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公然わいせつ (こうぜんわいせつ) — Public Indecency

This is pretty self explanatory. 公 is the public element of this equation. Same one you find in 公衆電話 (こうしゅうでんわ) “public phone/pay phone.” What brought this one on? Well this is for what Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, primarily of SMAP boy band fame, was arrested. His condition was described as…well how about a double whammy for the word of the day:

泥酔 (でいすい) — Dead Drunk, messy drunk, etc.

泥 is literally “mud” or “mire”

酔 by process of elimination means “drunk, sickened, etc”

This is the condition the abovementioned Kusanagi was found in according to Mainichi. And now you posess the necessary vocab acumen to read the Japanese story.  Interestingly enough, the English version actually seems to have more information on the arrest, and it features a far less flattering photo of the idol. Is Mainichi doing his publicist’s job? But that may be another story altogether.

That’s right. Just as the headline says. Check it out here:

勘弁 (かんべん) — pardon/forgiveness

This is usually used along with a suru in a supplicatory manner. As in 勘弁してくれよ!– “Give me a break!” or “spare me,” or something along those lines.

恥じる (はじる) – to be ashamed/feel shame.

As in 恥じて顔を赤らめる – “Blush with shame”

Think of it as your heart (心) pumping blood to your face until your ears (耳) get red.



Moving right along in chronological order to the Kokinshu. A few from the Book of Spring.









Spring has come-quote

People say-concessive (i.e. “although”)


Not singing time


Poem on the coming of spring.

–Mibuno Tadamine

Although they say

That spring has come

Until I hear

The warbler’s song

I don’t believe their words

*An uguisu is a Japanese bush warbler, a kind of secretive songbird whose distinct mating call can be heard in early spring. I have seen it translated as nightingale, but there is a fundamental problem with this: uguisu primarily sings during the day.

*あらじ is probably the copular ari + the negative speculative particle ji. So literally something like “I think not.”

— uguisu









You-if not

To whom shall I show

Plum’s blossom

Color and fragrance

People who know, know

On sending someone a plucked plum blossom

–(Ki no) Tomonori

To whom but you

Shall I show this plum blossom

Its fragrance and its blush

You know them all too well!

* I translate 色 as “blush” because of a slight erotic connotation that iro carries, associated with this earthly world of form, in Buddhist thought. Also, apparently in the Tendai meditation manual (Makashikan 摩訶止観), 色and 香 are used to signify this world of form.

*Umenohana was also a very popular incense at the time.

So there is quite a bit of uncertainty about the meaning here. It seems that there are a number of possible interpretations. Among them: one, literal. Two, with a highly sexual connotation. Three, as a reference to incense. Perhaps there are shades of multiple ones.