June 29, 2009

i-ro-ha #6 "he" and my attempts at youtubing

it is important to know that this character "he" is pronounced like the "he" in "head" or "helicopter"
I think it is a "silly" character.
When the "e" sound is drawn out "heeeee" it is the sound people make when they mean "is that so?" or "really?!".
Two nouns that start with he:

he = a fart
heso = a bellybutton
...see how "silly" it is?

Well then, how about this...using the characters he, no, mo and ji
you can draw a frowning (but funny) face...
(I have no idea when and who thought this up but it has been around for a long time and I am pretty sure all Japanese people are familiar with this...)

"henohenomheji" starring I_am_Tulsa:
If someone says that your mouth is shaped like a he that means you look unhappy.

(BTW, I couldn't upload video from my computer so I had to make a youtube account....argh. I soooo wanted to stay away from this... I think it is some kind of google conspiracy...)


A colorful time in Japanese history, for someone who enjoys literature, would have to be...
the Heian Period. (794-1185)

This is when that famous Harlequin-like story about a prince and his "conquests" (The Tale of Genji) was written by Murasaki Shikibu (a court lady). It is said that Murasaki Shikibu didn't actually finish the tale (some even say that she didn't write it :-S), but with things like just never know.

The Pillow Book, a witty diary written by Sei Shonagon (another court lady!) was also written during the Heian Period.

Then there is "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" ("Taketori Monogatari" ) a story about a moon princess being raised up by a bamboo cutter and his wife, that was written during the Heian Period. There was a great movie that was released in the 1980's titled "Princess from the Moon" which made me realize that this story could very well have been one of the first science fiction stories in the world!

Another era that begins with he is the Heisei Period.
It began in 1989 when the current emperor ascended the throne and since it is the current era, I find this to be a rather important period!

The unveiling of the name for the new era was of course shown on tv back then, and I found a clip on..yes, youtube:
speed it up to 56 seconds and you will see the kanji...

The man "unveiling" the name is Keizo Obuchi.
At this time he was chief cabinet secretary. Later on he became the 84th Prime Minister of Japan.
Unfortunately, he passed away while still in office in the year 2000.

The kanji for Heisei is supposed to mean Peace on earth and heaven....

The word for peace in Japanese is HEIWA

a nice word in any language I suppose...

But, back to the silliness of he

hesokuri = a secret savings (usually a wife's)

a silly phrase...
heso wo mageru = to turn your bellybutton....this means to "become perverse"... which usually happens when a husband finds out that his wife has a secret savings ;-)

Sorry that I didn't have any pictures of Japan to post today.... it has been a really weird week...and I am surprised that I even got this post posted...

Hope you all have a great and heiwa-na (peaceful) week!


B said...

As I'm in a silly mood (very appropriate for your silly character!), my favourite part of your post is the face you draw! Brilliant!

Butternut Squash said...

Your calligraphy is really brilliant. He no he no mo he ji just cracks me up. When I was a kid I used to make faces out of numbers all the time. I think that I was really tickled to see that the kids in Japan were making similar doodles.

I am just loving this little series. It's very informative. The letters are a great vehicle for explanation that would make a superb 'Intro to Japan' book.

willow said...

These kanji posts are so interesting!

Ruslan said...

Thanks for the nice post, Tulsa. It would take a lifetime to learn Japanese. I enjoyed the language lesson.

Lori ann said...

I love this too Tulsa, and don't worry, i had to do the same with youtube. It's turned out to be ok.
peace to you too.

Chiara.u said...

Hi Tulsa! So funny that face you draw! Heiwa-na week to you too :)

I_am_Tulsa said...

B! Silly moods are great!

Butternut Squash, thank you so much. I really would love to put all this in a nice book format...fingers crossed. I think the first characters I learned in Japanese were henohenomoheji!

Willow, I am glad that it is still interesting...I want to give people a glimpse of Japan that they might not know of but I don't want to get' I am having fun!

Ruslan, I bet that you would learn Japanese faster than you think!

Lori ann, thank you! I was getting kind of's nice to know that it will be ok, thank you again!

Chiara.u, I am looking forward to learning ,more about your recent trip! henohenomoheji is so silly isn't it!

Yoli said...

Enjoying your blog very much!!! I am glad I found you through Willow!

I_am_Tulsa said...

Yoli, thank you so much for stopping by! Your blogs are beautiful! I am so glad to have found you too!

Polly said...

Thanks for another lesson! The more of them you present the more difficult they are to follow, I must say.

It's very interesting that so many intresting literary pieces were written as early as Heian Period. Europe is a little delayed in its development comparing to Japan.

lakeviewer said...

I came in from Loritimesfive. I think I'll return for more.

I_am_Tulsa said...

Polly, it is interesting to look at what other parts of the world were doing at the same time! There are tons more to come, so sit back, relax and enjoy the characters to come!

Lakeviewer, thank you so much for stopping by, I am honored!

Anonymous said...

hi tulsa thank you , you are so kind with your comments. this is a great post. to quote another half japanese couple 'give peace a chance'. you're obiously enjoying your life in japan thank you for sharing it. d

Merisi said...

Fascinating lesson,
thank you! :-)

Kristina said...

I'm very impressed with your video - it looks so easy when you write the signs, but I'm sure it's not!

kit said...

Hi Tulsa! I enjoyed your little video and lesson!

I_am_Tulsa said...

Dee, thank YOU!

Merisi, thank you for your beautiful pictures!

Kristina, I am not as good at writing Japanese as I'd like to be thank you for watching the video!

Kit, Thank you, I will have some more videos soon!