Yes, it's the time of year again, when the leaves have fallen, when the rain turns cold and miserable, and when people's thoughts turn towards the year-end parties and the coming holiday - and when foreigners throughout the country gather to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Like last year I took the level 1 test, and like last year I'm going to fail.
Which is fine; I took it just for practice. Unlike last year, however, it didn't feel impossible. I have a decent idea on what parts of the language need improvement (everything) and how much more I need to improve (a lot.) The JLPT is being remade next year, with a new level in between the current 2 and 3, a somewhat different scoring system, and new names for the levels. Oh, and level 1 will reportedly become slightly harder.
So I figure that to the extent passing level 1 has any meaning1 I might as well take the new test rather than the old. My current plan is to make a real attempt on level one this time next year, and if/when I fail that, try again in June next year. Of course, the vagaries of life can and will interfere (when work and study competes for attention work wins every time) but that's the plan at least. I've already started going through the vocabulary and kanji "for real". We'll see.
And if Japanese is not important then a JLPT test certificate is much like being treasurer at your local photography club, or having a forklift licence - it makes for a nicely rounded CV but it's not going to have any material effect.