Level up

You know about the levels in Karate, right? The different belts associated with different levels. In Japan, this isn’t limited to Karate. They also have similar levels for things like English tests, which is somewhat understandable, and then things like tea ceremony and calligraphy. I’m not even lying.

I used to think these were entirely unnecessary, especially the levels for tea ceremony, I couldn’t see why you’d want to judge someone on something artistic like that. You’re judged on how well you can copy a set of arbitrary rules.

I think my problem was in the fact that the levels usually stop at 1, in reverse order to how we’d do it in English. So that once you reached level one, you’d have nowhere else to go. Well I reached level one in the JLPT, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and I still felt I had a long way to go to put it to use professionally.

However, having taught people who want to work with this system, I’ve started to see a number of benefits. Having levels like this really helps in giving you a feel of progress, and satisfaction at overcoming a challenge. I now think these levels are great at motivating people to do something that they may not have otherwise done. My issue with level one being the highest still stands, but it’s just something interesting I have noticed during my time here.

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

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