Friday, May 18, 2007

bitter herb grows tall

May 22 through 26

Liza Dalby touched on how misunderstandings so easily occurs when one language is translated into another.
The iris, ayame in Japanese, is the plant and flower the Japanese think of when they think of the flower that once decorated the Heian era palaces. Actually the plant was Acorus calamus, sweet flag or also known as blue flag.

This essay stopped me in my tracts. I began thinking about all the different ways miscommunication happens, inaccurate translations and limited listening to name just two. I began seeing how much miscommunication was happening in my life.
This essay once again prompted me to do some research.

I also enjoyed reading how she wrote her first and last waka.


Housefrau said...

Speaking of communication--I was struck by how important plants are to communication in Japanese. The mention of one plant carries so many social meanings. I think we used to have that sense in English, but it has faded quite a bit now.

I have stalled a bit on my readings over the last couple weeks, but am looking forward to picking back up this weekend!

Q said...

I also have put my book down for a bit.
I like that I can do that.
I like reading an essay and thinking about it for a day or two or even a week.
I also like the way certain plants have meaning for the Japanese. In a way it is still true in the United States. I think it has to do with regions and with Holidays. The poinsettia and the lily come to mind as associated with Christmas and Easter.
Some flowers seem to say a certain season, like the sunflower says, "Summer!"

Mary said...

Don't you find it interesting how much we all obviously enjoy this book, but are taking our time with it? I'm so used to rushing through books since I'm a very fast reader. Unfortunately, I do skim a bit when I read, zipping through passages that seem redundant or unnecessary. I never do that with this book. Ever. I really do read every word. I just do so very slowly. I pick up the book, read an essay and put it down again. I honestly do think that this slow pace is due in part to reading it during the season it begins with. I wonder if I would approach this book the same way if we'd begun this book in October?

Q said...

Hi Mary,
You have a very interesting observation. Starting in Spring was right when the book began. Maybe if we had started in October we would be reading to catch up to where we are in our seasons.
I too read an essay and think about it. I also go back and read the essay for the time I am in. Some essays I have read three or four times. Last night I read the essay for June 1st, again. I find today I am thinking about the idea of time and how we measure our year.
Dalby has a way of getting me to think.
I like that.