One of the major difficulties that I am having as I slowly work my way through trying to read ‘Route 99’ is the issue of subject, i.e. who/what is doing something and who/what is it being done to. Japanese is notorious for glossing over this rather essential detail, but whereas a native speaker is easily able to deduce the focus from the context of the writing, those of us armed with only a passable understanding of the language are often left out at sea, with only a couple of particles and some uncertain tenses for shipmates. As such, whilst I know that a certain event has happened I am not certain who is the victim and who is the perpetrator, and as this is never made explicit from the characters onstage personas, I am currently more than a little confused. The fact that there appears to be an element of pseudo-realism to the proceedings certainly doesn’t help matters.
I recently received a package from the local constabulary, asking me to fill in the enclosed residential information card and then telephone for it to be collected. Whilst I have no qualms in doing so I have been delaying matters for the following three reasons: 1) There is no telephone number for me to call, and shamefully I am still unaware as to the location of my local police box (although since it has taken them over a year to find me I shouldn’t feel to bad); 2) The form is in Japanese and will require a couple of hours to pour over in detail; and 3) I find it hard to take seriously any official request which comes in enclosed in an envelope bearing a cartoon mascot.