Quel dynamisme!

I love this postcard. It's like a still from some silent-era proto(ro)-Totoro.

We, and they, are looking at Suizenji in Kumamoto, a tourist attraction with a four-century history. That hill you can see in the background on the right is a miniature Mount Fuji; the walking route around the garden is supposed to evoke the old Tōkaidō route from Edo to Kyoto. (How symbolic that it all got torn up during the Satsuma Rebellion, and had to be repaired afterwards.)

Soseki wrote a couple of haiku about Suizenji. Probably the most famous is this one:

Waku kara ni/ nagaruru kara ni/ haru no mizu
They well! They flow! —sic the waters of spring

Pardon my extremely unserious attempt at a translation. I am quite ill. However, I observe that there are two (2) French translations of this haiku online for those seeking an alternative.

Popularity factor: 6

language hat:

Thanks for dragging yourself out of your sickbed to share that lovely picture, and get well soon!


I can't quite tell, but it appears that Soseki wasn't very serious when he wrote that haiku. So I suppose it deserves an unserious translation.

I've long been fascinated by the little mini-Fujisans around Japan. I saw a short TV story about them, apparently they were common in past eras, there were small ones that were a sort of "jungle gym" for kids to climb on, and larger ones that were more serious, for adults to simulate the climb. Many of these little Fuji's are in shrines, and the climb is a symbolic religious rite.
After I saw that video, I started looking around, and indeed, I found a few of them scattered around Tokyo in places I'd already visited, and never noticed them before.


Charles: One of the ones in Tokyo that I heard of is in a shrine and only opened every so many years. It didn't seem particular Fuji-ish to me, in those surrounds, but perhaps the fault is in the viewer....

Prof. Bernstein is writing a book on Mt. Fuji in history right now, if I understand right.

L.N. Hammer:

Any idea when that photograph was taken?



Reminds me of those theme parks where they have miniature versions of different monuments.

Should we take it from the post title that you prefer the second French translation?


Hmm, no, the first really. When it comes to poetry I generally prefer translations that keep the revelations in the same order.

L: I would assume pre-WWII, but apart from that, no idea, sorry.

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