Translating the Iroha Karuta 8: Gathering Dust

June 14, 2023 David Hurley 0

The 8th syllable in the old Japanese “iroha syllabry” is pronounced “chi,” and written: “ち”. Chi is therefore the initial sound of the eighth proverb in the “Iroha Karuta” card deck. Here’s the proverb in Japanese: Chiri tsumotte yama to naru Chiri is “dust” and “yama” is “mountain.” “Tsumotte” is [Read more…]

Translating the Iroha Karuta 7: Nailing Down Tofu

December 28, 2022 David Hurley 0

The seventh Japanese proverb in some versions of the Iroha Karuta puts together two familiar but incompatible items from Japanese life: tofu and a carpenter’s nail… The closest “dynamic equivalent” in English is, “like nailing jelly to the wall.” It can be applied to a few of familiar situations. One [Read more…]

Translating the Iroha Karuta 4: The Hated Child…

October 30, 2022 David Hurley 0

This is the fourth in the series of Japanese proverbs that make up the “Iroha Karuta” card deck. The original Japanese goes like this: “Nikumarekko yo ni habakaru.” This proberb can be directly translated like this: Hated [Nikumare] child [ko] world [yo] in [ni] spread / gain influence [habakaru]. One [Read more…]

Translating the Iroha Karuta 3: Dumplings over Flowers

October 17, 2022 David Hurley 0

April in Japan. The cherry trees are in full blossom and everywhere where there are cherry trees there are people enjoying “ohanami” (blossom viewing) parties. Every space around the cherry trees is carpeted with bright blue plastic sheets and groups of office workers, students, and all sorts of people are [Read more…]