Know Your Picture Characters Entry #39

January 17th, 2011 by Wordsman

A. 卯月 B. 如月 C. 皐月 D. 水無月 E. 睦月 F. 弥生

I’ll say this: I’d let you folks be my calendar makers any day.  True, you don’t have a great track record of knowing which month is which, but it seems like you would be entirely likely to “accidentally” leave out February, and that’s okay by me.

I’m not sure why F doesn’t have the character meaning moon/month; it’s one of two in the year that doesn’t.  It is not, however, because it is the crummiest month.  That distinction belongs to B, kisaragi, which refers to changing clothes, especially when you write it like this: 衣更着.  I’m not sure what that’s about, because I don’t recall February being a month with enough climatic variation to allow clothes changing.  F is yayoi, the month of new life, which for simplicity’s sake we will call March.  Sound familiar?  That’s because it’s also the Yayoi Era from the quiz two weeks ago.  Check it out: choice F is exactly the same as last time.  Whoa.

Theoman had an interesting strategy.  April showers bring May flowers, and since he couldn’t find the character for rain he went for water instead.  Curiously, D can have two possible meanings depending on how you interpret the middle character.  If you read it for its sound, na, then this is the water month.  If you read it for its meaning, “nothingness,” then this is the month of no water.  Either way, Theoman’s plan is somewhat spoiled by the fact that the rainy season falls later in Japan than it does here.  Minazuki is the sixth month.

Now let’s check on Shirley.  She attempted to up her odds by making four guesses, but so far three of them have already been eliminated from possible correctness.  Fortunately, her last one comes in to save the day: A is April (typical Wordsman mind games at work?), the fourth month uzuki, referring to a flower of the genus Deutzia.  We’ll just assume that when you said A and B are April and May that you meant A to be April because it comes first.  Her “most attractive character” in C belongs to the fifth month, satsuki, which if you go by the old lunisolar calendar is closer to June than May, but that’s not how we’ve been grading things thus far, so it hardly seems fair to switch it up now.

The misfit this week is E (first month, mutsuki).

Same deal, second half of the year.  You know the drill.

A. 神無月 B. 霜月 C. 師走 D. 長月 E. 葉月 F. 文月

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. TheomanZero Says:

    I’m pretty sure the first character in E has to do with plants, so I’ll say it’s July (you did say the rainy season was later in Japan, so I guess the flowers come later too). Also, I’ll say C is December based partially on clear memories and partially on vague ones.

  2. Shirley Says:

    Hmmmmm. This time I can’t even get one inspiration, let alone more.
    A few comments (perhaps they will lead to the desired inspiration): there is a celebratory look about A, too much of that wassail bowl and all, but since I don’t know exactly when Christianity came to Japan, I can’t even guess if Christmas would have meant anything at all at the time the month names were devised. So no help there; there are a few characters that look like very creative television antenna, but that certainly doesn’t inspire anything, so no help there; no month character for C and no help there; one lonely fellow and a month/moon in F, no help there, so no inspiration, either.

    What to do? Punt. Dealing with December weather can be a
    challenging proposition and A looks definitely challenging to me, so Christmas or no Christmas, A is my December. The only thought that comes to me.

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