Kawagoe is actually not such a famous place, and even if you find yourself hankering for a brief escape from the urban jungle that is Tokyo (but really, why would you ever want that? I love it…), there are probably better choices out there: Hakone, Yokohama, Nikko and Kamakura, just to name a few. So why did we end up going to Kawagoe? Well, for one, I’ve already been pretty much everywhere else in the area. And for two, Starbucksgirl’s (I really ought come up with a new moniker for her, since she doesn’t work at Starbucks anymore…) family runs a mochi shop, which means she likes traditional Japanese sweets. And being secretly (or not so secretly) a child inside, I happen to love candy and all things sweet (even mochi too, at this point). Guess what? Kawagoe is famous for sweets.
The results for the Japanese Proficiency Exam (JLPT) Level 1 (the highest level) for last December were announced earlier this month, and I was delighted to see that I passed. I passed both the JLPT 1 and the JLPT 2 (which I sat back in 2008) each on my first try. I’m not particularly great at Japanese (I famously confused the words for “poop” and “bean jam” once, causing great consternation to the old woman staffing the bakery counter), but still passing both on your first try doesn’t seem to be a super common feat, especially for test-takers whose native language is English. When I was studying for the test, I remember googling for study strategies which others might have used. There are a few good resources out there, but I thought I would write up my take on it as well, for what it’s worth.