock test that I took a couple of weeks ago. What made it even more difficult was the disciplinary system that was enforced: a yellow card for a minor offense (e.g. your watch beeping during the non-listening sections of the test), and a red card for a major offense (e.g. your watch beeping during the listening sections of the test), with two yellows also resulting in an early bath. What made this system particularly arduous, for me at least, was that I didn’t quite understand all of the instructions that were read out to us at the beginning of the exam. Thus I had no way of knowing if coughing, sneezing, or even breathing in a slightly irregular fashion was permissible. However, given that the only thing that I actually wanted to do, namely run up and down the aisles screaming with frustrated glee, was almost certainly forbidden, I just put my head down and got on with guessing answering the damn thing as best I could.
After the exam Richard and I headed off to our local treacherous playground to blow off some steam. As well as playing in the new water feature (a giant paddling pool full of tepid, murky water), most of the children seemed preoccupied with climbing onto a roof and hitting each other with poles (no doubt some delightful Japanese tradition), so we had the bottom section of the concourse to ourselves. Spotting a near vertical 12ft slide we decided to try it out, with me rather bravely volunteering to go second. Aside from the fact that he almost broke his coccyx, Richard did a wonderful job of navigating the giant wooden monstrosity and coating himself in mud. I managed to remain mud-free, but my girlish screams of delight meant that I hardly basked myself in glory; an on-going theme for the day I fear.