Mid Summer・夏の半ば

Poetic Name (Mei)

銘 

Description / source poetry


In the Shade of a Tree

木陰

Kokage

'Kokage' is the cool shade of a tree – something welcome and pleasurable in the Summer months.
Image: @minenomatsu


To the Edge of the Deep Green Sea

青海原

Aounabara

Many people associate summer with the sea. ‘Aounabara’ refers to a vast expanse of ocean. This mei can refer to times one takes a moment to gaze far out to sea that stretches on an unblemished horizon. Yes, I am a Cure fan.


Water Fight

水合戦

Mizu-gassen

Some days get so hot that continuing in earnest with work or school seems absurd. I remember some days at school in Australia when the temperature was over 40°C. The teacher gave up and let us outside to have a water fight. Then we grow up and have to take a jumper to the office on a  40°C day because the air-conditioner is too cold. Perhaps the parents that complain nowadays that their children get in a water fight at school are the same ones numbed in an over air-conditioned office.

Interestingly, it is stated in the 'Roji-iri', one of the old manuscripts of the Ueda Ryū, that the samurai would not wear tabi (formal socks) in the tearoom on a hot day. Bare feet were allowed in the chashitsu. This too is unthinkable today, in a world of air-conditioned tearooms. 

I know one New York chajin who removed the lid of the mizusashi to reveal a bucket of ice nesting a cold beer for the head guest on such a hot day. 

In a world of mandatory white tabi and air-conditioned tearooms, perhaps a good water fight can remind us that chanoyu is an art that is meant to bring us into deep communion with the seasons. 


Iwashimizu 

岩清水 

Iwashimizu is a beautiful spectacle to enjoy in the mountains. It refers to the pure, cool water that flows between the gaps of large rocks. The wasabi plant naturally grows alongside such mountain steams. This mei evokes an image such a cool, unspoilt mountain sight. 
Image: @minenomatsu


Shintō song

-

Pagan song

祭囃子

Matsuribayashi

Matsuribayashi is the music one hears from the top of floats or stands at a Japanese festival. Most Japanese festivals are held in order to pray and give thanks to agricultural deities for good crops. When praying to such deities, the music of the whole festivals has a central role. ‘Hayashi’ (festival music) provides a great means for worshiping, revering and asking prosperity from the gods. Upon hearing this mei, one can think of their precious festival memories and the joy of such occasions.


Sea Breeze

浦風

Urakaze

Urakaze is the sea breeze whistling through a cove, diffusing into the foot of surrounding hills. 


Green Summer Grove

夏木立

Natsukodachi

Natsukodachi is the lush green cluster of trees you see in a summer park or forest. The breeze in lush growth gives a welcome cool relief in the middle of summer.


Cloud Peaks

雲の峰

Kumo no mine

'Kumo no mine' is a cloud formation you see in summer. 'Kumo no mine' means 'mountain-peak clouds'. Here's a haiku by Basho:

 

Cooling lake breezes

Above, brilliant red cloud peaks

Lament today's heat

 

- translation by Sōmu Wojciński

 

The image in the haiku is  one of cool evening breezes blowing in from a lake, and the breezes are giving the subject relief from the heat of the day. Yet overhead still linger stunning clouds like mountain peaks - the day's heat still suggested in the ferocious red colour of the setting sun kissing the cloud peaks.  
Image: @minenomatsu


Cool Respite

涼一味 

Ryōichimi

Ryōichimi is a word that expresses the feeling of cool with the five senses and the desire to create a cool environment for guests during the hot summer months. In the Nanbō Roku, a text that records Rikyū’s key teachings, are the words: ‘Create a feeling of cool in summer, a feeling of warm in winter’. The tearoom in the middle of summer is a place to pursue ryōichimi for the five senses, a place to offer your guests a sanctuary of cool away from the heat. 

Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing


Stretching

Afternoon Shadows

片蔭

Katakage

As a summer day draws into the afternoon, the hot sun lowers in the sky and creates long shadows from the trees, houses and fences. As the shadows grow longer and longer with the day, people change their path to walk out of the sun and in the cool shadows.
Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu


Morning Calm at the Seaside

朝凪

Asanagi

Summer mornings on the seashore, the wind blowing out to sea from land changes to the wind blowing in from the ocean. For a few moments during this change of the direction of the wind, the wind seems to stop entirely. This is 'Asanagi' - the morning calm. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing

 

Lo, the morning clam!

In a veil of ocean mist;

Tadanoumi.

 

朝凪や

霞にこもる

忠の海

 

by Adam Sōmu Wojciński 2013


Welcomed Rain

喜雨

Kiu

After a long period of hot weather when our surrounds have become dry and withered, after long last we are blessed with good rainfall. This is 'Kiu'. 喜 Ki =happines, joy 雨 u = rainfall. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu


Evening Downpour

驟雨・白雨
Shyu-u・Haku-u

Shyu-u is the sudden, heavy rain that falls in summer evenings. 'Yuudachi' is another common word for the phenomenon. A term that includes 'Haku-u' is 'Kokufuu Haku-u' or 'Black wind, white rain'. It is used to describe a downpour with strong winds. Reference: 'Chanoyu Kisetsu no Kotoba' Tankosha Publishing
Image: @minenomatsu


Summer Night

夏の夜

Natsu no yo

natsu no yo ya

kuzurete akeshi

hiyashimono 

 

The short summer night

At dawn has left us a feast

Of cold left-overs

- by Basho 

 

The balmy summer evenings feel so great we find ourselves enjoying the mild weather until late. The bright moon floats in the black sky – a few degrees cooler than the day. At dawn you wake to a cool house and busily make use of the few hours of light before the day's heat.
Image: @minenomatsu




Creative Commons Licence 

Adam Sōmu Wojciński, 2018 

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