31shortyones10) different message in the same old wind ― Jaugo teaches Sayaka the feeling of getting old


10)(秋立つ日よめる)

あききぬとめにはさやかにみえねどもかぜのおとにぞおどろかれぬる

「秋来ぬと目にはさやかに見えねども風の音にぞ驚かれぬる」

藤原敏行(ふぢはらのとしゆき)

♪(SING)♪

★different message in the same old wind ― Jaugo teaches Sayaka the feeling of getting old★

Jaugo: Fancy meeting you here, “さやか”-san, in a poem more than 1,100 years ago!… Are you surprised?

Sayaka: By this TANKA? No, not at all. I know it too well. Most Japanese people know it too well, too, I suppose. I wonder why you chose this TANKA.

Jaugo: So that you may not say “I’ve never seen any TANKA like this before”.

Sayaka: Thanks, I’ve never seen any TANKA as familiar as this one before.

Jaugo: Familiarity breeds contempt… do you really feel you know this poem that too well?

Sayaka: Yes… but now that you ask me… is there more to it than meets the eye?

Jaugo: Something more to this TANKA than meets your young eye, I’d guess.

Sayaka: You mean, it takes me more growing up to see the real message of this TANKA?

Jaugo: Not quite, perhaps you know what it means, all right, yet you may come to feel something more than that as you advance in years… just like me.

Sayaka: Like that favorite poem of ours 《春毎に花の盛りは有りなめど 相見む事は命なりけり:はるごとにはなのさかりはありなめど あひみむことはいのちなりけり:haru goto ni hana no sakari wa arinamedo aimimu koto wa INOCHI NARIKERI》?

Jaugo: Mm… you make me real proud of you as your educational foster-parent.

Sayaka: I’m glad to have made you glad, Dad!

Jaugo: There are more things in the suddenly gentle wind of late Summer, my dear daughter, than are dreamt of in your young fancy.

Sayaka: You sound more like Father in a church than my educational Dad, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: Actually I spoke in the voice of Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Sayaka: Mm… I can’t understand it anyway until I grow up more, is that what you mean?

Jaugo: Or, until you grow old… or rather, until you feel you’re getting older.

Sayaka: You mean, “風の音にぞ驚かれぬる(kaze no oto ni zo odorokarenuru = I’m taken by surprise at the sound of the wind)” alludes to the realization that you are getting old?

Jaugo: Not quite for everyone, I’m just talking about my personal reminiscence.

Sayaka: So, you say you once felt that you were getting old… and the change in the wind of Summer brought it home to you?

Jaugo: That’s about the size of it.

Sayaka: It sounds odd… I remember hearing you say you never changed at all in your thirties, since the core of yourself never changed.

Jaugo: I’m glad you correctly remember it.

Sayaka: And now you say you felt you were getting old, surprised by the change of the wind in late Summer… wasn’t it that your Summer would never fade so long as you keep adding something to the essentially unchanged core of yours?

Jaugo: Paradoxical does it sound?

Sayaka: Mm… maybe you have some magical formula up your sleeve to solve the apparent contradiction between “for ever young” and “suddenly feeling old”… I’m all ears.

Jaugo: You trust me that I’ll always give you some convincing answer?

Sayaka: I do.

Jaugo: OK, in deference to your trust in me, I will make an attempt at improvisation… or an instant plagiarism from 敏行(Toshiyuki)’s TANKA… here goes: 《おいぬるとわがこころにはおもはねど こらのおとにぞおどろかれぬる:oinuru to wa ga kokoro ni wa omowanedo kora no oto ni zo odorokarenuru》老いぬると我が心には思はねど(although I myself don’t feel getting old at heart)子等の音にぞ驚かれぬる(I’m taken by surprise at the news of my dear children).

Sayaka: Your dear children… educational foster children, including me?

Jaugo: Bull’s-eye.

Sayaka: Surprised at the news of my… my what? Marriage, perhaps?

