All the feels, all the grudges


Literally: many – emotion – many – regret / resentment / hatred

Alternately: Easily swayed by one’s emotions, and therefore prone to resentment or sadness. Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve, and suffering as a result.

Amazon dot Jay pea!

Also the title of a story by Ozaki Kouyou, a Meiji-era writer and mentor of Izumi Kyouka, whom I’m actually researching right now.

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Magic Monday – An enchantment to evade entropy

Sign of the Maintainer

The Maintainer is one of a quintumvirate of deities worshiped in the Slakiv heartlands: the Shaper, the Destroyer, the Corrupter, the Renewer, and the Maintainer. The Five are believed to be personifications of the natural processes after which they are maintained, and while they receive little organized or abstract worship, they are routinely invoked for everyday activities.

This Sign is a charm common across Vestan, for it is thought to protect possessions from the ravages of time. In its simplest form, it may be scratched into the underside of a table etched into a bronze statue. The Sign may be found drawn on the first page of a book and beautifully illuminated, or cut into the bottom of Folon’s famous glazed pottery. It may be found on mosaics and tapestries, silver and glass, tools and artwork, old things and new. In any case, the sign must be worked into the object it protects, and invested with some of the maker’s power. The duration of its effectiveness can range from a few months to decades, depending on medium, craftsmanship, environment, and other factors.

Working this Sign into an item is a ritual of base difficulty d4, but incorporating it increases the difficulty of the item’s crafting by a step as well. During its creation, the artisan takes some amount of both strain and fatigue, and thereafter the Sign increases the object’s hit points by an equal amount, and adds a single point each of absorption and deflection to its defenses and saves.

(Note: the mechanical aspect of this spell may be changed later as YAOSC is developed, if I replace or supplement “item hit points” with a “quality/condition” system, which is something I’ve considered.)

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Don’t bee sad!

(Nakitsura ni hachi; “A wasp in a crying face”)


It never rains but it pours. Bad things happen in groups, not in isolation. Misfortune compounded on top of further misfortune. A wasp flying into the face of someone who’s already been through enough that they’re crying. Some sources connect the puffiness of face that comes from crying hard to the swelling of a bee or wasp sting; others merely discuss the compounding of bad luck.


We begin with the verb 泣く (naku), “to cry,” in prenominal form (連体形). Naturally, this is prefixed to the noun (tsura), “face.” This is marked by the directional/positional particle (ni), and finally the noun (hachi), “bee” or “wasp.” The final verb is elided or assumed, and thus the exact function of is not precisely pinned down; this doesn’t present any obstacle to understanding, though.


Some versions add an emphatic sound shift, changing 泣き面 to 泣き(nakittsura).

This saying is the entry in the Edo Iroha karuta set.

Japan is home to some truly terrifying wasps.

Example sentence:

そして落ちていた買物袋に足が引っかかって、転んで、肘まで打った」 「わああ、正に泣きっ面に蜂ですね!」

(“…Soshite ochiteita kaimonobukuro ni ashi ga hikkakatte, koronde, hiji made utta.” “Waaa, masa ni nakittsura ni hachi desu ne!”)

[“…And then my foot got caught on the shopping bag I had dropped, and I fell and hit my elbow too.” “Wow, that’s exactly what they mean by ‘It never rains but it pours‘!”]

Japanese Giant Hornet

That’s a hand, not a face… but you know what? Close enough! Far too close, in fact! [Source]

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Literally: electricity – light – stone – fire

Alternately: A very short span of time. Alternately, incredible speed of motion. “Lightning-flash and sparks (struck from a stone),” as examples of things that happen quickly.

Notes: The parts can also be given in reverse order, 石火電光 (sekka-denkou). Apparently some people write sekka as 石下 (stone – down), but this loses the meaning of sparks and is an error.

O ki no mesu mama ni yakareta mono de gozaru

So all the top results of the image search were for this oddly hamburger-shaped okonomiyaki. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation somewhere.

