31shortyones20) something other than being “a woman” ― Sayaka’s determination after her enctouner with Komachi






★something other than being “a woman” ― Sayaka’s determination after her enctouner with Komachi★

Jaugo: Hello, Sayaka-san, did you enjoy reading “小町歌(Komachi rhymes)”?

Sayaka: Yes. I rushed through them on the night you gave me the list.

Jaugo: All in a row in a single night?

Sayaka: Yes. All through the night into the dawn.

Jaugo: Mm… the young and the beautiful will devour everything in their paths.

Sayaka: Sorry I devoured them so soon. It must have taken you lots of trouble for preparation.

Jaugo: No trouble at all, just a lot of enthusiasm, which is well-rewarded if you got so much involved in reading them that it cost you the whole night. Thank you for enjoying them, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: (…) Jaugo-san!

Jaugo: Yes?

Sayaka: I made up my mind after reading those 小町(Komachi) songs.

Jaugo: Oh, did you?

Sayaka: Yes. Do you know what?

Jaugo: “Get thee to a nunnery”?

Sayaka: What?

Jaugo: It’s what Hamlet told his sweetheart Ophelia ― “you should go to a nunnery” ― of course, you shouldn’t, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: Then why do you say that to me?

Jaugo: Maybe because there were so many “あま(ama = 尼:nuns / 海人:fishermen)” in 小町(Komachi)’s rhymes.

Sayaka: Why do I have an impression that you often try to be funny when I’m seriously telling you something?

Jaugo: Maybe because you often take me by sweet surprise; I’m just preparing by joking. I can hardly wait how you get me today.

Sayaka: I’m not going to be a nun.

Jaugo: Of course, you don’t. You are too young and beautiful to be a nun.

Sayaka: I won’t be a nun even if I’m not young or beautiful.

Jaugo: Uh… yeah, you don’t have to be a nun, not at all… so, what’re you gonna be?

Sayaka: Guess what I’m gonna be, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: Um… you are going to be… much more attractive.

Sayaka: When? At twenty? At thirty? At your age?

Jaugo: Uh…

Sayaka: Do you believe I’ll be more attractive than I am today when I’m forty?

Jaugo: Um…

Sayaka: Do you enjoy talking with me now because I’m 17, young and beautiful in your eyes?

Jaugo: No… I mean, you are young and really beautiful, all right, but that’s not the main reason why I enjoy this conversation with you so much. I believe you know that.

Sayaka: Yes. But when I’m not young any more, will you still be interested in talking with me, Jaugo-san?

Jaugo: “When I’m sixty-four”?… “Tomorrow never knows”…

Sayaka: You sound intangible, even grammatically incorrect. Are you trying to be funny again?

Jaugo: No, I’m just a fan of FAB-FOUR, especially Ringo’s lingo, his funny malapropism.

Sayaka: Please don’t try to lose me, Jaugo-san, when I’m asking you not to leave me even if I’m not young any more.

Jaugo: I’m sorry. I didn’t expect you to ask me that.

Sayaka: Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t beg you to be always with me even after I grow old. I just wanted to say I would be too sad if I so suddenly cease to be attractive in the eyes of men when I’m not young any more. But that’s the sad reality, isn’t it? ― a woman who has seen better days is no longer attractive in the eyes of men ― can you deny it, Jaugo-san?

Jaugo: No.

Sayaka: That’s why I made up my mind ― I’m going to be like YOU, Jaugo-san!

Jaugo: Like me?

Sayaka: Yes! I want to be ageless and timeless, just like you.

Jaugo: Sorry, Sayaka-san, I seem to be losing you…

Sayaka: Why are you so attractive to me, Jaugo-san? Because you are young and good-looking in my eyes?

Jaugo: I’d guess not.

Sayaka: No, you are actually not young or good-looking at all, but that’s no problem to me.

Jaugo: Oh, thank you…

Sayaka: You don’t make me conscious of your age, of your looks, even of your gender, because I feel so much attracted to something other than such outward impressions, something springing out of your inner core, that’s why I love talking with you so much, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: I’m glad you say that.

Sayaka: Now, please tell me, honestly, do you feel the same thing about me? Are you attracted to something other than my outward impression, something coming out from within me? Or are you more attracted to my… girlish charms?

Jaugo: Honestly, your girlish charms are so overwhelming that even your charming character and keen intelligence sometimes look overshadowed by… your charm as a woman. But I would not get so involved in your conversation if you were just a beautiful young woman without anything interesting inside your brains… and your heart.

