So, since I do plan to take the JLPT once I get to that point in my self-education and do plan to go all the way through N1, I did some quick reading about the test sites and locations. I live in Canada, in the Interior region of British Columbia, and according to the JLPT website, the only places hosting the test are in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto.
Here’s my issue: I’m visually handicapped and unable to drive as a result, and the Greyhound bus stopped serving all provinces west of Ontario at the end of October. Vancouver is about a 5-hour drive/bus ride from where I live (Kelowna, BC for anyone who wants to see the distance for themselves). There is a smaller bus service that started up right after Greyhound pulled out called Ebus, and it does go from Kelowna to Vancouver (and back), but its service is rather sporadic and I believe stops at the Kelowna airport, which is a ways from my neighborhood (I’ll be at the mercy of the local transit system). All the arrangements will take a lot of advance planning and basically makes getting to the Vancouver test site a pretty steep challenge in itself, though my perspective is that passing the test will be even more satisfying as a result. It’s still going to be a while before I make the attempt, and I’d like to study the Genki textbooks (as well as the audio CDs) as part of the test prep, so I’ve got plenty of time yet.
Still, I figured I’d reach out for advice or suggestions given my situation. I don’t really have an issue navigating things on my own, but I’m wondering if there’s some sort of alternative to all this, or at least a way to make it less tedious just to get to the test site. Has anyone else here had a similar situation?
I’ve never been to Canada, so I’m obviously not the most knowledgeable, but what about looking for a local group of Japanese students/Japanese classes and the like?
I assume they will also want to attempt the JLPT on a regular basis, and might be carpooling. In that case, you could just ride along
Plus, it’s always nice (for me at least) to be with a group of likeminded people, especially when it comes to something like learning a language.
That’s a great idea, actually–I’m already a member at the local university campus’ video game development club (we’re working on a bullet hell game and I’m in charge of the writing/story for the time being), so maybe I could ask the student union if they have any suggestions. I also need to follow up with the Kelowna-Kasugai Sister City Association since I wanted to help with volunteering and events (and apparently members do have the opportunity to visit Kasugai, so a trip to Japan is possible); they host an annual event here in Kelowna called “Taste of Japan,” which is full of Japanese cultural stuff and therefore a great place to ask questions.
As for classes, they’d have to be supplementary/non-credit, and I don’t really have the financial luxury right now.
My test site was hours and hours away from where I live–I made a decision that instead of trying to get up at like 4 am, travel to the site, take the test on top of travel fatigue AND travel back to my town all within a day, it would be much easier to just shell out the money for a hotel room. I’m really glad I did that, it was much nicer for my nerves to be able to wake up comfortably a few hours before the test and just walk to the location without dealing with all the stress of travel. Maybe you could consider going that route.
I can’t tell you how to prioritize your studies but for me the JLPT became a massive motivator for me to study—I busted my ass almost every day from the day I signed up for the test until the test day, so it was worth it for me to spring for the hotel room on top of that if it meant reducing stress and improving my chances of passing.
I had no idea the Greyhound had stopped their service around here; that really sucks!
I was in Kelowna until just last year doing my university degree and I know a lot of people used the carpool/rideshare groups on Facebook to find rides to Vancouver. There’s a UBCO one as well as a general Kelowna one I believe, so I would check out both. There are also some websites that offer the same service that come up if you do a quick Google search.
I would also suggest looking into flights. Flair Air offers ridiculously cheap flights - especially if you book during a sale. Good luck!
The test is always on a Sunday, I think. Try to turn it into a long weekend, so you’re not travelling 12+ hours for a 4 hour stay (the test). All that travel could feel more worth it, if tou also get a vacation out of it. Then just pick the city that is most fun (maybe you have friends or family somewhere?)
I have next to no knowledge of Canadia topography, so I might be way off here, but maybe there is a US city that hosts the JLPT closer to you, too? I took the JLPT in Paris last December (I live in the Netherlands. Took a nightbus. Was hella tired).
Thanks for the advice, everyone. First and foremost, I don’t use Facebook and am not comfortable on social media sties in general (mainly because I’m extremely uncomfortable with people; still trying to work through that last bit of my traumatic past). I’m also still fairly new to Kelowna–haven’t even been here a year, and I’ve only lived in Canada since October 2017, when I left the United States for good. I feel like making some connections here (in spite of trauma), doing volunteer work, and just attempting to get settled here in general is more a priority at the moment than worrying about how I’ll get to Vancouver.
I was already planning to find a hotel, but I also have a friend in Vancouver who’s also learning Japanese. We’ve got a lot of common interests (art/music production, game development, etc.), so I’ll probably coordinate with him to see if he might be able to help. Hanging out with friends is always nice, though I don’t have friends in Kelowna yet, just acquaintances.
Saida, I think the word you were looking for is “geography.” That said, Canada is actually very sparsely populated, but it’d be a mistake to say it’s a big, empty place–the vast majority of land is wilderness and untamed nature, unlike the US. Kelowna is much closer to Vancouver or even Edmonton than any of the US cities hosting the JLPT–and besides, I have no intention of going back any time soon, for any reason.
I guess it is. In Dutch the word Topografie is used to indicate the study of locations, be it rivers, mountains, or cities and towns. So I mistakenly thought the term in English also included cities. Thanks!
Sorry to hear about traumatic experiences. I hope there won’t be any more added, and that you have/find the right tools to deal with them. Good luck building your new life in Kelowna, and in your Japanese studies!
Ah, well…it seems I may have to move back to the US after all. Lots of things have happened here in Canada and it hasn’t even been a year, but it culminated with a pretty nasty wake-up call on Monday. I guess I wasn’t meant to start here–and the past three years, which involved a lot of moves to different places in both the US and Canada, have essentially been a period of self-discovery. It’s time for me to return home…not to the United States, or even any city within the US, but to the forest around Flagstaff where it all began for me.
Japanese will have to wait a bit longer, but by the time I’m actually settled where I need to be, I’m sure I’ll have over a thousand reviews to work through. If I’m being honest, though, it’s probably better for me to connect with students going to Northern Arizona University–both international students from Japan if I can find some, and students in a Japanese program at the school.
I learn better that way, honestly. Always have–it’s how I learned Spanish, too (though that involved having friends online from Latin American countries).
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