Yo wa Kodoku wo yorokobu Ningen da

Here's a tanka by Ishikawa Takuboku:

With sale upon sale, only/ an overhandled German dictionary remains/ on the summer floor

The unthinkable grief of having sold all one's books except a grotty German dictionary! Leavened somewhat by how nice old-fashioned wooden floors are in summer.

The phrase I translate as "overhandled" is in the original teaka kitanaki, literally "dirty with hand-grime." It's a very vivid image.

Note that Takuboku wrote his infamous Romazi Nikki in a German-like Style with capitalized Nouns (although this is a bit irregular and in particular "formal nouns" like koto and so on tend to be lower case).

Yo wa Kodoku wo yorokobu Ningen da. Umare-nagara ni site Kozin-syugi no Ningen da. Hito to tomo ni sugosita Zikan wa iyasikumo, Tatakai de nai kagiri, Yo ni wa Kûkyo na Zikan no yô na Ki ga suru.

Popularity factor: 10


I'm still waiting for Hepburn Nikki.

L.N. Hammer:

Oo, I like that one.



I might be repeating myself, but I'm still hoping for a fac-simile of his handwriting (I wonder if it even survived). Among other things, I wonder how exactly he spaced words and joshi in the unedited original :)


re capitalized nouns—come to think of, this might be useful! it adds some visual distinctiveness for a class of words, building a rhythm not unlike to the way kanji and kana often are visual clues that distinguish root morphemes from grammatical inflections etc. Let's see:

> Tatakai de nai kagiri, Yo ni wa Kûkyo na Zikan no yô na Ki ga suru.

> 戦いでない限り、予には空虚な時間のような気がする。

> Aaaaaaa aa aaa aaaaaa, Aa aa aa Aaaaa aa Aaaaa aa aa aa Aa aa aaaa.

> 漢ああああ漢あ、漢ああ漢漢あ漢漢ああああ漢あああ。


For some reason, my screen-blurred eyes read that as an *underhanded* German dictionary.

I think I almost prefer that image.


The capital letters make Zikan seem like German philosophy: Zituzon und Zikan.


Did You Know that the Japanese government officially approves this sort of Romanization?

6 文の書きはじめ、および固有名詞は語頭を大文字で書く。なお、固有名詞以外の名詞の語頭を大文字で書いてもよい。

Takuboku: So much a part of their SYS-tem that he even followed the optional rules.


…I am <i>so</i> writing in German Philosophy Rômazi from now on.


Hi, I've only just come across your blog and I was woendring how you (parents) manage two languages each with the kids. I was raised bilingual Italian-French, husband was raised bilingual Spanish-English. As we live in the UK, he's happy to speak Spanish to our little one, while I'm striving to find a balance- opol just doesn't come natural to me (it's been hard enough to stop speaking Spanglish with hubby!), and I'm keen give my baby the gift of both Italian and French. At first 0-6 months I would split the day in two: French AM, Italian PM. Since then, to avoid my brain melting, I've been using French only for songs, rhymes and reading time. Still, it's all very new for us, I'd love to find out what other families do! (please note, we live in a very monolingual part of the country with no family nearby, and with the exception of holidays we are the only source of heritage languages exposure for our little girl).


gwRgvC pbopkvjoyaao

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

LU d'R
Mail d'E

All fields optional. E-mail address will never be displayed, resold, etc. -- it's just a quick way to give me your e-mail address along with your comment, if you should feel the need. URL will be published, though, so don't enter it if it's a secret. You can use <a href>, but most other tags will be filtered out. (I'll fix it in post-production for you if it seems necessary.)