Jaugo: Yes, and maybe you’ll some day ask me to take care of your children as their educational foster parent.

Sayaka: It seems too far away to be possible… I can’t imagine myself getting married.

Jaugo: And you can’t imagine yourself getting old either… until suddenly the wind changes around you, although you yourself have not changed, or at least you yourself feel you’ve never changed at all… but the wind has certainly changed, drawing different pictures around you from the time you were as young to others as to yourself. That’s when you suddenly realize that you are not young to others any more… although you feel you are still young inside.

Sayaka: I see… no, in fact, I can’t see it now, I won’t be able to see the truth of what you say, until I… I’m not young in the eyes of others… That’s a little too sad a story to be derived from this Autumnal wind TANKA, it seems to me.

Jaugo: Yeah, I feel so, too. But such far-out interpretation is not impossible to be drawn from it, that’s what I wanted you to know. Heianese TANKA is essentially human-oriented, not purely naturalistic. You may project your own personal feelings upon them, not least because they are structurally suggestive for being not too wordy, not too explanatory… 31 is a good number, neither too short nor too long. Not so brusquely brief as 17-letter HAIKU(俳句), not so meaninglessly roomy as 140-letter Twitter.

Sayaka: Not too young, not too old… then it should be 25-27 for me, perhaps… thirty-something sounds too old for a woman.

Jaugo: Oh-oh, watch your mouth, Sayaka-san, you’ll never know how you feel when you actually turn thirty. For the sake of yourself in future, if not for the hurt feelings of those women already over thirty, I think you should refrain from referring to any particular age right now.

Sayaka: If you say so… by the way, how old are you, Jaugo-san, if you don’t mind?

Jaugo: Chronologically, more than twice your age, old enough to be your father. Mentally, about the same age as yours, young enough to be your friend.

Sayaka: I expected as much.

Jaugo: Did I answer your question correctly?

Sayaka: Well, yeah, correctly, I think so, if not too accurately.

Jaugo: When it comes to age, too much accuracy spoils the joy.

Sayaka: Just like the change of seasons at the end of Summer?

Jaugo: Good ending… isn’t it about time we finished this conversation?

Sayaka: For today, yes… I hope we can talk about this later… maybe when I’m… twenty-seven?

Jaugo: Remember what I said? Please refrain from any particular age, young lady.

Sayaka: Oops! Sorry I’m poor at being ambiguous.

Jaugo: Yes, I know ― since you are 名にし負ふ”さやか”さん(na ni shi ou Sayaka-san = worthy of the name… of being sharp = 冴やかさん). So long, Miss Razor-sharp.

Sayaka: Thank you, Mr. Ageless. See you.


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10)(秋立つ日よめる)

あききぬとめにはさやかにみえねどもかぜのおとにぞおどろかれぬる

「秋来ぬと目にはさやかに見えねども風の音にぞ驚かれぬる」

『古今集』秋・一六九・藤原敏行(ふぢはらのとしゆき)(?-901or907:男性)

(立秋の日の詠歌)

『暦の上ではもう秋が来たといっても、見渡せば周りの景色はどれもこれもみな夏模様、はっきりと秋めいた色彩などどこにもない・・・のだが、ふと肌に感じる風だけは微妙に涼しげ・・・もう秋はすぐそこまで来ているのだなぁ。』

(on the first Autumn day on lunar calendar)

The first day of Autumn still leaves my eyes cold.

Everything in sight is hot, no sign of autumn yet.

But wait, the wind is cool… air-mail from coming fall.

