Here's a mysterious entry from the Shinsen inu tsukuba shū 新選犬筑波集 ("Newly selected mongrel Tsukuba anthology"):

Tsuki omoshirokarikeru yoru kuriuchi nado iu waza asobikeru ni:
  Yama no ha ni/ tsuki wa ide kuri/ muku yo kana
Playing "chestnuts" on a night with a brilliant moon:
   At the mountain's edge/ the moon comes out - a night to peel/ boiled chestnuts

So, the point of this poem is the overlap between tsuki wa ide (moon comes out) and idekuri ("boiled chestnuts"). I could not figure out a way to recreate anything corresponding to this in my translation. Ide is from ideru, a variant of contemporary yuderu "boil" (compare /iku/ vs /yuku/) which appears in the Jesuit Vocabulario:

Ide, zzuru, eta. Cozer couſas de comer.
Ide, zzuru, eta. Cook things to eat.

The mysterious part is that no-one knows what kuriuchi, which I have translated "chestnuts" and which literally means "chestnut-hitting," actually was. It's mentioned in a few contemporary sources, so it seems to have been a thing (as the kids say), but no-one bothered to actually write down the rules. The Nihon kokugo daijiten points out that we do know what "walnuts" (kurumiuchi) was — basically marbles, except with walnuts — and hypothesizes that "chestnuts" was similar.

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My thought was conkers - extra fun in the dark.


I know, right? I was surprised to read in Wikipedia that even conkers is a relatively recent invention (or at least, flew completely under the cultural radar until the early 19th century). Maybe it's a tech tree thing -- you're not like to invent conkers unless your civilization is industrialized enough to give all children easy access to scraps of string.

L. N. Hammer:

My thought was conkers, too -- a game I'm still rather fuzzy on the rules to.



hmm, I see what you're saying about likelihood, but string doesn't seem far enough down the tech tree that the game couldn't have come into being (and then died out again) at almost any point.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

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