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…]