Poetic Name (Mei)
Description / source poetry
Green pine needle
Clear Cascade . . .
Falling into the waves
Green pine needles
清滝や / kiyotaki ya
波に散り込む / nami ni chirikomu
青松葉 / aomatsuba
Wata no hara Over the wide sea
Kogi idete mireba As I sail and look around,
Hisakata no It appears to me
Kumoi ni mago That the white waves, far away,
Okitsu shiranami Are the ever shining sky.
- by Fujiwara no Tadamichi
The tanka above by Fujiwara no Tadamichi is number 76 of the Hyakunin Isshū (anthology of 100 poems by 100 different poets). The tanka finishes with the word ‘shiranami’ or ‘white-tipped waves’ in English. The poem evokes the image of a vast ocean scenery where the white clouds blend with the white waves of the ocean. The sailor is lost in wonder of where the ocean stops and the sky starts. There is a taste of the Buddhist concept of non-duality or '無一物 mu-ichi-motsu' or '不二 fu-ni'. In the heat of summer, evoking this scene in the tearoom is very cooling.
Ariakezuki refers to the moon still visible in the sky after dawn has broken. Here is a haiku with the word in by the poet Takarai Kikaku:
ariake no The moon
tsuki ni narikeri in the dawn sky!
haha no kage Mother’s shadow
One comes to a viewpoint on a mountain climb. Suddenly, as far as the eye can see, a sea of green trees unfolds -a bout to hit their peak in mid-summer. So vast,
green and full, it's as if one catches a glimpse of nothingness.
A summer variation of the original Zen phrase 'Ginsenju' (Thousand Silver Trees), located in the Mid Winter section.
(Caravan of clouds)
A deep realisation that truth with a capital 'T' is found in nature and that our hearts can be free in nature. This is in contrast to the opression of our hearts that can happen in big cities, in societies saturated in rules and regulations an heavy-handed governments. A caravan of clouds is where one discovers our most essential existential truths and beauty.
This poetic name comes from the Czech song of the same name „Karavana mraků“ by Czech singer Karel Kryl
It is placed in the late summer chashaku names, to remind us of the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
But this poetic name can be used anytime your heart looks to the heavens, wishing to join the clouds traveling the boundless sky...
Shinnyu no tsuki
'Shinnyo' (Sanskrit: ‘tathata’ meaning 'suchness') is a Mahayana Buddhist concept that appears in the Diamond Sutra. The word is used to refer to the ultimate, unchanging reality of all phenomena. The Japanese word, has two components, "truth" (shin) and "as it is as such" (nyo). Shinnyo no tsuki is a poetic reference to the moonlight illuminating the darkness with truth.
Song of the Wind in the Pines
The following narration appears in 'Takasago', a Noh play by Zeami.
"Rejoice in the song of the wind blowing in the Paired Pines."
(aioi-no matsu, sutsusatsu no koe zo tanoshimu)
In the play, the renowed Takasago Pine is paired with the Suminoe Pine growing in distant Sumiyoshi; together they are called Aioi-no-matsu (Paired Pines). The pines represent the present and the past. Japanese poetry (waka) is celebrated in the present as it flourished in the anciente age of the Manyōshu (the Anthology of Myriad Leaves). The old man in the play notes that poetry flourishes because everything in this world, including trees and grasses, embraces the heart of poetry. He then explains that pine trees, evergreens which grow for one thousand years, are especially blessed and tells the historical story of the Takasago pine.
'Minare' means a body (mi) adapted (nare) to the flow of nature. In this case, the river grasses (kusa) adapted to the flow of water. Whether on the river bank swayed by water spray, or submerged grasses growing in the current, imagining our own bodies like these grasses, giving and taking with the incessant flow of the river, evokes cool and calm deep in our hearts.
When Cicadas Cry
In July through to early autumn, the higurashi cicada starts to cry in the evening. Haunting. Melancholy. Yumi created a work for the Melbourne Fringe titled "自然回帰 Nature is Calling : 180 seconds before the world ends". The video features the cry of higurashi cicadas.
What would you do in the 180 seconds before the world ends?
'Ao' = green/blue or unripe. 'Kaki' = persimmon.
The end to lingering summer heat is signalled by green autumn fruits. One of the much-loved autumn fruits of Japan, the Mediterranean and many other parts of the world is the persimmon.
Next-day Nectar/ Overnight Saké
'Hito' = one, 'yo' = night and 'saké' = saké (alcoholic drink). 'Hitoyozaké' is a more poetic name for 'ama-zaké' (sweet saké) a popular drink made by adding kōji to mochi-rice congee. The brew is left to ferment overnight in the summer heat. Amazake (hitoyozake) is traditionally enjoyed hot to stave off the summer heat. As perspiration evaporates from the surface of the skin, a hot beverage cools and removes excess heat via sweat to keep body temperature in check. A similar culture has grown around peppermint tea in North African and Arab countries.
From late summer to early autumn, the sound of insects buzzing in the air can be hypnotic like a rain shower.