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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 10:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,487,678


In General sounds of summer Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #78 New 08-18-2011 09:01 PM
sounds of summer
cicada by mondays child used under creative commons licence

In many ways, baseball was perfectly suited to the Japanese. Before the Meiji Era, the very idea of recreational sport was nonexistent in Japan. The physical arts that were practiced were military in nature: swordsmanship, archery, horse riding, etc. Some say that these Japanese arts lacked a team element, and this new game fit well in a culture where group harmony is paramount. Maybe it helped that baseball has, at its heart, a powerful one-on-one confrontation between pitcher and batter, not unlike Kendo, Judo, Sumo and other martial arts. Perhaps it helped that the baseball bat could be handled much like the wooden swords used in Kendo. Many say that the complexity and strategy of baseball, and the time to consider strategy before and after each move, is what makes baseball so appealing to the Japanese. What is clear is that baseball has reached a place of prominence in Japan that nobody could have foreseen.
Kokoyakyu High School Baseball

a cicada shell
it sang itself
utterly away

Matsuo Basho

a cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air
the world is
a glass overflowing
with water

Pablo Neruda, Ode to Enchanted Light

Pigeon friend of mine,
Fly on, sing on.

Carl Sandburg, Pigeon

蝉が鳴き semi ga naki
球児が泣いた kyuuji ga naita
甲子園 koushien

cicadas crying
and baseball players crying
their last koshien

In Japan the peak heat of summer has passed. But every morning you can still hear the cicadas. And the pigeons and crows. The other day a car alarm went off and the cicadas seemed to reply.

One of the biggest Japanese sports events of the year is held in August. It's the National High School Baseball Championship, called Koshien for short. It is always held at the Hanshin Tigers Koshien baseball stadium between Osaka and Kobe. It's the essence of sport. Full of drama and excitement yet still pure and innocent. As the first epigraph quotation explains baseball distills down to a duel. An ultimate duel between pitcher and batter. High school baseball is a team sport. But in Japan it's also a martial art.

On the last day after the final the siren sounds to end a game for the last time. Until next year. It's the sound of summer ending.


articles by Bobby Valentine and other writers plus interviews and movie trailer

texts of poems

origami cicada to make!

haiku in Japanese and English by Niall Matthews

my columns on aikiweb:
Improvised Weapons No.1: The Umbrella
Unbalance - Feet of Clay
Half a Tatami
Zen in the Art of Aikido

© niall matthews 2011
Views: 6627 | Comments: 33

RSS Feed 33 Responses to "sounds of summer"
#18 08-22-2011 10:17 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Thanks to you, too, Carina, you always add so much to the topics. About the graduating seniors, it reminded me of Aikido summer camp and seminars, even for those who expect to attend the next, there is still a sadness at leaving... Not everyone is able to attend each one and even for the ones who do return, they may miss those who don't.... This kind of sadness and nostalgia seems to be often present in Japanese poetry
#17 08-22-2011 10:11 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Oh no, don't get me started on folksongs, I'll make too many blunders! But in Itsuki no Komoriuta, isn't there a line "Sura no Matsuyama .... Semi ga naku.... There is a line about Obon in the song also. It seems there are at least two seasonal words in the song. Sorry if I got some of the other words wrong....
#16 08-22-2011 10:05 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Not too much detail at all, Niall (does this rhyme in Gaelic?) It was unintentional. Seriously, it would be a great topic for you, as many Americans were interested in haiku (when I was younger, cough, cough) and probably still are. I found a book for families at a tag sale,on how to write your own haiku and I tried it, I'll have to look for it (and them...) The shiatsu topic would be great too. Thanks again!
#15 08-22-2011 08:40 AM
niall Says:
(cont) So the result is that even though it has the same number of syllables and is an almost direct translation the English version has an extra layer of meaning because of that extra phrase. I hope this is not too much detail! Sorry the comment had to be broken up.
#14 08-22-2011 08:34 AM
niall Says:
(cont) I usually stick to 5-7-5 when I write English haiku too. It gives a clear structure. But there are some differences between English and Japanese. For example Koshien is 5 syllables in Japanese but only 3 syllables in English. So in English I added "Their last" which can refer back to the short lives of the cicadas as well as to the high school boys who will never play baseball again.
#13 08-22-2011 08:32 AM
niall Says:
That's a very technical question, Carina. I don't believe in constraints of custom merely for custom's sake. The kigo word semi was there not as a deliberate signpost of summer but because I really heard the cicadas in the morning. Also I liked the play on the word crying in Japanese. Kireji means a cut word and although I don't like to use an unnecessary word like ya there is a cut in ideas after naita - like taking a breath before the punchline: Koshien.
#12 08-21-2011 01:46 PM
guest1234567 Says:
And then in your Haiku is no kireji, there is no や, a post about haiku would be nice, but I don't know if more people are interested, if not I just look in internet maybe I find something where I can learn more about it. Thanks Niall for all the things we can learn from you.
#11 08-20-2011 09:21 AM
niall Says:
Yes, you're right, Carina. Semi - cicada - is a traditional kigo. Koshien is almost a modern season word for summer but there is a spring baseball tournament too so it doesn't quite make it.
#10 08-20-2011 02:06 AM
guest1234567 Says:
That is very interesting! Here another haiku of Matsu Basho: temple bell - also sounds like it is - cicada's voice. And wikipedia says that a haiku contains a kigo, a word or phrase that symbolizes the season of the poem, in your case the cicada.
#9 08-19-2011 08:16 PM
niall Says:
Thank you Carina. I put that haiku in the article because yesterday 19 August (8 1 9) was ha i ku no hi - haiku day! In Japanese the 鳴く - naku - crying of insects is a homonym - it sounds exactly the same although the character is different - of 泣く - naku - crying tears.
#8 08-19-2011 08:07 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Daian. Maybe I should do an article about shiatsu or kiatsu or bodywork. Watanabe sensei is one example of an aikidoka who does it professionally. Some judoka do too.
#7 08-19-2011 02:28 PM
guest1234567 Says:
(cont)the ant is working the whole summer to save food for the winter, meanwhile the cicade is singing and dancing enjoying its life, when winter comes the hungry cicade knocks at the door of the greedy ant asking for food, and the ant replies that it should keep on dancing. About the message we should learn of both insects and we can apply that in aikido too: train hard like the ant, but don't forget to enjoy, to sing, dance and be happy like the cicade.
#6 08-19-2011 02:26 PM
guest1234567 Says:
Thanks Niall, reading it, one can imagine the sounds,maybe the cicades are shouting kiai during their training. Your haiku is nice, very interesting the responses in the link to the blog to P.Nerudas poem. One can colour the origami before doing it! There is a famous fable in Spain by Félix Maria de Samaniego The Ant and the Cicade:
#5 08-19-2011 11:45 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Shiatsu was very popular at NY Aikikai in the old days, many of us had just learned enough to handle minor aches and pains. Later some people studied shiatsu and other related fields seriously. Even the little I know has helped people who don't even know martial arts. Now there's another cultural exchange item!
#4 08-19-2011 11:40 AM
Diana Frese Says:
sorry, my mistake, it was Osaka Journal. The "Buddhist Church" as everyone calls it, sponsored the annual Bon Dance, and also weekly movies. At summer camp NY Aikikai and New England Aikikai had their annual baseball game. One of the Boston team hurt his shoulder and I repaired it. Then he caught a fly ball for an out against NY and I was blamed for it. "But medics are supposed to repair everyone!" I said in my defense.

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