I have visited Japan, once, in 1974, on a book tour for five of my illustrated books that were translated into Japanese. Everyone I met was hospitable and warm to me, and I wished desperately that I could converse with them!
My publisher arranged for an interpreter to travel with me. She was sweet, and I felt very fortunate, but, when I spoke, I looked at her instead of at the person to whom she was interpreting, and that was difficult for some of the people I met.
My first book, Living on the Earth, has been in print in Japanese continuously since 1974, and now I also have two music CDs released in Japan, and am about to have a third. I really would love to go back and do a performance tour. I know I will enjoy it a lot more if I can speak with the people I meet.
IÂ’ve already spent time with a cassette course. ItÂ’s much tougher than learning a Latin language because there are no words that are even vaguely similar to ones I know in English and in Spanish. ItÂ’s strictly memorizingÂ—lots and lots of it.
On the other hand, I donÂ’t think I should let my lack of language skills to stop me from doing a performance tour. IÂ’ll probably learn a lot of Japanese along the way!