Sayaka: Thank you, Jaugo-san, it’s very honest and considerate of you to say that to me. But can you say the same thing about me when I’m thirty, forty or fifty?

Jaugo: I’d like to promise to you, but I’d also hate to be dishonest before you.

Sayaka: I can promise without being dishonest that I can say the same thing about you, Jaugo-san, even after ten years have passed from now. Because your charm comes from within you, not from without you… I’d like to be just like that, Jaugo-san. I want to develop my inner character and intelligence to such an extent that you don’t care about my age, my looks, my sex, nothing outward matters so much as something coming out from inside me… do you think I can make it, Jaugo-san?

Jaugo: Um…

Sayaka: Honestly, please?

Jaugo: Honestly, that will be very, very difficult in your case, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: You say, I can’t be like you?

Jaugo: You can develop your charm within to such an extent that everyone will feel attracted to it even after you are forty or fifty… but…

Sayaka: But…?

Jaugo: While you are in your teens, twenties… and maybe far into your thirties, your outward charm will never get overshadowed by your inner core ― you are simply too beautiful and attractive as a woman.

Sayaka: Are you trying to flatter me?

Jaugo: I’m just telling you the truth ― simple truth seen in the eyes of simple men; men will get simply attracted by your beauty before they realize how charming you are inside. That’s a great asset of yours which you don’t have to hate at all. You just try to be as attractive within as beautiful without. Or are you going to tell me you’re gonna hate me if I find you outwardly attractive as much as I find you inwardly fascinating?

Sayaka: (…) I’d like to draw you near me by the magnetism of my inner core alone some day.

Jaugo: Some day, yes. I’d like to stay alive and remain attractive to you until that day.

Sayaka: Will you help me become more inwardly attractive?

Jaugo: By all means.

Sayaka: Even when I’m twenty-eight or something?

Jaugo: Oh-oh, refrain from referring to any particular age at which a woman ceases to be outwardly attractive in your young eyes ― if Sayaka-san really wants to be ageless and timeless like Jaugo-san, OK?

Sayaka: OK.

Jaugo: So, it’s about time we started talking about this today’s TANKA, don’t you think?

Sayaka: Why not ask me before that what I felt about all those 小町歌(Komachi-related rhymes)?

Jaugo: Oh, have you prepared your report, Sayaka-san?

Sayaka: By word of mouth, yes.

Jaugo: OK, please tell me your impression. Did you think “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” really existed?

Sayaka: In the image of the Japanese, yes. In reality, no.

Jaugo: What makes you say that?

Sayaka: My personal experience of rushing through all those 28 TANKA at a time: they didn’t seem to have been made by the same single poet. Many of them didn’t even seem to have been made by a woman. As you pointed out, those poems must have been made according to some storyboard at the hands of several poets, mostly men. They made up the image of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” according to men’s image of a beautiful woman… and an unhappy woman because of too much beauty and fame in her youth. It was too tragic a story to be told from the mouth of an actual woman; only men who are cruel and cynical in their attitude toward the fate of a woman could ever make up such a tragedy. And that tragedy, such cruelly fruitless fate of 小町(Komachi), and the fleeting affection of her male admirers, made me determine that I’d never be like her, I’d like to be an ageless and timeless person like Jaugo-san!

Jaugo: It seems I’ve exerted quite an influence upon you this time.

Sayaka: All the time! You never fail to open my eyes to some new truth every time I meet you. That’s why I love being with you, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: And you are never afraid to face any unfavorable truth; that’s what makes me so fond of you, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: But, it seems strange… why do Japanese people believe “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” really existed, when in fact those TANKA will plainly disprove it?

Jaugo: Mm… that’s a good question. You should start by asking yourself ― did you believe or not believe that “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” really existed, before you read all those 28 TANKA?

Sayaka: I… I’m not sure. I heard it said somewhere that “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” might be more fictional than real, but until I read them all, I really had no idea.

Jaugo: Or rather, you really didn’t care whether “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” really existed or not?

Sayaka: Maybe.

Jaugo: The only kind of people who care are those who would be in embarrassing situations if the existence of “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” were denied, like those engaged in touring business at some local villages of Japan which purport themselves to be the birthplace of 小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi).

Sayaka: Perhaps you are right. Other people simply don’t care.

Jaugo: And other people simply have no opportunity to read all those 28 poems in a row.

Sayaka: You are quite right!

