10/12/2010

Earthworm (mimizu) and mole cricket

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Earthworm (mimizu) and mole crickets (kera)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Animal


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Explanation


kigo for all summer

mimizu ミミズ 蚯蚓 (みみず)  earthworm
きゅういん kyuuin

shima mimizu 縞蚯蚓(しまみみず)Eisenia foetida
(about 6 to 18 cm long)

mimizu izu 蚯蚓出づ(みみずいづ)earthworms coming out




The word seems to come from the expression

me ga mienai, me mizu 目見ず ... turned mimizu
(meaning : its eyes can not see)


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mimizu naku 蚯蚓鳴く( みみずなく)
mole-cricket singing

lit "earthworms singing", "earthworms' song"

kigo for all autumn


This kigo lends itself to misundrestanding when translated literally. It refers to the sounds coming from insects on the earth (as opposed to the birds in the sky or the many four-legged animals.)
The verb naku can also be translated variously when used in conection with the sounds that animals make, see the link below for "Voices of animals".


In this kigo, it is NOT the earthworm, but most probably
the mole-cricket making a sound.


Gryllotalpa orientalis ケラ(螻蛄)kera
kera kigo see below

Mole crickets in the WIKIPEDIA !

CLICK for more photos


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. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 Issa in Edo .


古犬や蚯蚓の唄にかんじ顔
furu inu ya mimizu no uta ni kanji-gao

the old dog
looks as if he is listening...
a mole crickets song

Tr. Gabi Greve

... ... ...

Other translations of the old dog haiku are:

Sam Hamill:
The old dog listens
intently, as if to the
work songs of worms



Blyth:
The aged dog
Seems impressed with the sound
Of the earthworms.



Hass:
The old dog--
listening for the songs
of earthworms?


Read a short discussion about this haiku
Larry Bole, SimplyHaiku Forum  


... ... ...


Back to Issa and his earthworm haiku:

細る也蚯蚓の唄も一夜づつ
hosoru nari mimizu no uta mo hito ya-zutsu

the earthworms' song
grows thinner...
night by night


其声のさっても若い蚯蚓哉

sono koe no satte mo wakai mimizu kana

that voice
he's a young one...
earthworm


夜々や涼しい連に鳴蚯蚓

yoru-yoru ya suzushii tsure ni naku mimizu

night after night
accompanying the coolness...
earthworms sing



One Japanese saijiki, a book of season words with examples, says the following about the expression
"earthworms sing" (mimizu naku):
"Earthworms don't sing. On autumn evenings, when one says one is hearing the 'jii-jii' song of earthworms, in fact they are referring to mole-crickets"; Kiyose (Tokyo: Kakugawa Shoten, 1984) 296.
Shinji Ogawa notes, in modern usage, the expression can refer to any
"unknown bugs" singing in the autumn.

More haiku by Issa about the Earthworm Song
Tr. by David Lanoue



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蚯蚓鳴くや土の達磨はもとの土
mimizu naku ya tsuchi no daruma wa moto no tsuchi

a mole cricket's song -
a Daruma from earth
goes back to earth

Tr. Gabi Greve

. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 - Matsuyama .




Tsuchidaruma o kobotsuji 土達磨を毀つ辞
正岡子規

. Tsuchidaruma 土達磨 and Masaoka Shiki .


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蚯蚓鳴く六波羅蜜寺しんのやみ
mimizu naku Rokuharamitsu-ji shin no yami


voices of earthworms -
temple Rokuharamitsu
completely dark

Kawabata Bosha (1897 - 1941)


Rokuharamitsuji 六波羅密寺 in Kyoto
and saint Kuya Shonin 空也上人


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source : shiguresha.com


kigo for all summer

kera 螻蛄 (けら) mole cricket
..... okera おけら
Gryllotalpa orientalis, Gryllota alpidae. Maulwurfsgrille


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kigo for all autumn

kera naku 螻蛄鳴く (けらなく) mole cricket singing
..... okera naku おけら鳴く(おけらなく)
The one introduced as mimizu naku above.



jimushi naku 地虫鳴く (じむしなく)
"earth insect singing"

..... sukumomushi すくもむし
it sound is jii jii to the Japanese ear.


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Other "worms" as kigo

kigo for all summer

yotoo 夜盗虫 (よとう) armyworm, cutworm
..... yatoo やとう
lit. "night stealing worm"
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


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Worldwide use

Regenwurm
Maulwurfsgrille

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In Europe
the mole cricket is singing in spring
and is seen flying around in summer.

spring meadow -
a mole cricket's song comes
from the earth

dusk above the river --
a mole cricket flies off from
the angler's can



The anglers use the mole crickets as the best baits for the fish, and they put the poor mole crickets on their angles. But in the Summer the mole crickets have the wings and they could escape as this one did from the angler's can.

Tomislav Maretic, Croatia


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Things found on the way


Hailing the sensual night crawler
By HIROAKI SATO

EAST WIND MELTS THE ICE:
A Memoir through the Seasons, by Liza Dalby.
University of California Press, 2007,

"Earthworms twist" — "Prunella flourishes" —
"Load up fertilizers" — "Moss glows green."

What are these?

Well, in ancient China, around the time of Confucius, the notion took hold that the ruler must honor seasonal change exactly or else he would court disaster. The Chinese in those days (if not now) perceived subtle but vital shifts in the air, water, and earth every five days, so that became the minimal seasonal division (hou). A total of 72 such divisions, then, made up the whole year, by solar reckoning.

