I apologize for my absence. I’m not even participating in NaNoWriMo this year and this month has still threatened to eat me alive with its general busyness. But it is all about to lead up to the apex. One thing I have waited nearly all year for. The other? I never thought possible.
The first thing, the one I’ve been waiting for, is taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test on December 1st.
This test has 5 levels and tests one’s ability with the Japanese language in reading, comprehension, and listening skills. Obviously this test doesn’t rank one’s skills in speaking and writing, which are two totally different skills from the ones the JLPT does test, but it’s a start. I will be taking the lowest level, the N5, with Eris. It’s what we’ve been studying for this year, having both taken college Japanese courses 4-5 years ago. Having to pay money for a test and traveling out-of-state is a great motivator to keep studying.
I will admit that I am utterly terrified of this test. I think I’m most afraid of not finishing, or rather not finishing enough. I know I’ll be fine if I don’t get to just a few questions. But while the last couple weeks of practice have taught me I can apparently read Japanese more quickly than I thought I could, it may not yet be fast enough. If my skills are not at a level to pass this year, I will try again next year. No matter what, I will keep trying to move forward in my study of the language. It’s my passion. In my eyes it is possibly the most beautiful language I have ever heard or ever seen written. Speaking it is a joy in itself. I hope to one day find myself at least at a conversational fluency, and knowing all of the core vocabulary, kanji, and grammar concepts. It will take time. But I am willing to devote myself.
I am most often asked why I chose Japanese to study. Was it the anime? Was it the fashion? Was it the history? I’ve had many answers over the years, trying to explain my reasoning, but finally I’ve realized my answer is as simple as this: Because it feels wrong that I am not able to speak it. I feel as though I’ve forgotten something long integral to myself, and studying the language is slowly bringing it back to me.
The second thing, the one I never dreamed possible, comes just 3 days after the JLPT. . .
On December 4th I am flying to California to see VAMPS live and in person. The biggest rock band in Japan and I have been granted the opportunity to see them for myself. It almost feels as though the universe is making up for all of the down moments I’ve had this year in one grand, sweeping motion. Even better than seeing them in concert? I’ve been granted the even more precious opportunity to meet them after the show.
No, it has not sunk in. No, I doubt it will sink in at all until I see them walk on stage. That’s how it has always been for me with concerts. I get excited for them, but somehow it never sinks in that I am truly seeing those people in the flesh and blood until I actually DO. And then it’s as though the world stops. I hope my world stops on the 4th. Of all the musicians I adore, and there are dozens, K.A.Z is the one that means the most to me. He is also the only one that doesn’t reduce me to fangirling on some level. I may never have met him, but my admiration and adoration for him runs beyond fangirlish squeals and into something much more honest. And now I can finally meet him, as I never hoped I could, even if it’s only for a moment. And even though I’m sure he’ll never remember who I am, I feel as though a part of me will heal forever. And I hope that right then, my world stops.
However my trip doesn’t end there! Miss Tameri, long known as my Writer Mama, is going to the show with me and we’re planning on spending an incredible, whirlwind girls’ night/day in Hollywood. Nothing could thrill me more than to share my first-ever spontaneous escape with her, and I feel very blessed that she was more than willing to be along for the adventure. It’s also my very first opportunity to meet her and her family in person, and I can’t wait!
I have no idea whether or not I’ll be allowed to take any photographs at the VAMPS concert or meet-and-greet. I certainly will if allowed. But no matter what there will be a very excited report of the event the week following it as well as photos and reports from the rest of the adventure!!
Here’s to following your heart, no matter where that leads. . .