In today’s translation of ‘Route 99’, I came across a new, and rather interesting, word for my Japanese vocabulary: fumie. According to my dictionary this is a ‘tablet bearing Christian images, on which Edo-period authorities forced suspected Christians to trample’, a pleasing image and obviously a noun with which every Gaijin should be familiar. It is words such as fumie that convince me how insane I was to ever consider learning Japanese as an achievable task; and which run me very close to throwing all of my language books into a pile, setting them alight, and trampling all over them whilst denouncing my rights to be in this country. Depressingly there is almost certainly a noun for such behaviour.
During today’s breaks from rehearsals I spent some time chatting with Mr. Kitazawa, discussing the absurd complexities of the plot, as well as why it is that the Japanese really need about 8 different words for ‘wife’ (he was particularly tickled with my description of ‘the old ball and chain’). At one point he wrote something down in my copy of the script, imploring me that this would be of great use for my Japanese language learning, and that I should try and buy a copy, or at least rent one from the library. In my usual manner I simply agreed with everything that was being said, and waited until I was alone to try and work out exactly what Mr. Kitazawa thought I could not go without. After looking in my dictionary I was slightly disheartened to see that I really need to get hold of an ‘Elementary school level Japanese-language dictionary’.