don't know a whole lot about japanese, but asian in general, tends to use lots of metaphor in their normal communication. reminded me of a star trek episode where capt picard and crew encountered an alien race whose language is pure metaphor. the translator couldn't translate.
if you look at the name of the taiji form sequence, then you have things like "Buddha's warrior pounds mortar", "Jade maiden working her loom", "white crane spread wings" and so on (why couldn't aikido techniques have names like that, since ikkyo, nikkyo,...etc are kinda boring). who would have thought those describe movements of a form?
I've had the feeling lately that ki is like a Pikachu that lives inside us. I say Pikachu because I think that's the sort of "personality" that ki has. It's not anything we've seen on earth. It's sort of intelligent, but very simple. But very, very strong.
Lately, I'm working with the image of a cat that lives inside us.
And then I thought, maybe the ancient Chinese were really just describing a feeling you could recognize and would understand in the same way when you had felt it. "Parting the wild horse's mane."
"Grasping bird's tail" "Step back and repulse monkey".
Maybe these describe real feelings that arise in the human body when they move their qi as required for the movement....?
Well...that's probably taking it too far. But I think we're pretty safe with saying those names were related to the namers' feelings about their world and what they were doing.
Best to all.