Today I had my first prolonged discussion with the artistic director of Saitama Arts Theatre, which was a little bit nerve wracking, but fairly informative. Afterwards he complemented me on my Japanese, and seemed rather taken aback that I was attempting to translate ‘Route 99’, although not as half as taken aback as he would have been had he seen said translation. He also told me that I shouldn’t hesitate in approaching him should I have any questions or queries, and so I have decided to give it a couple of weeks before I start discreetly leaving copies of my manuscripts on his desk.
The cast of ‘Route 99’ are always keen to come and talk with me during breaks from rehearsals, and I am of course delighted to attempt to engage in conversation with them. The only slight problem is that with some of the old boys (who speak in an incredibly strong dialect, interspersed with archaic Japanese) my comprehension drops from about one word in every ten, to one in every hundred. Thankfully I have become something of an expert in studying people’s facial expressions in order to ascertain if a reply is required of me, and have also realised that most of the time a series of nods, grunts, and “you don’t say”s are enough to placate any conversational partner. There’s every chance that I may well have been agreeing to the removal of all Gaijin from Japan via the medium of extreme force, but at least I didn’t commit anything to writing… yet.