The morning of the test, I had to head out and be on a train by 8AM. I got to Nishi-Funabashi to transfer to the Toyo-Kosoku line. As soon as I walked down the stairs to the platform, it was one of the weirdest sights I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to explain, but even though almost everyone was Asian, you could tell immediately that it wasn’t a usual crowd of Japanese people. Almost every single person waiting on that train platform was a foreigner, and everyone was going to the same place as me to take the JLPT. Tons of people were holding up JLPT preparation books in various languages, checking notes and talking to their friends about the test. It was unreasonably loud with chatter too. It was so strange. The best way I can describe it is like the Harry Potter movies. You know, when they go to the train station and you see all these magic people, wizards, etc running around with shopping carts? Only instead of magical school kids and giants, it was nerdy looking white guys and Korean girls in emo glasses and trucker hats.
And that brings me to my next point. While you’d expect “group of foreigners in Japan” to mean a bunch of predominantly white people, you’d be pretty wrong. Actual Asians make up the biggest percentage of foreigners here. And that never applied more heavily than to the people taking the JLPT. Of course I only experienced one test site at Funabashi, but I’m willing to bet everyone else had similar experiences.
Does this match everyone else’s examinee groups fairly well?
In an attempt to make my page more intelligent-looking, I have constructed a pie chart showing the groups of people who were taking the JLPT this year. This has been scientifically validated and checked a few times by my imagination.
- Asian chicks – as I said, most of the foreigners taking the test seemed to be Asian, but then it also seemed that most of them were female. However, I had to add an extra subgroup (see next) to help classify further. This is the “without glasses” group.
- Asian chicks with emo glasses – It’s almost ridiculous how many of these girls were wearing emo glasses. It’s even more common now than the stupid trucker hats and furry collared-coats. But there are some girls who rock all 3, and I’m pretty sure they’re always the Korean ones. By the way, if you do a Google Image Search for “emo glasses,” most of the pictures that show up are of Asian chicks.
- Other Asians – guys, really really ugly females, and TheLeong.
- Middle Eastern guys – Although I don’t tend to see a lot of Middle Eastern-looking guys around Chiba or even when I go to Tokyo, there seemed to be quite a few taking the JLPT. And they also always seemed to be in groups, even more than the other groups present. Seriously, I never saw a lone Middle Eastern guy at the test. I didn’t seem to see any Middle Eastern girls though.
- Other – Mainly this is white people. Also the one black guy I saw. There are of course many sub-classifications for the white people I saw at the test, such as “confused looking old guy” and “huge nerd wearing way too much winter gear.”
Well that’s enough statistics and data for one night.