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…]

Translating the Iroha Karuta 2: Show, Don’t Tell

October 12, 2022 David Hurley 0

This is the second Japanese proverb in the “Iroha” Karuta series. It consists of three words in Japanese: 論 より 証拠 Ron yori shouko. [Discourse/Debate / rather than / proof/evidence] We need to switch the word order to get to the intended meaning in English: “Proof rather than debate,” Like [Read more…]

Japanese Epiphany: Maji?

January 11, 2019 David Hurley 0

We are currently in the first week of Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles, more commonly known as the time when the Magi, or Three Wise Men (or Three Kings) follow a star from the Orient to Bethlehem where they find the Christ child. Here in Japan very [Read more…]