At any convenient time

Oh no! I was wasting so much time trying to get OpenOffice to let me enter Japanese via the keyboard rather than cut-and-paste that I completely forgot Boushu!

Boushu 芒種, or "Bearded Grain Sowing", is the season after Shouman. It started a week ago today, although in modern Japan they start planting those bearded grains earlier than this. Japan's rainy season, Tsuyu or more rarely Baiu (梅雨, "Plum Rain") also starts right about now, though it doesn't make the official 24-notch Chinese calendar.

As usual, there are three sub-seasons. In Japan, they are:

  1. 螳螂生, Tourou shouzu -- Praying mantids are born
  2. 腐草為蛍, Fusou hotaru to naru -- Rotten grass becomes fireflies (sure it does)
  3. 梅子黄 Ume no mi ki nari -- Plums go yellow (in a good way)
Meanwhile, in China...
  1. 螳螂生 -- same as Japan
  2. 鵙始鳴 -- Shrikes begin to call
  3. 反舌無声 -- Nightingales stop calling
I guess they're just not that into you.

I translated 反舌 as "nightingale" here following Wikipedia's gloss, but as usual for old nature words, its actual meaning is difficult to pin down. It seems to literally mean something like "lying-tongued [bird]", and while my dictionaries agree that it can also be written 百舌鳥 ("hundred-tongued bird"), which means... shrike... other sources, such as this guy, firmly disagree:

Incidentally, 反舌 can also be written 百舌鳥. "Shrike" can be written 百舌, but 百舌鳥 are not shrikes.

I'm inclined to believe him, because otherwise we have two whole seasons named basically "Shrikes on/Shrikes off", which seems unlikely. But that doesn't solve the question of what 百舌鳥 actually are, and I'm too tired to dig any deeper.

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OpenOffice let me keyboard-input right off the bat.

Where's Steve Jobs to help you now? Huh? HUH??



NeoOffice/J worked fine, but it has trouble saving gigantic Excel files properly. Stupid incredibly complex free software!


Methinks it may be an Operating System setting. But actually I have no idea how it works on Mac. Windows you just have to set it into Japanese mode and any text input can be done in J.

For free software (usually stigmatized as crap), OO is great ... and it sure beats selling my firstborn to Microsoft!


i don't kno if this would help, but the modern chinese definition for 反舌鳥 is "mockingbird," as in the kind you find in the southern part of the us. i dunno what they were when the seasons were named tho.


I can cut and paste Japanese text into OpenOffice, and I can use NeoOffice/J (which is better integrated with OS X) perfectly fine, so I'm pretty sure the Japanese input problem is X11-related. I just don't know how to fix it..

Thanks, Andy. I'm not really clear on the difference between mockingbirds and nightingales and how they're all related to shrikes.

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