Early Winter・初冬

Poetic Name (Mei)

銘 

Description / source poetry


Fog-draped River

川霧

Kawagiri

As the days get colder, we see fog-draped lakes at dawn. This is caused by the temperature of the water being higher than that of the air. This scene conjures up an ethereal, otherworldly sense.

Image: @minenomatsu


Frost-bitten Leaves

霜枯

Shimogare 

In late autumn when a frost turns leaves black, the black withered leaves are referred to as ‘shimogare’.

Image: @minenomatsu


Frosted Reed

枯蘆

Kareashi 

Kare = withered; ashi = reed. ‘Kareashi’ is the seen of withered reeds. In the winter the water level of rivers reduces and the dry skeletons of reeds rustle in the cold wind.
Image: @minenomatsu


Winter Sleep

冬ごもり

Fuyugomori

'Fuyugomori' is best translated as 'hibernation' in most cases. Walking through a mountain in winter, you can imagine little animals tucked away in caves and nestled into pockets of the mountain, curled up in hibernation. Humans, too, spend much of the winter confined inside. 

Image: @minenomatsu

 


Winter Refuge

Title of the modern Icelandic poem:

Winter Refuge

 

Silent is the springlet on the heath

hidden by sallow leaves

 

every bird flew over the sea

 

The wanderer roams

bowed he threads the clifftops to the farmhouse

ans asks for winter refuge

 

his fiddle tucked in his knapsack

- Veturgrið

Image: @minenomatsu 


Frost Crystals

霧氷

Muhyō

  Muhyō (mu = fog, mist; hyō = ice) is the phenomenon of fog forming icicles on trees when the temperature drops to freezing. It can also refer to semi-translucent ice that has formed on trees and rocks. Muhyō in the  morning sunlight is especially beautiful.

Image: @minenomatsu


Silver Bamboo

銀竹

Ginchiku

‘Ginchiku’ literally means 'silver bamboo' and is a poetic description of the icicles that form from dripping water from eaves, rocks, and tree branches. In Japanese the usual word for icicle is ‘tsurara’ and written 氷柱. In the past, in summer people would place long blocks of ice in rooms of their house to cool rooms down. These were also written 氷柱 but pronounced ‘hyōchū’.

Image: @minenomatsu


Howling Palisade

虎落笛

Mogaribue 

The howling noise of the winter wind as it blows through bamboo gates and fences. 'Mogari' means bamboo fence and 'bue' means whistle. It's as if the rickety fences have been transformed into musical instruments.


Clay-cold Rouge

寒紅
Kanbeni 

In the past, kuchibeni (red lipstick) was made from the beni flower and sold in small sake cups. The kuchibeni made in cold weather was considered the best quality. The very best kuchibeni was that sold on the day of the ox in winter (nowadays the end of January in Japan). This kuchibeni was also said to prevent ulcers.


Kamado Neko 

竈猫
Kamado neko 

Kamado = cooking stove; neko = cat. ‘Kamado neko’ refers to a cat sleeping in the warmth of a cooking stove in the winter.


Wintersweet

蝋梅

Rōbai

唐梅

Karaume  

The Rōbai, also known as ‘Karaume’ is a deciduous tree shrub that blossoms in yellow flowers with a magnificent perfume in December (also know as ‘Rōgetsu’ or ‘Month of the Rōbai’ in China and Japan). The ume blossom is a relative of the Rōbai.
Image by Wiiii at Japanese Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons


Snow at Midnight

夜半の雪

Yowa no yuki

炉の炭の崩るゝ音や、夜半の雪

Ro no sumi no kuzururu oto ya, yowa no yuki

 

I hear the charcoal in the ro crumbling, while it snows at midnight


Winter Pine

寒松

Kanshō

寒 kan = cold, 松 shō = pine. Kanshō refers to the sight of evergreen pines in the depth of winter. The ‘Three friends through the cold’ are the pine that never loses its green, the tall and supple bamboo, and the ume blossom that is the first flower to bloom at winter's end. These three plants are especially revered in Japan. The evergreen pine also lives a long life, and is a symbol of longevity.
Image: @minenomatsu




Creative Commons Licence 

Adam Sōmu Wojciński, 2018 

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