|Walking to the test in the snow|
Yesterday and today were two very important days in the lives of many young people in Japan. They were two days that actually shaped the future of the many thousands of Japanese students who wish to enter a Japanese collage.
It is not very easy to enter collage in Japan. There are many tests that have to be taken and essays that have to be written. The first (and some would say the most important) of those tests is the National Center Test for University Admissions.
That test is almost always held in mid-January. It might seem a mystery that the test is held in the middle of the winter, but keep in mind that the Japanese school year starts in April. If the test were any earlier the student would not have time to learn the material on the test (Japanese schools teach for the test...but that another discussion for another time) and if it were any later the results could not be used to apply for university.
The Center Test for this year just happened to over lap with a major snow storm that covered almost all of Japan with a lot of snow. 20 tests sites were effected by the storm with delays of 15 minutes to one hour for about 5600 students. There were also 17 students in all that just couldn't make it to the test on time because of all the snow.
Snow was not the only problem to hit the test takers this year. At one of the test sites in Nagoya there was a power outage that lasted about a minute and 40 seconds. The students had to turn their papers over and wait for the power to be restored. Also 98 students will have to take their English listening tests again because their listening apparatus failed.
What I love the most about news stories like this is the fact that they are news stories at all. This would not make a news paper or even an online news site if it happened in America. It just goes to show how important tests are to the Japanese I guess.
It is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 試験(しけん). It is pronounced shiken and it means test. I used to like taking tests when I was in junior high school. I guess I was a little weird.
See you next time at JJNN!