Yesterday I received my first soroban certificate! Here it is:Official certificate for soroban 6th kyu levelIt says that Iris is now a sorobanista of 6th kyu rank, which is not really much but, it’s a start. Everything has to have its proper order in Japan, so this certificate is signed (see the two red seals on the far left) with the names of two famous people who are somehow affiliated with this soroban association. The leftmost of them is Yamazaki Naoko, who, in 2010, became the second Japanese woman in space… I feel honored, actually!

The interesting thing about this certificate is that is does not contain my birthdate, although it should. No, it’s not because I deleted it… It’s because this is a pre-printed certificate, where only name, birthdate, and current kyu-rank are filled in by hand. Apparently, only children take these sort of exams, so the birth year is pre-printed as “Heisei”, the current Japanese era (we are in Heisei 26 right now). However, my birthdate falls into the last Japanese era called “Showa”, hence they left this part of the certificate blank. Sensei promised me to ask next time to have a “Showa” certificate issued, I said it was not important until I’ll get the first dan grade – the equivalent to a black belt in martial arts. Anyway, it’s a nice certificate (noticed the phoenixes?) and I am sufficiently proud of it!

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