The idiom hippari dako means “pulled octopus”. The idea is that there’s an octopus where my head should be, and people are pulling all eight legs in different directions.
Hippari dako popped into my head during yesterday’s studio job. There were ten, yes TEN, representatives from the client company, each working on different parts of a big project, and me, expected to check all the materials for each one. It went something like this:
Them: “Please check this, Eda-san.” “Is this right, Eda-san?” “Can I use this expression, Eda-san?” “Was that all right, Eda-san?”
Me: “Yes, that’s fine.” “It’s not wrong but it would sound better this way.” “No. You can say that in Japanese but it sounds silly in English.” “Wait a minute. I just found another mistake in the script.”
To the voice actor: “Gerri, could you do #127 again with the emphasis on this word instead of that one?”
To the tech guy: “Okiyama-san, could you play back #154? Yes, I thought so. We need to take that one again.”
To the director: “Please don’t cover the talkback button with your hand. If you do that, I can’t tell when the actor can hear me.”
Plus the actor only gets a script with his or her own lines on it, so the lines are completely out of context and the actor often doesn’t know how they should be read. So this often happens:
Me: “Just a sec. I need to check the master script. I’m not sure about the intonation.”
And I dive into a flurry of paper trying to locate the scene and confirm the reading. We usually only have one hour with each actor, so we have to move fast.
With that many people crammed into a tiny studio, my octopus did not have enough legs.