Know Your Picture Characters Entry #102

June 11th, 2012 by Wordsman

A. 秋の田の 仮庵の庵の 苫をあらみ

B. あしびきの 山鳥の尾の しだり尾の

C. 奥山に 紅葉踏みわけ 鳴く鹿の

D. 田子の浦に うち出でてみれば 白妙の

E. 春すぎて 夏来にけらし 白妙の

1. 声きく時ぞ 秋は悲しき

2. 富士の高嶺に 雪は降りつつ

3. ながながし夜を ひとりかも寝む

4. 衣ほすてふ 天の香具山

5. わが衣手は 露にぬれつつ

Well, I just finished a class on Japanese poetry, so I should be an expert in analyzing these things, right?  Let’s see what we’ve got:

A, our first opening, goes a little something like this:

Because the thatched roof
Of my temporary hut in the fields of autumn
Is so rough,

And here is how our contestants (all three of them, in fact) chose to finish it:

Snow is continuously falling
On the high peak of Fuji

They’re all technically wrong, but points to Shirley for likening it to “Dover Beach,” whose tone is most in tune with the original (try A-5 next time).

B is:

The dropping tail of the pheasant
Of the mountains, wearing your feet ever down
Is long, long

This time our contestants split opinions:


When I hear its voice
That is when I know autumn is saddest

A Fan:

Clothes are drying, I hear
On heavenly Mount Kagu


As is this night
Must I spend it sleeping alone?

Shirley’s poetic sense served her best here, but considering the content of the poem, Theoman’s analysis of the theme as “there is honor in suffering” is an intriguing one.


The deer
Walking through the fallen autumn leaves
Lets out a cry

Theoman decided to pair this one with the clothes drying, and A Fan gave the long, lonely night a shot.  Shirley, on the other hand, tried something new:

My sleeves are dampened
Over and over by the falling dew

But they’re all wrong.  C goes with 1: is there anything sadder than the cry of the deer?  I have no idea, actually.  If it wasn’t for Japanese poems, I wouldn’t even know that deer make sounds.  Credit to A Fan, because I’m pretty sure all those Kipling poems are really depressing.


When I go out
To Tago Bay and look back
The whitest

The whitest what, you ask?  Opinions varied.  Theoman and A Fan both thought it was “my sleeves,” a very reasonable thing to suspect, but Shirley went a little more abstract, attaching this adjective to “voice.”  None thought to link it to snow, though (2).  You know, snow?  That white stuff that falls from the sky?  At least Theoman has the humility to admit his mistake, while Shirley seems to be linking it to alcohol.


Spring has passed
And summer, it seems, has come
The whitest

Yes, that’s right, the third line of poem-starters D and E are identical.  Iiiiidentical.  So how to differentiate the two?  Well, by the season, of course.  Not gonna get much snow in summer.  No, in summer you use the heat to dry clothes.  Shirley understands that.  Our other contestants, on the other hand, decided to sleep alone (well, I suppose it would be cooler), or to listen to “white voices” and then become sad (someone’s been reading too much Kipling).  Still, Theoman got perhaps the most important part: no matter what they say, secretly, all–and I do mean all–poetry is about “something about love.”  So points to him, and points to A Fan for enriching us with a poem about some dead kid, and to Shirley for actually knowing the most about Japanese poetry (which should have been painfully obvious the moment she mentioned cherry trees).

Okay, I admit it: that was kind of hard.  Lucky for you, the lovely assistant has swooped in to save the day with an easy challenge: animals.

What?  You say we’ve already done animals?  Well, you ain’t done these animals.  These ain’t yer common households dogs and cats, kids.  Things are about to get dangerous.  Look!  There’s a shark!  And a gorilla and a panda (they look cute, but brother, you don’t want to mess with them.  And yes, I am talking about gorillas here).  And what about birds?  You ever see that movie, The Birds? I haven’t, but it still scares the hell out of me, which is why I keep my distance from all the swans, ostriches, and flamingos running around.  But that’s not the worst of it.  This challenge contains the most dangerous animal of them all.

Because no one ever suspects . . . the butterfly!

A. 鸵鸟 B. 火烈鸟 C. 蝴蝶 D. 大熊猫 E. 天鹅 F. 大猩猩 G. 鲨鱼

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. TheomanZero Says:

    A. Shark – those characters have teeth sticking out all over them.
    B. Flamingo – the first character means “fire”, and you can’t spell “flamingo” without “flaming”.
    C. Butterflies – those characters are so cluttered I can’t even make them out. Butterflies must be responsible.
    D. Gorilla – the first character means “big”, and gorillas are really big.
    E. Swan – the first character means “heaven”, and swans are really pretty, plus they fly. Of course their demeanor is anything but angelic, but they had already picked the characters by the time they figured that out.
    F. Ostrich – literally, “big bird bird”.
    G. Panda – look, it’s clinging to a tree! The first character depicts it eating shoots and leaves.

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