As it happened, the Naha Marathon was right on the morning of the JLPT. Spent half an hour watching the endless stream of runners passing by as they ran through the city center.
So why do I do it? In part I want to "catch them all". I have all the other levels, and getting the highest one would give me the complete set. But it's also a nice day away from home. I go to some area I'd normally wouldn't visit, have lunch, mill about with hordes of nervous people — mostly young, almost all from nearby Asian countries — then take a relaxing walk on the way back home.
The Convention Center is a really pleasant facility. Most of it — the park, especially — is open to anybody when there's no event happening here.
This year the test was at the Convention Center in XXX on Okinawa. It's a nice parkland area right next to the sea, with a beach and a marina, well worth visiting for an afternoon. The N1 test was in a single, huge room with over 200 seats. The echoes made the listening portion more challenging than usual, but it was bright and airy so not bad overall.
Part of the test hall. Bad shot; sorry about that.
The results came a couple of weeks ago. And I passed.
To be sure, I didn't pass by a lot — 103/180 points is only 3 points over the limit — but still. To nobody's surprise, my reading score was very good (I love reading, after all). The listening was also quite good — it had better be, living here — while the grammar score was lousy. I'm sure all my old language teachers would nod in recognition.
What does this mean? On one hand, I now have all the JLPT levels. On the other, I no longer have any motivation at all to study grammar in the future. And I no longer have a yearly excursion to some random area to look forward to. Maybe it's time to start studying for the Kanji kentei :)
Just a house. It's not notable, it doesn't appear in any guidebook or anything. But it is pretty neat, and I would never have seen it if I hadn't sat the JLPT nearby and walked back.