Friday, October 07, 2005


As the teacher was preparing us for the placement test, she explained that it would be divided in to three sections and at some point during the test we would have to go down the hall for a one on one interview (I had old mental images of going to the principal's office for an "interview" kicking around in my mind). The first section was a dictation, for us to demonstrate our ability in Hiragana/Katakana (the Japanese equivalent of an alphabet). The second part was the grammar section, and third was the nomimono section. Now I know from past lessons that nomimono means drink, but I honestly didn't think we were getting a drinking test. I just assumed there must be another meaning for the word or perhaps it was some sort of analogy. In any case I figured it would become evident when we progressed that far into the test.
As I proceeded from excited anticipation prior to the test, to hopefulness that there would be something I knew later in the test, to acceptance that the test was not going to get any easier, and finally to the reality of being beat up, I had some idle time in between. During one of those moments I wrote down what the teacher had put on the board about the yomimono for later reference, perhaps it would be a good idea to look that up in the dictionary since it had not become obvious what or when that part of the test was going to happen.
When I got home, I asked Aukje what a nomimono test was, and she, (bewildered) looked at me as if I was a gibbering fool. I said "Here, I wrote it down see?" Yomimono.
Well she laughed at me, because I had mixed up the yo and the no. I was right that nomimono really does mean drink, but I was wrong because that was not what was written on the board. It was yomimono which means reading, and indeed the third section of the test was a reading exercise.
Aukje welcomed me to living in Japan and assured me that I was making the inaugural of many such mistakes, some of which will be humorous, but some of which might be downright embarrassing.
I'll try to keep you up to date.

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