The octopus at home

Two senryū about the noble octopus and his domestic habits.


"Like a bare-root pine: the octopus walking." Bonsai enthusiasts will recognize ne-agari (literally, "root-risen") as the Japanese term for the exposed root style, which is in turn an evocation of the full-size aged pine look.

Octopuses were said to walk into unguarded seaside fields by night, to steal potatoes. No kidding.


"Octopus in the outhouse -- with which legs shall he squat astride it?"

雪隠 (setchin) is an extinct word for "toilet". The kanji literally mean "snow hide", and the etymology is not settled. A lot of people seem convinced that it has to do with a monk whose name included 雪 ("snow") and his strong association with the toilets of a temple with 隠 ("hide") in its name, but that sounds a little too neat to me.

Anyway, no-one says 雪隠 to refer to literal toilets any more, but I understand that it lives on as a go metaphor for an undesirable and cramped corner of the board.

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This guy gives good octopus.


Oh yeah, that's good octopus.

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