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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Onomatopoeia for Birds

Onomatopoeia exist in languages and used as one of the tool of expression. I think Japanese onomatopoeia is especially rare in the world because some of them are not heard at all like real ones. Here is new onomatopoeia for birds.


Birds...............English..................Japanese

“Owl”.................Hoot.......................... Hôhô(ホーホー)

“Cockerel........Cock-a-doodle-doo...Kokekokko(コケコッコ)

“Chicken.........Cheep..........................Piyo-piyp(ピヨピヨ)

“Hen...............Cackle / Cluck............Kokkokko(コッコッコ)

“Crow..............Caw.............................Kâkâ(カーカー)

“Dove...............Coo.............................Kûkû(クークー)

“Duck...............Quak..........................Gâgâ(ガーガー)

“Sparrow........Chirp...........................Chun-chun(ちゅんちゅん)


This is always fun and interesting to compare with these kinds of onomatopoeia, isn’t it?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Mummified Priests for People

You can do all sorts of things to save people you love; giving food, listening to one’s concerns, cheering up, and so on. However, can you kill yourself for them?




There are more than 10 Buddhists in Japan who attained Buddha hood while still in the alive, and they are called Sokushinbutsu (即身仏). Sokushin is one of Buddha training ways to save people, take fears away and grant their desires by being a Sokushinbutu.

To put how to be a Sokushinbutsu concretely, one stops to have the five grains, and have walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmegs instead which take away moisture and fat in the body. Next, the one is buried in a pit, and s/he recites sutra with ringing a bell. When the bell ringing stop can be heard from a hollow bamboo utensil connecting ground and the pit as an air vent: means the one died, dig up it, fix the shape, and burry it again. After 3 years and 3 months, it is dug up and to be seen and prayed for people.

You can still visit and see Sokushinbutsu as a complete mummy. Expressly, Yamagata prefecture has 8 Sokushinbutsu. I saw two Sokushinbutsu at Kaikouji(海向寺) in Sakata city, Yamagata. One is Chuukaishounin(忠海上人) who was born in Tsuruoka city, Yamagata. He became Sokushinbutsu in 1755 at 58 years old. The another one is called Enmyoukaishounin(円明海上人), turned to a Sokushinbutsu in 1822 at 55 years old.




The two Sokushinbutsu looked really mummy. I felt it was kind of scary when I saw them first time. They looked have hard skin like wood. The staff there explained about Sokushinbutsu things and sell original charms. Popular ones are red charm which include a piece of clothe that Sokushinbutsu wear. They wear red clothe in the shrine and the clothe are to be changed every 12 years. So, worn clothe are cut in small pieces and put them into charms.

Sokushin cannot be in modern life because most people don’t’ have need of food or things in Japan. However, when people had hard time they cannot eat and not satisfied lives in old times, priests commit suicide by throwing themselves into Sokushinbutsu to undertake all fears people have. They lost their lives by themselves, but that could be the only gratification to meet people and be prayed by them after hundreds and thousands years.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Huge Monumental Image of Buddha in Kamakura

I bet people who are interested in Japan have heard of "Daibutsu in Nara(奈良の大仏)" prefecture which is the largest Daibutsu(大仏), monumental statue of Buddha in Japan. Then, do you know the second largest Daibutsu in Japan?


The Daibutsu meditates silently close to my living place, Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture. The name Daibutsu is commonly known by “Kawakura-no-Daibutsu(鎌倉の大仏)”, Buddha in Kamakura and also called “Hase-no-Daibutsu(長谷の大仏)” because the place the Daibutsu is in is Hase. This is designated a national treasure in Japan.

“Kawakura-no-Daibutsu” was constructed more than 700 years ago with funds from civil. At first, the construction started in 1238 and finished 1243, and the Daibutsu was wooden, so it was totally destroyed with a storm soon, in 1247. The Daibutsu was constructed again with bronze in 1252, and it completed in several years.


The Daibutsu has 11.39 meters high. It’s just amazing scenery that the calm Daibutsu sits there and closed eyes. I was kind of scared when I stated it because it overwhelmed people with its giant appearance and I felt like it is about to open eyes and even move. That much it looked alive.


There is an interesting option at Kamakura-no-Daibutsu. You can come into the Daibutsu inside! It is just 20 yen to enter. When I got in the Daibutsu, the skin was really warm, it is because bronze absorbs sunlight and gets warm inside. I didn’t take a shot of Daibutsu inside because I somehow felt it is not allowed to do that, especially like for holy thing or place, I am not a Buddhist though. So, please check out visiting there how is like the Daibutsu inside.