Okay, that was a little mean. So here’s a rough English translation:
What set Yutaka Sawada, a doctor’s son, on the path to circus life was his excitement and fascination at seeing the Yokoda Troupe perform in Asakusa. Abandoning the path towards becoming a doctor, he left home in pursuit of the Yokoda Troupe and found himself on a boat, crossing the ocean to perform in Russia.
It was 1902 and he was sixteen years old.
Hence my glee. It’s spookily close to the backstory I was imagining for my Mr Moriyama, whose name may yet change, though probably not to Sawada.
In other news, it has occurred to me that the first new term I learnt upon arriving in Japan as a high school student 25 years ago was hōkō onchi (literally meaning “someone with no sense of direction”), closely followed by doji (“a person prone to foolish blunders”). This time around, it was kanen gomi (“burnable rubbish”), followed quickly by tenkōfujun (“fickle, unseasonable weather”).
Make of that what you will.