Congratulations! Your Test Has Been Preponed!

This kanji reads “ganbaru,” which is usually translated as “good luck” but which actually means “try hard.” This explains Japan better than any other example I can think of.

We all groaned when the Japanese kanji teacher handed us this week’s schedule: on Friday, in addition to her weekly test on the 25 characters we were supposed to have learned, another teacher was hitting us with a three-chapter grammar review exam. Two tests to cram for on the same day!

She saw our faces and said sympathetically, “Two tests on the same day really does sound like a hardship. I’ll talk to the head teacher and ask if we can move the kanji test.” Whew.

The next day, she came in and and announced with a big smile, “Good news! We’ve agreed to change the kanji test. Instead of taking it on Friday, now it will be…on THURSDAY.”

<facepalm> Welcome to Japan.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of  four novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more