Every semester I choose a picture book to read in English to elementary school classes, part of my duties as a library volunteer. I researched and chose “They All Saw a Cat.”
Usually, I myself will purchase the English version. (I ALWAYS get the Japanese version from the public library. If the library doesn’t have it, I don’t do it!)
But I felt that “They All Saw a Cat” was a book that so many people could enjoy, so I requested the library to purchase it in English. (And they did. Hooray!)
It’s a great book for me to use—VERY simple English, yet it is educational and interesting for all ages. (If you read the book, you’ll see what I mean. It’s about how different animals view the same cat.)
As usual (big sigh) the Japanese translation is not a literal translation of the original book.
The original title in English is: “They All Saw a Cat.”
The Japanese title is: Neko tte Konna Fuu? “Is a Cat Like This?”
I can’t help but think the Japanese translators need to inject a little imagination into their titles.
Note–One of the animals in the book is a skunk. Well, while I think Japanese kids know of skunks….they are actually indigenous to North America, and they don’t exist in Japan outside of zoos. Skunks are not a part of Japanese culture.
I explained that growing up in the United States, I never saw an actual skunk in the wild (I lived in a housing area.) (Also, wiki says skunks are primarily nocturnal, and I imagine that when I was in the true countryside, I was very noisy and scared any wild creatures away.)
However, every so while in a car in America, especially in a more rural type of setting, I would smell the scent of a skunk. Not terribly often, but sometimes. And yes, it’s stinky!