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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

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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