Jaugo: When other people don’t know and don’t care, the rulebook of a game is simply written and rewritten at the total discretion of those players who are determined never to lose in the game; they can freely do so when no outsiders seriously get involved in the game. That’s how so many groundless fallacies are born and thrive until one day they turn out to have been so terribly wrong ― to the utter astonishment of objective observers. And it is quite hard to disprove such groundless fallacies, simply because a groundless fallacy is the most inviolate truth for its believers, and also because of the absence of public interest. When all the outsiders are simply indifferent and ignorant, practically all the parties involved are in favor of the fallacy; trying to disprove such a fallacy is a losing battle from the very start.

Sayaka: But I’d like to take the side of the truth. Don’t you also think so, Jaugo-san?

Jaugo: Mm… I don’t know. I’m no believer in the absolute goodness of a truth. “Fact” is everybody’s business; “truth” or “fallacy” is often nobody’s business. Whether Euro or Bitcoin is really exchangeable for the dollars or yen is important to each and everyone in the world, while if those 28 TANKA were really written by “小野小町(Ono-no-Komachi)” is never important to practically nobody in the world.

Sayaka: Nobody in the world but Jaugo and Sayaka.

Jaugo: Yeah, that’s true between you and me. It’s only important to the two of us ― our purely personal truth, we might as well call it.

Sayaka: So, we are real partners that share in such purely personal secrets?

Jaugo: Yes… though it doesn’t have to be secret.

Sayaka: I’d rather keep it a secret from the world, just between you and me.

Jaugo: Why?

Sayaka: Because it’s more fun!

Jaugo: Why?

Sayaka: The more fans of yours, the less fun can I have in your conversation, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: Funny logic.

Sayaka: Call it a woman’s logic if you will.

Jaugo: You hated to be “a woman” and wanted to be a Jaugo-san, as I remember.

Sayaka: I HATE to be a woman, but I AM a woman; do I look like a man?

Jaugo: No, you are a perfectly cute young woman, except at the inner core you sometimes reveal to me.

Sayaka: There’ll be much more to be revealed as we get along, so keep hoping, Jaugo-san.

Jaugo: I can hardly wait. Oh, that reminds me ― we’ve hardly started on today’s TANKA yet. Shall we continue, or shall we talk about it next time?

Sayaka: Let’s continue.

Jaugo: Good girl. Well, I believe this particular TANKA has several traps to invite you into confusion… am I wrong in my inference?

Sayaka: I believe you are referring to “ことならば(koto naraba)” and “ひとだのめ(hito-danome)”.

Jaugo: Yes. Can you make them out?

Sayaka: If you really want to pull my leg, you should hide away all those 漢字(KANJI = Chinese characters) you kindly added. “ことならば” in ひらがな(HIRA-GANA) alone would certainly have misled me into thinking it was “異ならば(kotonaraba = if different)”, but since you describe it as “同ならば(koto naraba)”, it must mean something like “同じことなら(onaji kotonara = other things being equal)” or “どうせなら(douse nara = if you do that at all)”… am I correct in my inference?

Jaugo: Correct, as always. And what do you make of “人頼め(hito-danome)”?

Sayaka: As for that, it’s a little too much for me, so, I’d like to turn to someone I trust so much ― what does “hito-danome” mean, Jaugo-san?

Jaugo: Mm… it’s “人頼<み>(hito-danomi = relying upon someone)” that you’re now doing, Sayaka-san… the term in question is “人頼<め>(hito-danome)” ― those terms end differently, can you see?

Sayaka: “人頼み(hito-danomi)” ends in… 連用形(ren-you-kei)?

Jaugo: Correct answer. What about “人頼め(hito-danome)”?

Sayaka: It’s… 已然形(izen-kei)?

Jaugo: Not quite.

Sayaka: Then is it… 命令形(meirei-kei)?

Jaugo: Correct.

Sayaka: Strange… imperative? Who’s ordering whom to do what?

Jaugo: That’s the next and perhaps the final question. Think about the situation: who made this TANKA ― a man or a woman?

Sayaka: A woman.

Jaugo: What makes you think so?

Sayaka: The 詞書(kotoba-gaki = annotation)”月の明き夜、人を待ちて(tsuki no akaki yo hito wo machite = one evening when the moon shines brightly, waiting for someone to come)” ― it’s a woman that waits in her room for her lover to visit her guided by the bright moon in the sky.

Jaugo: Good! And has the man already arrived?

Sayaka: No. She is still waiting.

Jaugo: Does he seem to come soon?

Sayaka: Um… I can’t tell from the rhyme.

Jaugo: OK, then, please give me your interpretaion of “同ならば闇にぞあらまし(koto naraba yami ni zo aramashi)”?

Sayaka: Other things being equal, it would be dark… right?

