A handful of people know this already, but, in March, for two weeks, I will be in Japan. I am sure my sister will take me to Hello Kitty Land (Sanrio Puroland) in Tokyo, but I am more interested in monasteries, castles and, of course, beekeeping.
With my sister’s help, we have been trying to contact various beekeepers in Japan. One problem: language. My sister speaks some Japanese, but does not write kanji. I do neither of those at all. With the help of a friend of my sister’s, we have a couple emails into beekeepers around Japan. No luck so far. I have, however, contacted 玉川大学ミツバチ科学研究センター (the Honeybee Science Research Center, Tamagawa University) and they were kind enough to suggest I try contacting the prefecture’s livestock department (that is what the introductory paragraph of kanji says to do). That will be next – attempting to contact my sister’s prefecture’s livestock department (I imagine this is something akin to my county or state’s agriculture department or office). The language is just killing me, though.
When I visited Finland a few years ago, the Finns have absorbed so many English words (and put a Finnish twist on them) that it was relatively easy to reabsorb their words and get at least an idea of what hell was going on; plus, everyone expect for the farthest outreaches in Lapland had people who spoke nearly perfect English. My initial dealings with people from Japan (both on this beekeeping project, and with my work life) are proving that there is a much sharper learning curve to get past for both sides of the language equation.
I am getting excited for my trip to the Far East; good food, snow monkeys, shogun castles, shinto monasteries, giant buddha, mountains, and of course Sanrio Puroland. If the beekeeping in Japan project does not pan out, I am sure I will still have more than enough to occupy my two weeks.