Poetic Name (Mei)
Description / source poetry
In the Shade of a Tree
'Kokage' is the cool shade of a tree – something welcome and pleasurable in the Summer months.
To the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
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.
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 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 streams. This mei evokes an image such a cool, unspoilt mountain sight.
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.
Alongside the path
Fresh water flows, and
In the willow’s shade
Just for a little while
Would I take my ease...
道の辺に / michinobe ni
清水流るる / himizu nagaruru
柳陰 / yanagi kage
しばしとてこそ / shibashi tote koso
立ちどまりつれ / tachidomaritsure
Urakaze is the sea breeze whistling through a cove, diffusing into the foot of surrounding hills.
Green Summer Grove
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.
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 Bashō:
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.
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'
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
Morning Calm at the Seaside
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;
by Adam Sōmu Wojciński 2013
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
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
Natsu no yo
夏の夜や / natsu no yo ya
崩て明し/ kuzurete akeshi
冷し物 / hiyashimono
The short summer night
At dawn has left us a feast
Of cold left-overs
- by Bashō
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.
Molted Cicada Shell
'Utsu-semi' has profond association with Buddhist ideas of emptyness and form. In Japanese, the rhythm and sound of 'utsu-semi' is related to the words:
現人 Utsu-somi 'this mortal existence'
現身 Utsu-shimi 'present existence' (this current body)
空蝉 Utsu-semi 'molted cicada shell' (emptiness and form of the Sahā world.
Chilin' on the Porch / Summer Evening Portico
Balmy summer evenings, sitting on the porch or under the eaves (en) of the house and fanning oneself with a cold drink. The colours in the sky mix with the downing sun, and you feel a slight temperature drop on your skin.