Jaugo: I’m afraid not.

Sayaka: OK, then, how about this ― if anything, it should be dark; I’d rather it was dark instead of bright tonight… right?

Jaugo: Good. Now, the next question is why does she wish it were dark tonight, when in fact the moon is shining bright?

Sayaka: Um… is she trying to hide from someone?

Jaugo: Like a stalker or a bill collector?

Sayaka: Of course not…

Jaugo: All right, then, it’s time to get back to the pending question ― “人頼め(hito-danome)” ― Who’s ordering whom to do what?… Can you decide on the subject of the sentence “who”, or its object “whom”?

Sayaka: Um… it must be either “月(tsuki = the moon)” or “彼(kare = the man)”, I think.

Jaugo: Or “我(ware = I)”, perhaps?

Sayaka: Perhaps…

Jaugo: OK, now, put yourself in the situation of the author of this TANKA ― a woman waiting in her room for her lover to come, OK?

Sayaka: OK.

Jaugo: Now, the man you’re waiting for has not come yet. So, what are you hoping for now?

Sayaka: I hope he will come soon.

Jaugo: Yes, of course, you hope so. But if, unfortunately, he never comes, then, how will you feel?

Sayaka: Very sad and angry ― it’s cruel of him to promise to come and keep me waiting so hopefully, only to make me feel as if he doesn’t love me any more!

Jaugo: Yes, you’re sure to feel that way if he had actually made that promise.

Sayaka: You say, he didn’t actually promise her to come?

Jaugo: More likely than not.

Sayaka: Then, why is she waiting for him to come even though he didn’t promise to come?

Jaugo: Because… something makes her hopeful that he may come. Now, it’s time for the final answer ― what makes her hopeful?

Sayaka: The bright moon in the sky!

Jaugo: Yes. So, you have all the pieces now; please answer the question ― Who’s ordering whom to do what?

Sayaka: The bright moon in the sky is ordering her to hope that he may come to see her… even though he didn’t make such a promise.

Jaugo: That’s the logic of “人頼め(hito-danome)”, you see?

Sayaka: A rather puzzling term indeed.

Jaugo: Indeed. Well, let’s see if you have really solved all the puzzle. Will you translate the whole TANKA for me, Sayaka-san?

Sayaka: If anything, it should be dark tonight. Why is the moon so bright as to make me hope that he may come?… though he didn’t promise me to come… That’s why I’m waiting, although I know I’m waiting in vain… it’s all your fault, this nasty bright MOON!

Jaugo: Perfect! Especially that “nasty bright MOON” part sounds so nice! The bright moon is benevolent on a woman along with her lover, nasty when all alone. You’ve tamed this time-honored theme of Heianese TANKA now.

Sayaka: It’s tough taming MOON. Especially when the hint is nasty.

Jaugo: Oh, did my hint puzzle you?

Sayaka: No, you were a perfectly helpful guide, as always, Jaugo-san. But the 詞書(kotoba-gaki = annotation) of this TANKA is quite nasty in saying “人を待ちて(hito wo machite = waiting for someone)”; if it does it at all, it should instead write “人を恋ひて(hito wo koite = longing for someone)”, don’t you think?

Jaugo: You may be right in thinking so. But when a woman is really in love, she just can’t stand merely longing for a man, she is sure to hope, expect, and demand that he will come and love her, with or without any verbal promise, because the moon is so bright upon her. That’s the “woman’s logic”, isn’t it?

Sayaka: I don’t know, because I’m not yet quite “woman” in that sense.

Jaugo: It seems you are in for so many surprising discoveries as you grow up to be a “woman”, Sayaka-san.

Sayaka: I’m determined to grow up to be a Jaugo-san, don’t you remember?

Jaugo: I’ll try to remember. Well, it was nice talking with you, or rather, listening to your declarations. Keep delighting me like the moon, naughty beauty brightly shining upon me.

Sayaka: Please keep enlightening me, Jaugo-san, like the polar star to correctly lead me all the way. Thank you for listening to my wacky soliloquy again. I think I’ll behave myself more decently next time.

Jaugo: No need to behave yourself. You just “be yourself” before me.

Sayaka: I sure will!

Jaugo: OK, so much for today. See you.

Sayaka: See you soon.








(waiting for someone to come at night when the moon is bright in the sky)

A night spent alone is already too bleak to bear.

He won’t come, I know… but what if he did tonight?

If it was totally dark, as dark as my heart was the sky,

No hope would I then get… without this autumnal moon!

