“A shift, a change in momentum”

The Autumn Sumo Tournament is starting this weekend. I happened across these two videos, which I enjoyed and even if you don’t know much about sumo (I love that I know the names of many of these rikishi, having been a sumo fan for the past couple of years and been to two tournaments at the Kokugikan in Tokyo) you may enjoy them too.

One focuses on the rikishi coming to and leaving the tournament. There’s no speaking, just a rather beautiful audio track, and it gets us thinking about tradition and modern conveniences.

The second one focuses on what the rikishi can do after they retire, especially the less successful ones. It’s rather bittersweet. Most of the speaking is in Japanese, with English subtitles, so it’s a good chance to focus on language similarities and differences.

I really liked the attitude of the rikishi who opened a restaurant. He has no regrets, he says.

“To make the best and not to waste everything the past.”

“It’s not an end. It’s a shift, a change in momentum.”

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“I have drawn ‘spring’.”

According to this article in the Economist, the average peak-bloom date for cherry blossoms in Kyoto is getting earlier, probably because of climate change.

Here are some ukiyo-e featuring cherry blossoms with explanations in English. This is of a hanami party from the mid-19th century:

Discussion/Writing/Research questions:

  • Did you enjoy a hanami this year? Where do you think are the best places for different types of hanami (walking around type, sitting and eating/drinking type)?
  • How would you explain the word “hanami” to someone who does not speak Japanese, has never been here, and doesn’t know much about Japan?
  • Do you associate cherry blossoms more with entrance ceremonies or graduation ceremonies? If this trend continues and cherry blossoms continue to bloom earlier, what do you think will happen to this tradition?
  • In this excerpt from The Tale of Genji, it says that they celebrated the cherry blossoms in “the second month”. But they followed a different calendar in the Heian Period, didn’t they? What would that be today? Have you read Genji? What do you remember about it?

Down the rabbit hole of movie titles

This short video shows some examples of how Pixar movies are translated and adapted for international audiences. My favorite is exchanging broccoli for green peppers in the Japanese version of “Inside Out” because Japanese kids tend to dislike green peppers about as much as American kids hate broccoli. The video doesn’t mention that the Japanese title of that  movie is “Inside Head”. Which sounds to me like what they might use for the title of “Being John Malkovich”. Which is actually titled “Malkovich’s Hole” in Japan. Yikes.

Here’s a post from 2014 about movie titles and translation.

And if you haven’t guessed what “going down the rabbit hole” means from context, here’s the definition and the literary reference.