Greetings from a distant riverside

If only the poets of Chinese Antiquity had had video chat, right?


Literally: Wei river – tree – large river – cloud

Alternately: To miss, to think fondly of, or to worry about a friend who is far away. Truly a yojijukugo for our times.

Notes: This is another gift from our poetic friend Du Fu (Japanese 杜甫 = To Ho). The compound is contracted from the actual verse, which goes 渭北春天樹 / 江東日暮雲: the speaker is looking out on trees north of the Wei River, while his friend Li Bai (李白, Japanese Ri Haku) is (imagined as) watching the sunset clouds from east of the Yangtze River. Different elements of the same verse may be extracted to produce the synonymous compound 春樹暮雲 (shun ju bou un) or its flipped version 暮雲春樹 (bou un shun ju).

Alert readers may have noticed that we’ve come to ゐ (wi) in the iroha ordering, and I was relieved after significant searching to that 渭 used to have ヰ (wi) as its onyomi (Chinese-style reading) and is used as the first character of an appealing, not-too-desperately-obscure compound.

The problem is that it also turns out that the very first compound I used in this current series, 葦編三絶, also starts with a character that used to be read as ヰ. Which means that I owe you a post with a character read as い (i) even in the pre-reform orthography that used characters like ゐ (and) ゑ).

Is it a boys' love romance? Read to find out!

Why yes, there IS a pseudo-historical manga about it starring the poets as pretty boys.

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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1 Response to Greetings from a distant riverside

  1. Pingback: All roads lead to Home | landofnudotcom

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