An ambassador and his professional interpreter

The ambassador of a particular country in Europe came to my prefecture together with his wife and their interpreter. 課長, H-san and I, accompanied them to our famous castle. At first, because their native language isn’t English, I wasn’t sure whether I should interpret Japanese into English for them, but when I asked the interpreter for advice, she said that the both of them understood English.

When the ambassador knew I could speak English, he started talking to me. “This may be a nosy question, but I realise your name isn’t Japanese” he commented. Indeed I am not, I thought as I told him where I was from. He was extremely friendly and didn’t put on airs, I’m glad to be able to guide such a person around.

The tour of our castle was done by a veteran guide in English, so I honestly didn’t have much work to do. During then, I had the chance to talk to the interpreter, and I found out that → Read more


Japanese novel review: “I’m heading out right now to quit my job. Be back in a bit.”

This book title “ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる”, is quite hard to translate, because of its nuances, but this translation you see in the post title is my take on how I feel it should be translated.

The author of this book is KITAGAWA Emi.

Here is the synopsis loosely translated by yours truly as well: Takashi works in a ブラック企業 (black company) and is faced with a lot of shit from work. One day, while he was about to unconsciously fall into the path of an oncoming train, a guy named “Yamamoto” shows up and saves him. Yamamoto says he is Takashi’s classmate back in elementary school. Takashi is glad to have someone to talk to and opens up to Yamamoto, sharing his troubles. However, he later finds out that

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Ancient Provinces of Japan

When I was reading up on Bakumatsu (the final years of the Edo period), I realised that although I have heard of place names like Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, Saga, and the like, I haven’t really tried to match them to their relevant modern prefectures. So I went searching for a map of the ancient provinces of Japan and managed to find a clear one. It’s nice to be able to see all the pieces fitting together, as I struggle to understand a part of Japan’s history (between 1853 and 1868), just in case I need such knowledge for interpretation.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

J.K. Rowling gave a speech of commencement at Harvard University in the year 2008. I feel fortunate to be able to hear it on YouTube now. It was witty and extremely inspirational.

Please allow me to share with you some of the words that really touched my heart. However, if you want to watch the original speech of 20 minutes here, then please do move on to the video and ignore the following.

I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. → Read more