Test Results Announcement | Japanese Vegetable Sommelier Exam

It is official – I am now a Certified Japanese Junior Vegetable Sommelier!


The (very tiny) text reads:

 This is to certify that the aforementioned person has successfully completed and passed the Junior Vegetable Sommelier examination, as organized by Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association, thus receiving the title of Vegetable Sommelier.

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The Vegetable Sommelier Certification Exam

If you are new to my blog, welcome! And let me explain a little.

The “Vegetable Sommelier” title is a certification showing expert knowledge of fruit and vegetable characteristics and the best way to eat them.Vegetable Sommelier are experts about produce, just like wine sommelier are experts about wine.

The certification is administered by the Japan Vegetable Sommelier Association. To gain the certification, you must pass an examination (in Japanese!). There are 3 levels of Vegetable Sommelier certification: 1) Junior (my current level), 2) Standard, and 3) Senior.

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From 1-star Junior > 2 star Standard > 3 star Senior. I’m aiming for Senior!

Third Time’s the Charm!

So this is actually my 3rd time taking the exam. The first time, I could barely read through the entire exam booklet. The second time, I felt more confident on several sections but I had not finished studying the entire textbook. For the third time, I had actually studied the entire textbook and felt somewhat confident. In the end I was able to pass the test with just one week of extremely concentrated studying. Check out my week of StudyingStudyingStudying for the exam!


This was me from morning to night for one week.

How My Scores Improved

There are four sections in the exam: 1) Vegetable Theory, 2) Communication, 3) Science, and 4) Cookery. Theory is worth 200 points, and the other sections are each worth 100 points. The exam is 2 hours long with about 250 multiple choice questions.

(If you are curious to read more about the exam experience, you can check out my Report from quest to become licensed Japanese “Vegetable Sommelier.”)

Here are my scores in each section from my 3 attempts.

Vegetable Theory (out of 200): 131 -> 140 -> 163

Communication (out of 100): 42 -> 77 -> 88

Science (out of 100): 26 > 52 > 78

Cookery (out of 100): 27 > 20 > 76

Final score: 405/500

I needed at least 350/500 to pass. So I passed comfortably.


When I opened the envelope, I was so excited that I kept jumping up and down. Actually it took a minute for me to register that I had passed. I was desperately scanning the letter inside looking for the words “Congratulations.” Even once I read the letter, I was not confident that I correctly read it and showed the letter to Kosuke. I kept asking, “I passed right? I passed right? Right??!” I am a very proud Junior Vegetable Sommelier and promptly framed my certificate to display on my desk.

My elation at passing the exam surprised me.

I mean, the exam has felt like a silly novelty hobby that I started on a whim. But the truth is that I was extremely extremely pleased to pass the exam. It felt like a real accomplishment. I had tackled an exam that even native Japanese speakers find challenging. I had memorized an entire textbook of material in my second language. I had learned to read words like “obesity epidemic” and “genetically modified.” After years of grinding away at graduate school with little indication of progress, achieving this small and measurable victory meant a lot to me. I burst with a greater sense of accomplishment than I have felt in years. I cried from happiness.

Try some sample exam questions!!

Maybe you’re wondering what kinds of questions appear on the exam… Here are a few sample questions (written in English) that reflect questions on the actual exam.



Q1: Which of these produce items are classified as “GMO” products in Japan?

A. Potatoes, corn, papaya

B. Wheat, peanuts, cotton

C. Soybeans, buckwheat, sugar beets


Q2: Including phrases like “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me” is an example of

A. Using positives not negatives.

B. Using cushion phrases.

C. Using suggestion.


Q3: To help lower blood pressure, it is helpful to eat vegetables with lots of

A. Potassium.

B. Calcium.

C. Iron.


Q4: Cooking ingredients in broth at 100 degrees Celsius is which type of cooking

A. Steaming.

B. Stir Frying.

C. Simmering.

(Answers: Q1 A, Q2 B, Q3 A, Q4 C.) How’d you do…?

So what’s next? The NEXT level (obviously)! For now though, I’m just going to enjoy this moment.


Read about my journey to learn Japanese, my love of Japanese cooking (especially veggies), and more on my About Me page!



11 thoughts on “Test Results Announcement | Japanese Vegetable Sommelier Exam

      1. Wordsummit says:

        whaaa? oh my– I don’t hold myself on any kind of pedestal like that. My whole schtick is that language learning is for everyone. Actually, do you mind if I write something and reblog this post?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. J LeClair says:

        Well I admire your passion for language learning! Please feel free to write and repost. Just credit back to my original post. And do let me know once it is up. I would love to see what you write and to engage with the conversation. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Eleanor Lawson says:

    Oh yes, bring the CERTIFIED VEGETABLE SOMMELIER to the US! We need more people specifically experienced in vegetables. I envision bringing this course to middle school and high school students. Just think, getting teens excited about vegetables by developing and teaching curriculum based on this certificate and then giving them the test.


    1. J LeClair says:

      Thank you for your enthusiastic comment!! I think that would be amazing to bring the course to US middle school and high school students. I learned a lot about vegetables through the course and have a new appreciation for them!


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