Earthenware Pot and the Mouse 土鍋鼠

Last night was a night full of dreams.

Or at least I could remember many of them upon waking up.

It’s been a while since I’ve remembered my dreams so clearly.

I’ve heard  that one is becoming truly fluent in a second language when s/he starts dreaming in that language.

Well, what does it mean when you begin dreaming about hanashika, and your dreams are like rakugo stories?

Last night I had the following dream.

I was at Katsura Yonedanji V’s (Katsura Beichô III’s pupil, and own son) house for breakfast. I don’t remember what was being prepared, but the house was very Western. In fact, I think we were in my parents’ next-door neighbors’ house.

I was calling Yonedanji “Yonedanji-san,” and then it dawned on me that, since he has rakugo pupils of his own, I should probably be calling him Yonedanji-shishô. Wow, even in my dreams I am concerned with obeying the rules of hierarchical society…

I apologized and inquired, “you have two pupils now, right?” “Five,” he corrected me. Indeed, the kitchen and dining room was bustling with good-looking young men, busy preparing breakfast and setting the table. (In reality he does have two.)

Then Yonedanji and I had the following conversation:

YONEDANJI: I have a really nice, old earthenware nabe [for hotpot] that belonged to my mother. She doesn’t need it anymore and I’ve been trying to find a good friend to give it to. Could you use it?

I have my own (cheap) nabe, so I really do not need another, but I thought, since this nabe technically belonged to the Living National Treasure Katsura Beichô, I should probably not turn it down.

MATT: Really? Me? Are you sure? How could I…

With that, Yonedanji went outside to a picnic table to fetch the nabe. I could see him through a window, but I tried not to watch him for fear of being rude. He returned with a handsome though dusty, antique nabe.

YONEDANJI: Here it is. Take a look.

I took it in my hands and opened the lid. Inside, I was surprised to find a little mouse. I wasn’t sure if Yonedanji had seen it, so, to keep from startling him, and  his deshi, I commented casually.

MATT: Oh, there’s a little mouse inside.

With this Yonedanji, and all of his deshi, erupted in laughter. He explained how easy it is to catch mice in nabe by putting a little food inside and leaving the lid cracked open. Indeed, Yondedanji was quite pleased with himself.

The joke was on me, and I can’t remember if I even got to keep Beicho’s nabe!

Maybe I will find out as I dream tonight.






















2 thoughts on “Earthenware Pot and the Mouse 土鍋鼠

    • Mona,
      Thank you for reading my blog. Writing in Japanese is one more great tool that helps with learning Japanese. I also try to read all my entries out loud (though not too loud) as that helps with reading, and even listening. My Japanese – and English – still needs work, but it’s all about making progress, right?
      Best luck in your studies, and in winning a trip to Japan.

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