Mid-Spring・春の半ば

Poetic Name (Mei)

銘 

Description / source poetry


Dawn Warblers

百千鳥

Momochidori

百 'momo' = many 千鳥 'chidori' = generic for small bird species

At the break of a spring morning, just as the skies begin to grow light, seemingly hundreds of small birds break out into song. This boisterous song of the birds at spring daybreak is referred to as 'Momochidori'. In the Heian and Muromachi periods the 'Uguisu' Bush Warbler was the bird referred to with this word, however now it is used generically to refer to the song of all birds at daybreak.

Image: @minenomatsu


Spring Youth Verdure 

若葉の緑

Wakaba no midori

This poetic name sounds especially beautiful in its original seven syllable Japanese form. The English translation also contains five syllables making it convenient for use in waka/tanka poetry. This poetic name beautifully elucidates the vibrant colour and aura of young foliage. 

Image: @minenomatsu


Mountain Haze

山霞

Yamagasumi

山霞 / Yama kasumi

 みの山の / minoyama no

みねにおいたる / mine ni oitaru

たまがしわ / tamagashi wa

くもかとみえしは / kumo ka to mieshiwa

かすみなりけり / kasumi narikeri

 

正三位千種有功 / Shōsani Chigusa Arikoto

 

Mountain Haze

The emperor oaks

observing from the lush green

peak of Mount Mino

Disguise themselves as spring clouds

Veiled in sun and mountain haze 

 

Senior Grade of Third Court Rank, Chigusa Arikoto

 

Image: @minenomatsu


Fresh Verdure

新緑

Shinroku

Shinroku refers to the return of foliage to deciduous trees. Now is the season when the groves of trees in parks and our surrounds are at their best. New foliage appears and fresh shades of green, yellow and red cover the brown, leafless branches of the winter. In Japan, the pale pink of mountain cherry blossom trees also adds to the beautiful array of soft colours.

Image: @minenomatsu


Grass Whistle

Gum-leaf Whistle

草笛

Kusabue

When the fields become lush with grass, sometimes you can see young ones (and those still young at heart) playing grass whistles. Or in Australia, a gum leaf is also used as a whistle. Now days, children spend the majority of their playing time inside. But running about in the warm, lush grasses of late spring and crafting interesting things with nature is a cherished image in our hearts.

Image: @minenomatsu


Verdure Tempest

青嵐

Aoarashi

Aoarashi is a word that has an image of cool and refreshing breezes and lush late-spring greenery. Added to this is the sublime beauty of untamed nature swaying violently in the spring winds. Being touched by the breezes from fragrant, lush greenery, one feels as though the things lying heavy in one's heart are uplifted and cleansed, and one's entire spirit is refreshed. The aoarashi breezes purify you and fill you with the sublime energy of life.
Image: @minenomatsu


Pilgrim's Trail

遍路道

Henromichi 

In spring, people can be seen making pilgrimages to sacred places. Dressed in white, they chime bells at times of prayer. The smell of the fresh spring soil rises on the pilgrim’s track (henromichi). You might ponder who has offered pretty wildflowers for the stone Jizō statues that look over pilgrims on their journey. “Henromichi” means “pilgrim’s trail” and saying this mei brings to mind all the beautiful experiences of nature and the feelings of devotion on one’s journey.
Image: @minenomatsu


Sweet Tea

Sweet Rain

甘茶

Amacha

甘露

Amazuyu

Amacha is a Japanese herbal tea made from fermented leaves of Hydrangea macrophylia. This tea contains phyllodulcin, a sweetener 400-800 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) or 2 times sweeter than saccharin.

This tea is used in ceremonies celebrating Buddha's Birthday, in Japanese Buddhism on April 8. Amacha is poured on small Buddha statues decorated with flowers, symbolic of the sweet rain said to have fallen after the Buddha's birth. This is not an act of worship; it is an expression of gratitude for the teachings of Buddha brought forth.

 

Siddharta Gautama was born approximately 2,560 years ago near the present border between India and Nepal. His father, King Suddhodana of the warrior Shakya clan, ruled a small bur prosperous kigdom during a time of peace. His mother, Queen Mahamaya, had a dream prior to his birth. A white elephant, symbolic of a deity, told her that she would bear a son who would become a buddha, an enlighted one. As the birth neared, Queen Mahamaya, following the custom of the time, began her journey to her parent's home. As her party passed Lumbini's Garden she stopped to rest among the beautiful flowers. Unexpectedly, she went into labor and her son was born. Legend says he emerged from her side, took seven steps, and proclaimed, "Abobe the heavens and below the heavens I alone am most noble." This is "the birth cry of the Buddha." All creatures rejoiced and a sweet rain began to fall. With no reason to continue the journey, Queen Mahamaya returned to the castle. Sadly, she died seven days later. This too fulfilled a then current belief that the mother of a buddha died seven days after his birth.


Wisteria Wave

藤浪

Fuji-nami 

In mid to late Spring, glorious purple waves of wisteria hand drunk in their own perfume and dance in warm zephyrs. This tipsy dance of floral majesty is referred to as Fuji-nami ('Wisteria wave').

Image: @minenomatsu