あき【秋】〔名〕<NOUN:Autumn>

く【来】〔自カ変〕(き=連用形)<VERB:come, arrive>

ぬ【ぬ】〔助動ナ変型〕完了(ぬ=終止形)<AUXILIARY VERB(PERFECT TENSE):has already -ed>

と【と】〔格助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(MANNER):like, as if>

め【目】〔名〕<NOUN:eye, visual sense>

に【に】〔格助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(DIRECTION):to, toward>

は【は】〔係助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(LIMITATION):as for, in the case of, when it comes to>

さやか【清か】〔形動ナリ〕(さやかに=連用形)<ADVERB:clearly>

みゆ【見ゆ】〔自ヤ下二〕(みえ=連用形)<VERB:look, appear, seem>

ず【ず】〔助動特殊型〕打消(ね=已然形)<AUXILIARY VERB(NEGATIVE):not>

ども【ども】〔接助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(CONCESSION):although>

…although the arrival of Autumn is not so clear to see to my eyes

かぜ【風】〔名〕<NOUN:the wind, breeze>

の【の】〔格助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(POSSESSIVE):’s, of, belonging to>

おと【音】〔名〕<NOUN:the sound, feel>

に【に】〔格助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(REASON):by, due to, because of>

ぞ【ぞ】〔係助〕<POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(EMPHATIC)>

おどろく【驚く】〔自カ四〕(おどろか=未然形)<VERB:suddenly realize, notice>

る【る】〔助動ラ下二型〕自発(れ=連用形)<AUXILIARY VERB(SPONTANEITY):naturally feel>

ぬ【ぬ】〔助動ナ変型〕完了(ぬる=連体形係り結び)<AUXILIARY VERB(PERFECT TENSE)>

…the sound of the breeze [that feels more cool than hot] wakes me up [to the passage of Summer and arrival of Autumn]

《aki kinu to meni wa sayakani miene domo kaze no oto ni zo odorokare nuru》


■meek “yea” or unique “nay” to traditional wisdom■

 This is quite a famous piece of TANKA ― arguably one of the most well-known among those not adopted in 『小倉百人一首(Ogura hyakunin-isshu = one hundred TANKA poems by one hundred different poets)』 selected by 藤原定家(Fujiwara-no-Teika:1162-1241). The reason for its popularity is its reference to the subtle feel of the change in the wind at the end of Summer that’s not cool yet, yet not too hot any more.

 The transition from Summer to Autumn is hardly visible to the eye, nor is it so palpable to the skin. Flowers and trees do not come and go to remind us of declining Summer as they do us of the passage of Spring. The wind blowing on “秋立つ日(aki tatsu hi = the first day of Autumn by lunar calendar)” is not so distinctively cooler than that of Summer as Vernal wind is apparently gentler than the cold Wintry wind. That is why 藤原敏行(Fujiwara-no-Toshiyuki) says “風の<音>にぞ驚かれぬる(kaze no <oto> ni zo odorokarenuru = surprised at the <sound> of the wind)” as opposed to “風の<違ひ>にぞ驚かれぬる(kaze no <chigai> ni zo odorokarenuru = surprised at the <difference> in the wind)”: as we all know, the wind itself is not very different from Summer to Autumn. On the first day of Autumn (which comes on the seventh or eighth day of August by solar calendar), it doesn’t get so much cooler as the calendar says it will, although quite a lot of humans like to think so because they can’t endure the thought of enduring heat of Summer, as can be seen in the following groups of poets who seem more obedient to what others say is true than they are true to their actual feelings:

《にはかにもかぜのすずしくなりぬるか あきたつひとはむべもいひけり:niwaka ni mo kaze no suzushiku narinuru ka aki tatsu hi to wa mube mo iikeri》『後撰集(Go-sen-shuu)』秋(Autumn) No.217 よみ人しらず(anonymous)俄かにも(all of a sudden)風の凉しくなりぬる(the wind has become cool)か(…or has it?)秋立つ日とはむべも言ひけり(the calendar is right in telling us Autumn starts on this particular day)

《ほどもなくなつのすずしくなりぬるは ひとにしられであきやきぬらむ:hodo mo naku natsu no suzushiku narinuru wa hito ni shirarede aki ya kinu ramu》『後拾遺集(Go-Shuui-shuu)』夏(Summer) No.229 by 藤原頼宗(Fujiwara-no-Yorimune:993-1065)程もなく(before too long)夏の凉しくなりぬる(Summer has become cooler)は(is it because)人に知られで(without being recognized by humans)秋や来ぬらむ(Autumn has come… or has it?)