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Magic Monday – A use for a pixie-crown

Happy-sky Charm

By weaving long grasses, red or yellow flowers picked in sunlight, blue flowers picked in moonlight, and white flowers picked in starlight into a closed loop, a charm is created that is said to improve the wearer’s luck. The charm must be worn continuously for a period to attune it with the wearer’s personal resonance, whether as a bracelet, crown, or other decoration. The acts of creating the charm, of putting it on to begin attunement, and calling upon its powers each require a ritual and invocation. Of course, there are many similar charms from a variety of cultures that will grant a similar luck, but only one will have an effect at a given time.

The base difficulty of creating the charm is d4, and during the attunement the wearer gains a point of strain that cannot be removed. One the charm has been activated, while it is worn it allows the bearer to re-roll one check each day. The benefits last one day for each hour spent attuning to the charm, up to a year and a day.

Man with flower beard

Whatever works for you, really. Source. Because of course.

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Not at all like Pi Day plus Shemini Atzeret

Well, a new semester is starting! My wife’s gotten into grad school, and I’ll be writing my thesis and doing a translation project and taking a course or two, and we have a one-year-old kid. Whee!

(Bon to Shougatsu ga issho ni kita you;
“As if Bon and the New Year came together”)


A lot of good things happening all at once. An insanely busy time. The Bon festival is a big holiday with aspects of Halloween and Thanksgiving (it honors the spirits of the dead; it’s a time when many people travel to visit their families), which means good share of both celebration and work – especially if you’re a festival organizer or plan to participate in one of the dances. New Year’s Eve and Day are also a festival time, with large family meals and dressed-up visits to Shinto shrines. If they both happened at the same time, well….


(bon) is literally a tray, as in 盆栽 (bonsai). Here, though, it refers to the Bon – or Obon, with the honorific – festival. Next is the particle (to, pronounced “toe”), which has a few disparate functions, but in this case is used to collect multiple nouns into a single group, equivalent to the English “and.” It joins to 正月 (shougatsu), literally “correct month” but more commonly referring to the New Year, or to the first three days of the new year.

The grouping of proper nouns above is connected to a following verb phrase by the subject-marker particle (ga). Before the verb we get the adverbial phrase 一緒に (issho ni), “together,” comprising noun 一緒 and particle , which is here simply to convert the noun into an adverb. (This is the same as being attached to allow certain nouns to act as adjectives.) The verb part is 来る (kuru), “to come.” The form it takes here is commonly taught as simple past in plain (as opposed to polite) speech, but is perhaps more properly described as denoting that an action has been completed.

Finally, the よう (you; rhymes with “dough”) at the end is an auxiliary verb that marks the whole saying as supposition rather than fact – “as if,” in English.


一緒に can be replaced by 一時に (ichiji ni, “at one time” – as in time the dimension) or 一度に (ichido ni, also “at one time” – as in the counter word for number of occurrences) without any significant change in meaning. Some people apparently replace 正月 with the more general 祭り (matsuri, “festival”), although I prefer the specific over the generic version.

Example sentence:


(“Ano kazoku wa, rokunin kyoudai de minna shigatsu umare rashii. Baasudee paatii wa, Bon to Shougatsu ga issho ni kita you na kibun darou na.”)

[“There are six kids in that family and apparently they were all born in April. The birthday parties must feel like the New Year and Bon festival coming at the same time.”]

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I didn’t think so.


Literally: strange – thought – heavens – outside

Alternately: A truly bizarre idea. Something fantastical, novel, unique, unthinkable. A violation of common sense or standard thinking.

Notes: In contemporary America, in which novelty is highly valued – perhaps even above elements such as style and workmanship – and things can be “so crazy they just might work,” this might seem to be a phrase of high praise. It is not. (It’s not that bad either; it just may not be as positive as you think it is.)


I nearly went with an un-captioned picture of Vizzini giving more of a sly grin, but this version seems less obscure. …Yes, I’m aware of the spelling error. What can you do.

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