May 22, 2009

i-ro-ha #1

Pictures were hard to choose for the first edition of "i-ro-ha" because I haven't been able to go out for photo walks this week!  I made do with what I have...
The first letter to be introduced is "I" case you do not have  Japanese compatible software it looks like this:
"I" ...  pronounced like the English letter E, except a bit shorter.

Words that start with this letter… iie = no 
(pronounced "eee-eh")

    ie = house
(a house in Dejima, Nagasaki that is now a museum)


and an author whose last name starts with "I" … Itsuki Hiroyuki

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1932, he spent his childhood in (what is now) North Korea. Some of his early novels are based on his experience there and the tragedies he witnessed.

Itsuki studied Russian literature at Waseda University and went on to be an editor, and writer (of lyrics, journalism and novels).

He has also written many essays including the one I’d like to introduce today. 
“Tariki – 100 hints for living” was first published in Japan in 1998.
There are 100 short chapters on different ways at looking at tariki and incorporating it into daily life.
Tariki is hard to explain. 

If you look it up in the dictionary, you will get things like “help from without”, “salvation”…

After reading the book, this is what I thought he was trying to say: it is ok to rely on "sources" outside of yourself for life and personal salvation.

Some people may call the "source(s)" God, for some it is spirituality, for some it may be called inspiration. But no matter what your religion, culture or beliefs are, it is hard to say that you will never depend on anything or anyone beside yourself. It doesn’t mean to start being lazy and let everyone else take care of you. It is more like an awakening experience, realizing that you are one with everything…  

Like if someone next to you in a pool starts to bob up and down it will effect you and you will have an effect on someone else etc.  We can not cut ourselves off from nature and others around us even if we do not see the chains that bind us.

He also mentions the Japanese word “akirame” which translates to “resignation”.
He explains that it comes from the meaning “akiraka ni kiwameru” which translates to “clearly investigate thoroughly”.

In other words,
“go ahead and give up (resign), so long as you have clearly investigated (the matter) thoroughly. Have courage to look reality in the eye.”


Oh, another word that starts with today's letter "I":
   iro = color 
(with the kanji character for iro  underneath it)
and when you say it twice “iroiro” 
it means “a variety”!


June Saville said...

Lovely post Tulsa. I am really intrigued by Japanese characters - they are so beautiful.
By the way our virtual 'Paint' exhibition is on its way soon, after floods in this region interrupted blogging for a couple of days ...

Delwyn said...

this is a great way to introduce us to Japanese characters and sounds...with much iroiro...

The book you mentioned sounds interesting - very Buddhist in nature. 'No Man Is an Island'
we all need support from others in the physical world and also from less tangible sources...
I like that concept of not fighting against the flow, when you have done your research and become realistic...that is very Tao...

A very lovely iroiro post with plenty to think about. You are onto something here with this approach Tulsa. Thank you...

Happy Days

I_am_Tulsa said...

June, thank you for the invite! I will try to get creative tomorrow since I have a day off that is not a sick leave...yeah!

☂I hope the rain has not been too bad for my Australian friends!☀

Delwyn. thank you! It will be fun to see how the "i-ro-ha series" evolves.

You are very right about the book being influenced by Buddhism. Itsuki went to university as an adult again, to study Buddhism. He says the book is not completely based on what he learned there, but more of a compilation of what he learned throughout the years, talking to people etc...

I told my students the day they graduated (and on my final day at school) that part about not giving up until you've researched. Many adults laugh at children's dreams and I wanted them to know that anything is possible if you work hard at it...but that it is also a "talent" to figure out what dreams are not worth seeing through.


Chiara.u said...

mmm it's not so easy to reach deep thoughts and feeling in a language that's not yours... and for me is quite difficult... but absolutely fascinating!! A good exercise for my brain... and most of all for my soul! It's great: I read something, I understand it in surface (just a good thing I think!) and in a moment it's clear for me that I got it! The wonder is that at the other side of the world there's someone with your same feelings and thoughts and hopes... Thank you for this :)

Merisi said...

You are a true example that learning a language also means learning the culture of a people!

Happy Sunday! :-)

I_am_Tulsa said...

Thank you Chiara.u and Merisi!

I hope I can get different areas of Japanese culture weaved into this "series". Some of the ideas might be hard for me to explain, thus hard to understand but I hope to make them as fun as possible too!