I didn't know why but I was not in a mood to use English lately, and I almost lost confidence in my English ability. I know it's terribly awkward to mumble like this, I can do many things in English, listening to podcast, watching youtube, talking to my friend in Utah and mailing to some friends in US and Canada... That's great, isn't it.
However, It's a different story once your English competence is measured by the standard of Japanese English education.
I took an English test, TOEIC, the other day, and I didn't do well as much as I expected partly because my back started to ache being forced to sit on a fixed seat for two hours, so I couldn't concentrate, and mostly because it was not allowed to write down any marks on the question sheet. I found it terribly difficult to remember the important parts of the story or the names. If I were to put some marks on the sheet, it would be much much easier to pick up the correct answers. sigh...
Furthermore, I have a chance to read some Japanese English textbooks for high schoolers and it was sooo difficult. Of course I can understand it easily, but I doubt it that I would ever be able to write such complicated sentences...phew
So these experiences made me doubt my English ability, but now I know the reason why I ended up losing my confidence.
Our English ability is measured only by the correctness and the amount of knowledge about language itself in Japanese education system.
But I'm able to use English not because the knowledge but something like my characteristics. My English ability wouldn't be measured properly unless my characteristics such as aggressiveness or curiosity is somehow included into the test. There is no room for me to show my strong points.