《みなづきのてるひのかげはさしながら かぜのみあきのけしきなるかな:minazuki no teru hi no kage wa sashi nagara kaze nomi aki no keshiki naru kana》『金葉集(Kin-you-shuu)』夏(Summer) No.145 藤原忠通(Fujiwara-no-Tadamichi:1097-1164)水無月の(in June…by lunar calendar)照る日の影は差しながら(the glaring sunshine is still hot upon us)風のみ秋の景色なる(only the wind is in the color of Autumn)かな(…or is it?)

・・・The 詞書(kotoba-gaki = annotation)to this TANKA says 「六月廿日頃に、立秋の日、人のもとに遣はしける:roku-gatsu hatsuka goro ni risshuu no hi hito no moto ni tsukawashikeru」, which goes to show that “立秋の日(risshuu no hi = the first day of Autumn)” comes much earlier than usual in this particular year, which makes it physically impossible for the wind to be “秋の気色(aki no keshiki = Autumnal)”, but the poet could not resist saying so because it is very rare for “立秋の日(risshuu no hi = the first day of Autumn)” to be so foolishly out of sync with the actual season. Just remember this TANKA as a proof that in Japan something authoritative, however implausible, simply overrides the authentic feeling of an individual.

 Perhaps uncontented to pay such stale homage to traditional wisdom, which obviously went against his personal feelings, 藤原敏行(Fujiwara-no-Toshiyuki) chose to express his “difference” by the phrase “風の<音>(kaze no <oto> = the <sound> of the wind)”. But what kind of sound does it refer to? If it was the actual sound of the wind blowing in the air of coming Autumn, it should sound not so much “milder” as “wilder” as Autumn goes on, because it’s a notorious typhoon season in Japan… “Beware, folks, a hurricane is coming!” is he warning us? Obviously not. What, then, does he suggest by “風の音(kaze no oto = the sound of the wind)”?

 In possible reply to the question above, 紀貫之(Ki-no-Tsurayuki:872-945), one of the editors of 『古今集(Kokin-shuu):A.D.905』 in which this particular TANKA of 敏行(Toshiyuki) appears, rhymes out as follows:

《をぎのはのそよぐおとこそあきかぜの ひとにしらるるはじめなりけれ:ogi no ha no soyogu oto koso akikaze no hito ni shiraruru hajime narikere》『拾遺集(Shuui-shuu)』秋(Autumn) No.139 荻の葉の(the leaves of the Japanese clover)戦ぐ音(rustling [in the wind])こそ秋風の人に知らるる初めなりけれ(that’s the very first sign of Autumnal wind recognizable by humans)

・・・Leaves of trees leave us no impression other than “cool shade away from the heat” in the middle of Summer; the sound of leaves rustling in the wind is only recognizable by humans who take less interest in escaping from the heat than in listening to the subtle change of seasons slowly going on in Nature. Summer is a season to be felt by sight and skin, not by sound; when the ears take over the eyes and skin, it’s about time we got ready for Autumn. That’s what 敏行(Toshiyuki) says, so explains this poem by 貫之(Tsurayuki).

 貫之(Tsurayuki)’s job, as always, is impeccable… although his voice, as well as the true “sound” of 敏行(Toshiyuki)’s TANKA, hardly reaches the ears of most Japanese who choose to listen meekly to traditional wisdom than gaze questioningly into the subtle difference barely recognizable in his “風の音(kaze no oto = the sound of the wind)”… Not that it matters: there are as many ways of feeling a piece of TANKA as the number of its readers, you know.


Having an English-speaking self within you is just like having a conversation partner like Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san beside you.
We provide you not with actual conversation partners, but we enable you to engage in intellectually enticing conversation with Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san(…no mean feat, isn’t it?)
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