My daughter likes the anime of Mushishi. I remembered that mushi meant worm or bug in Japanese so I wondered if this was the same word. A quick search for the websites revealed that yes indeed, it is the same. Mushi in this context is germs and the stories are about a man who could be described as one who is a disease master. Mushi is used also to refer to software bugs and especially viruses.
Now, my mind plays a funny trick on me. When did I learn these words? It feels like I have known them since high school. Of course, that cannot be. The first time I went to Japan I was over thirty years old. Although I studied some then, it was when I took some classes that I learned a few oddball words. Logically, working it out, I must have been around 34 or 35. However, I still have the feeling that I have always known these words.
So, I pulled down the few books I still have on Japanese and showed them to my daughter how the hiragana looks compared to the katakana. Then, how knowing these two helps pronounce words in the manga sometimes. She looked at my onion skin pocket dictionary and commented, “the writing is really small.” That’s true. These days I need a bright light and a magnifying glass to read it.