David Chart's Japan Diary

December 20th 2003

Shoujida Park Shoujida Park in the show. The writing on the stone says 'Shoujida Kouen', which means 'Shoujida Park'.

It's gone cold again. We had snow last night, and it didn't all melt during the day. Other parts of Japan had lots of snow; there were emergency severe weather warnings on the television last night, and some areas around here apparently had about 50cm, or even more. We only got about 5cm, as you can see from the pictures. Silver, I think this is all your fault for sending a 'Let it Snow' Christmas card. So, Okazaki was cold but pretty, while other places had problems, and portions of the public transport system seized up completely.

Graves in the Snow The cemetery next to Shoujida Park.

Last week was mainly taken up with tests. On Monday we had a composition test, for which we had to write 800 characters in fifty minutes. We were told that the topic would be one of three in advance, but not which one, so we could do a bit of preparation. I managed to write the required amount, but I have no idea how good it was, as the results aren't back yet.

We got the results of our class test back on Wednesday (the test itself was last Tuesday). Once again, my results on the listening comprehension section were terrible, far below the class average, and even lower than last time. My listening comprehension has, however, definitely improved, test results notwithstanding. Grammar and conversation were at about the same relative levels as last time, so that's OK.

Thursday was the Yamasa placement test, which seemed to go really, really badly. I gather that it doesn't have a huge influence on your class in the following quarter, as a lot more is based on the work you've done during the term, but as I noted last week, a term involving some consolidation might well not be a bad thing. We won't find out what classes we are in until next term anyway, because there will be some new people, and the levels of next term's classes will bear very little relation to the levels of the equivalently-named classes this term. There are two reasons for this. One is that there are no exam preparation classes next quarter, and this quarter they made up three of the top five classes, so the larger group will be reorganised and split. The second is that fewer people start in January than in October, so the level of each class will be higher on average.

I'm rather tired due to the end of the quarter, but apart from that, no problems.