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The end of summer

Summer is quietly wrapping up in Japan as the weather began plotting course for the autumn season. Yet, the remaining heat that hinted summer still remain. Signs of typhoon and extreme heat still present, albeit not that as glaring a few months ago.

I left some signs of summer this year — the sunburn on my hands due to the long exposure under the sun, unfulfilled plans that were forcefully delayed, and places revisited with different impressions.

This marked my second summer in Japan. Although the condition is the same with Malaysia (albeit at some cases, harsher than that of Malaysia), I sometimes struggled to cope with the heat. With heat stroke warnings issued and continued hospitalization of unfortunate people on the rise, I realized I cannot take things lightly.

Speaking of taking things not lightly, I casually registered for the international communication oriented English exams (TOEIC) and had received my results. Suffice to say, the results were within expectations… but how would a typical Japanese think?

Some days ago, I received an internal email extending an invitation to take the Listening and Reading portion of the TOEIC. This exam mainly assesses one’s ability in listening and comprehending the English language in international communication context. A friend of mine questioned its usefulness in really evaluating one’s English skill. I concurred, but I can’t help but to think, what about the JLPT?

A coworker once told me that he feared looking at English words — it was as if he was looking at a bunch of garbled characters, and that they were hard to understand. I can understand his feelings and thoughts; quite precise when I first learned Japanese. Although there are kanji, the Chinese characters, they are quite different from the hanzi that I knew.

Japanese is still a fascinating language to learn (continuously). I picked up a book targeting primary school learners of native Japanese to continue learning. Needless to say, I am still amazed with the amount of things I didn’t know. I learned to appreciate my colleagues who are (probably) struggling to understand what I tried to say, and possibly (silently) absorbed the less polite form way of speaking that I used everyday.

I’m drafting a TODO list for travel, domestically and internationally. I found that taking the bus to travel overnight saves cost if you are not in a rush. I also found that one can go to Yamagata from Narita now at a relatively low cost via LCCs. So much to do yet so little time.

By Adrian Khor

Speaks Mandarin Chinese, English, Japanese, and Malay. Software developer based in Greater Tokyo, Japan. Specializes in .NET stack and C# at web and desktop development. Loves to listen to music, watching movies, reading books, and travel.

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