Tuesday, July 25, 2006

To the Airport, Please

Last night, my plan was to go to bed early (like 9) and catch up on some much needed sleep. Yet, once again, my plans gang aft a-gley'ed. I stayed up until well after ten finishing the book Billy recommended, Lost and Found.

Like he said, it was a easy, fun Summer read. I enjoyed it.

However, there was one scene stuck in my head and was driving me bananas for completely stupid reasons. I wish I had remembered to bring the book with me so I could quote the passage directly. I shall try my best to recreate it ...

Justin, the ex-gay super Christian, and his wife, Abby, having won a challenge in Beppu, Japan (which, coincidentally is near where I used to live), hop into a cab to race to the airport.
And, then, the part which drove me crazy ...

"Hijouku," Justin said to the cab driver, using the Japanese word for "airport." blah blah blah.

And, what's my problem with this scene?

Hijouku isn't the Japanese word for "airport." My mind started wandering around the word. Did the author use an incorrect word on purpose? To bring the arrogant Justin down a few pegs? I tried to remember the correct word for "airport."

Hm. I ran through my rapidly fading Japanese vocabulary ... well, hikouki is the word for "airplane," maybe the author meant hikouku, and hijouku was a minor typo. I internally debated the typo vs. intentional mistake for quite some time as I continued to read the book.

Then, this morning, on my walk to work, I suddenly thought, "Wait. The Japanese word for 'airport' is kukou." I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to an airport as a hikouku. Admittedly, I'm not an expert in Japanese, so hikouku could be a more formal word or an older word that is still used in "help foreigners speak Japanese" guidebooks.

Like I said, it was a stupid little minor point that kept racing around my head. I hate it when that happens. Fortunately, it didn't prevent me from enjoying the rest of the book, which was a nice break from the heavier stuff I had been reading. Now, it's back to that. I would like to finish The Weather Makers this week as well.

So, throughout the day, I'm going to be attempting to answer some of your childhood memory suggestions from yesterday. Stay tuned for fascinating updates.



  1. Kuukou = Airport.

    i don't mean to be a know-it-all, but you forgot the extra "u."


  2. tomokito12:41 PM

    it could be a typo for "hikoujou," another japanese word for "airport"...maybe.

  3. I can't comment on the possible linguistic glitch. Glat to know it didn't completely mar the reading experience and that you enjoyed the book!

  4. the final judge shall have to be either shigeki or, the ever lovely, token asian. alas, i think she's in mid-move or something.

  5. DEAR GOD! was today a slow day?

  6. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Man, I am now reading the book and thought of the same thing!

    I am about to e-mail the author about the mistake saying the airport in Japanese..........

    Whew! I thought I would be only one for the note!