In Japanese class yesterday we learned the verbs for work, rest, and study, which led to some group work which I found embarrassing: When did you get up yesterday? Did you work? From when to when? Did you study? From when till when? When did you go to bed? Even when I was in Gothenburg, it was hard to say what was work and what was fun, and I told my Swedish colleagues that my church had no concept of “working hours” only of a “day off”. Going to church then would have counted as work – but does it now? For the rest, I wrote and responded to the odd email (some re Gothenburg on this occasion), did the odd Japanese kiragana quiz, nodded off over various books, some fact, some fiction, and mended a label on my jacket so that I could hang it over the door handle. Some of these took less than five minutes, and we can only tell the time in multiples of 5.
A memorable phrase, even though the answer needs much concentration: “denwa bango” is the Japanese for “telephone number”. We have also learned to tell the time: 5.55 pm is “gogo goji gojugofun” – time to go home and have some fun.
In the third week of the Japanese course, we practised telling each other the prices of various goods, ranging from 7350 yen for a pair of trousers to 53 yen for a pencil. Although the basic numbering system is fairly simple, I find it hard to concentrate on more than one digit at a time, but I found an app which should help me. And we haven’t got on to writing them yet.
Since ¥ 500 is about £3, I may well be dealing with 5-digit numbers as the answer to “Are wa ikura desuka” (How much does that cost?). The basic price of the Kumano Kodo trek is ¥ 362 000, or san ju roku man ni sen en.