I just got the e-mail notifying me that I passed level 3! I got 328/400, and rocked sections 1 and 3 (kanji and grammar), but screwed up on the listening section, and I know exactly why: I forgot and/or didn’t realize that the listening section only plays once, so I didn’t listen as closely as I should have.
But, I mean, come on. It’s so unrealistic to think that a Japanese speaker will say something to you only once in a conversation and then refuse to repeat it, especially if you’re a foreigner. S/he will be more than willing to repeat him/herself if you didn’t quite hear it all.
…okay, well, 49 times out of 50, the speaker would think that my asking him/her to repeat him/herself meant that I didn’t understand, and not that I didn’t hear it properly, so s/he then would try to reword and simplify it instead of just repeating it, which was frustrating.
And I do get why they only played it once: to force you to listen closely. It just doesn’t really jive with the real thing.
But–yeah! To celebrate, I’m going to go watch the lunar eclipse, which just began about 10 minutes ago. Sweet!