The rain in Japain falls mainly on the grain

Just as I was thinking "shyeah, what's with all the rain this week?", the twenty-four season Cog of the Year ka-chunks forward another notch and it all makes sense.

So as of today, it's goodbye Seimei and hello 穀雨, pronounced Kokuu and literally meaning "grain rain", since the rain that falls right about now helps the grain to grow. In Japan, the three subseasons of Kokuu are:

  1. 葭始生, Yoshi Hajimete Shouzu: First reed sprouts grow
  2. 霜止出苗, Shimo Yande Nae Izu*: Frost ends, rice seedlings emerge
  3. 牡丹華, Botan Hana Saku: Peony flowers bloom
And in China, they are (I won't bother trying to include pronunciations, cause I don't know 'em):
  1. 萍始生: First duckweed sprouts grow
  2. 鳴鳩払其羽: "Calling pigeons" flap their wings
  3. 戴勝降于桑: Hoopoes descend to the mulberry trees.
Presumably, "calling pigeons" (鳴鳩) is some specific kind of bird, but I'm not sure exactly which.

Today is also the 91st anniversary of the publication of Natsume Soseki's Kokoro -- or, to be specific, the 91st anniversary of the day the Asahi Shinbun began its four-month serialisation.

* Note the old-fashioned reading of intransitive 出: nowadays it's usually deru (出る), but in the olden days it was indeed izu (出づ). The modern deru reading comes from 出づ's renyou-kei or "conjugational form", ide-. I don't know where the initial i went, but I do know that izu lives on in oide, a polite expression meaning "come here": polite prefix o + nominalised ide (with optional explicitly imperative nasai). But for the longest time I thought it was the imperative form of some mysterious verb ogu.

P.S. dasu (出す) comes from idasu.

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Wow. Obscure holidays and a joke about linguistics/musical theatre all in one go. I think you've reached a place as yet uncharted in the Black Heart of Nerdery.


The mora... the mora...


As you probably already know, ide also lives on in names, such as 出光 idemitsu (the petrol station chain) and 小出 koide (a run of the mill surname).


Ohhh, I totally forgot about that. You're absolutely right. Thanks, anonymous person!

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