こと【同】〔副〕<ADVERB:the same>



…if anything [now that the man seems never to come]

やみ【闇】〔名〕<NOUN(ADJECTIVE):dark, moonless>




まし【まし】〔助動特殊型〕推量(まし=連体形)<AUXILIARY VERB(SUBJUNCTIVE):I wish, o that>

…I’d rather it was a night with no moonlight at all [to show him the way to my house]


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

よ【夜】〔名〕<NOUN:the night>

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

…on this autumnal evening





…why is it that the moon shines so gentle and bright as to make me hopeful [that he might feel inclined to pay me a nightly visit]

《koto nara ba yami ni zo ara mashi aki no yo no nazo tsukikage no hitodanome naru》

■the moon and rain ― a bliss or a curse?■

 The moon benevolent upon lovers and nasty upon a solitary woman is hard to see for modern readers because the moon is no longer the primary guiding light at night ever since Edison invented the light bulb to deprive the modern night of total darkness. But there is one thing in Nature which has never ceased to play the part of a nasty hindrance to amorous meetings of men and women ― rain.

 Rain prevents men from coming, or from wanting to come to a woman. Even if he promised to come, he will be justified in not coming to her in pouring rain. Rain is the worst enemy to a waiting woman. When it rains outside, she feels wet inside and her sleeves get soaked in tears. Dark clouds threatening rain cloud the heart of women in love.

 The following is a story from 『伊勢物語(Ise-monogatari)』 which takes amorous advantage of such nasty rain.

『伊勢物語(Ise-monogatari)』No.107「身を知る雨(The rain to measure the depth of love)」

 Once upon a time, there was a man of noble origin called 在原業平(Ariwara-no-Narihira). He had one woman serving in his residence, to whom 藤原敏行(Fujiwara-no-Toshiyuki) working as a secretary at the Imperial Court began sending love letters. But the woman was still too young, unable to write adequately adult sentences, ignorant of witty phrases, to say nothing of rhyming out beautiful TANKA poems. That is why her master, 業平(Narihira), made a draft for her to copy and send to the man(敏行:Toshiyuki). The man was beside himself with joy when he received such a beautiful reply. Totally ecstatic, he(敏行) made a rhyme and sent it to her in reply:

《つれづれのながめにまさるなみだがは そでのみひぢてあふよしもなし:tsurezure no nagame ni masaru namida-gawa sode nomi hijite au yoshi mo nashi》徒然の(without doing anything in particular)長雨(it keeps raining for a long time)/眺め(I keep indulging in idle fancy)に増さる涙川(the river out there is full of torrential water while I stay indoors full of lonely tears)袖のみ沾ぢて逢ふ由も無し(unable to see you in this nasty rain, I do nothing but wet my sleeves with tears)

 In reply to this TANKA, the mastermind(業平) made a rhyme in the woman’s place:

《あさみこそそではひづらめなみだがは みさへながるときかばたのまむ:asami koso sode wa hizurame namida-gawa mi sae nagaru to kikaba tanomamu》浅みこそ袖は沾づらめ涙川(it is only in the shallows of the river of tears that you get wet merely on the sleeves)身さへ流ると聞かば(if I hear you say you are deep in water up to your neck on the verge of drowning carried away by love)頼まむ(only then will I start to believe your affection is true)

 The man(敏行) was more than moved by the rhyme, so much so that even today he keeps the love letter in a treasure-box, as rumor has it.

 One day, the man(敏行) wrote her a letter ― he had already had carnal knowledge of her by then ― which ran as follows:

“The sky looks threatening. Rain seems imminent. My heart is blue. If I am fortunate enough, if you really love me from the bottom of your heart, then, it will never rain, I will never be prevented from coming to your room… Imagine what kind of suspense I find myself in right now.”

 On receiving this, the master behind the woman(業平) rhymed out in her place and had it sent to the man(敏行):

《かずかずにおもひおもはずとひがたみ みをしるあめはふりぞまされる:kazukazu ni omoi omowazu toigatami mi wo shiru ame wa furi zo masareru》数々に思ひ思はず問ひ難み(“Do you or do you not love me?” ― that’s not the kind of question I can ask you in person)身を知る雨(instead of asking you, I’ll just ask this rain if you really love me or not)は降りぞ増される(it seems the answer is in the negative ― rain keeps falling down ever more heavily, preventing you from coming, drowning me alone in the raging river of tears)

 … What did the man(敏行) do? He came rushing in the torrential rain, without an umbrella, without wearing a raincoat, with nothing but his burning heart unquenched by the rain.










Having an English-speaking self within you is just like having a conversation partner like Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san beside you.
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