Today saw me finally sit, and fail (of this there can surely be no doubt), the JLPT N2 test. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts when I arrived in the exam room to find that the only clock had, for some unknown reason, been covered with coloured paper. As I had purposefully left my digital wristwatch at home (a single noise from it’s mechanical case and I would have been ejected, under the draconian rules of the examinations board), this left me at something of a quandary, but not to worry as I was informed that I could put my hand up and ask for the time at any point during the examination. After finishing the grammar and kanji section I raised my hand and expressed my one civil liberty, only to be informed that I had just over half an hour left to do the entire reading session; news which was about as welcome as a hole in the head, although far more lingering.
In the break before the listening exam (another resounding failure) I went outside to get some fresh air, only to find myself surrounded on all sides by facilitators with placards informing people to be quiet. Whilst this was obviously a necessity (the different grades of the JLPT exams starting and finishing at different times), I found it a little odd that as I was silently making my way to the toilet I was singled out and approached by a member of staff who asked me to keep the noise down. I can only surmise that my disillusionment had plummeted to such depths that it had physically manifested itself as a verbal utterance, and that it was for this involuntary outburst of my psyche that I was now being rebuked. I don’t want to appear downbeat, but there is more chance of Greece being awarded a prize for fiscal fortitude than there is of me passing that test.