It is really wonderful to be living with a proper family again, after such isolation in Tokyo, and the children are a constant tonic to any stresses that I put upon myself due to the complexities of the language. Whilst I don’t always understand exactly it is what they are saying we seem to get by, mainly because playing ninjas and dressing up as ghosts doesn’t really require much use of any language. The one downside to constantly being surrounded by children, especially now that the weather has turned colder, is that my immune system has taken a battering. It’s not that I’ve been really ill or massively under the weather, but I’ve pretty much had the sniffles and the beginnings of a cold ever since I arrived in Hokkaido. All I really need is for body’s defenses to man up a bit, but I fear that I won’t be truly 100% until I get back to Tokyo. Still, it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to legitimately put a sheet over one’s head and run around the house like a lunatic.
Where I get into the most difficulties with my Japanese is in when I attempt to translate literally from English, such as using verbs for functions other than those that are given explicitly in the dictionary. I have been trying to get out of this habit as much as is possible, but there are times when a literal translation is all that I can muster; one of those times is recalling proverbs. And so it was that I spent an illuminating 20 minutes or so attempting to explain to Mrs. Sasaki that ‘if in the evening there happens to be a red sky then this will bring happiness to the men who rear livestock’, I think eventually she got my meaning, but I decided to leave ‘Adversity makes strange bedfellows’ until another day.