By the time of the father of the First Chinese Emperor (259-210 B.C.), each such division had acquired a succinct phrase describing the most notable phenomenon: "east wind melts the ice," "fish jump out of the cracks of the ice," "the otter offers prayers to the fish" (before devouring it), and so forth. So, the phrase "earthworms twist" (to turn themselves into knots deep in the earth) pointed to the five-day period of the winter solstice.

In the second half of the 17th century, when the Japanese decided to adopt the 72 calendar divisions, they saw that their clime was somewhat at variance with China's. So they modified many of the phrases, among them "earthworms twist." Japan has similar critters, yes, but the calendar adopters, all desk-bound scholars unable to imagine what these worms did underground perhaps, replaced it with "Prunella flourishes." Later, in one of a number of modern variations it became "Load up fertilizers."

Then, Liza Dalby, the American anthropologist-cum-gardener, worked out a whole new set of 72 descriptions for Berkeley, California, where she has lived for quite some time. As a result, you have "moss glows green" as the most distinguishing natural shift in today's Berkeley for the 5-day period in December where ancient Chinese saw "earthworms twist."
snip
Since she studied geisha in Kyoto for her Ph.D. thesis in the 1970s, she has often visited that country. The first time she went back for further study, it was to a tiny island in the Inland Sea. The eldest son of the family that took her in turned out to be a night crawler — no, not one of those "big, baitworthy, nocturnally active earthworms," but a practitioner of yobai, "night-crawling" — a young man sneaking into the room of a girl unspoken for, on all fours, we imagine, in the darkness of night. It is an ancient custom in Japan. It is first described in Japan's oldest extant book, the "Kojiki," compiled in 710. Prince Okuninushi yobau Princess Nunakawa.
snip
Naturally, she and he ended up spending "a large part of the following six months together, some of which was music lessons." And he taught her "a lot of intimate Japanese language during this time, including the best phrase for female orgasm I have ever come across:" mimizu-senbiki, a thousand earthworms. "The quaking and wriggling of a thousand worms twisting together. Exactly."
snip

Now, if you think of earthworms and seasonal change with a Japanese perspective in mind, you can't help noticing
the haiku term, mimizu naku, "earthworms sing."
Do they? Dalby thought that was a mere haiku conceit, until she came upon C. Merker. The German naturalist avowed that they do, in chorus, and he could actually hear them. So, worms are blessed with both copulatory and choral abilities. No wonder Dalby exclaims, "like Cleopatra, I worship worms."
source : Japan Times, April 2008

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and now to C. Merker

Night crawlers
More surprising still is his report that a German researcher, C. Merker, writing in the 1940's, astounded fellow scientists by asserting that earthworms have voices, and can actually sing, their faint sound being "rarely in a solo number, but generally in series marked by a definity and changing rhythm."

Dr. Merker claimed to be able to hear the sounds when within twelve feet of the worms, sounds produced not by chance but by the deliberate opening and closing of the earthworms' mouths.

How this could be, when earthworms have no lungs - breathing through the whole surface of their skin, moistened to dissolve oxygen, which is pumped through the bloodstream by five sets of double hearts in rings or segments close to the head - is all the more amazing.
source : www.microsoil.com


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Related words

***** . Voices of animals in Haiku


***** 72 calendar divisions
. . 72 seasonal points (shichinuniko 七十二候) as KIGO  
72 seasonal spells

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. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

Sometimes people are bewitched by a fox, badger or a Tengu.
They begin to eat earthworms thinking they are buckwheat noodles or Udon noodles and run round and round in the mountains.
Children lost in the forest for some time also tell about "eating noodles" while holding an earthworm in the hand when they are found, not starving in the woods.
. soba 蕎麦 伝説 Legends about buckwheat .

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oomimizu 大蚯蚓 / オオミミズ large earthworm

In the Tanba region of 兵庫県 Hyogo
there lived a huge earthworm of more than 1丈 (about 3 meters).
There had been a period of long rain and large mudslides, so the earthworms thrived. Another one must have been at least 4 meters, and another one maybe six meters !!

Near the Kumano Hongu Shrine of 和歌山県 Wakayama
the earthworm is called 加夫羅太伊 (カフラタイ) Kafuratai.
A man named 新兵衛 Shinbei from Hongu village once went to 大瀬山 Oseyama to cut wood. Suddenly he heared a strange voice and when he looked closer, he saw many huge earthworms of more than one meter long. His son caught them in a Bonito trap and carried them home, where they made a fire and burned them to prevent more harm.

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In many parts of Japan there are tales about 小便 peeing on an earthworm, which causes swelling of the penis. Therefore before peeing outside, men should spit on the place and thus inform the earthworms of their deed.
And if they peed on it by accident, they had to wash it carefully with clean water to avoid problems.


source : kabukumono
No peeing here !
赤い鳥居と立ち小便厳禁、蚯蚓に小便をかける...
These kinds of signs were quite common in the past.

If you pee on an earthworm, there will be a "punishment of the Gods" 神罰.

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Sometimes a woman gives earthworms to a blind relative,
telling them its Udon or Soba noodles.

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Sometimes a serpent shape-shifts into an earthworm (or vice-versa)
to make mischief in a village.

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In 青森県 Akita around Towada
if children throw a tantrum (kan no mushi), the mother has to make a tea with
tamakura mimizu タマクラミミズ, a large earthworm, to cure the child.

. kan no mushi 疳の虫 "insect of short-temperedness" .

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In 広島県 Hiroshima
a Samurai once wanted to shoot a pheasant which had just eaten a frog that had just eaten an earthworm. "Maybe someday my own life will be in peril" the Samurai thought and did not shoot after all.
Suddenly he heard a voice shouting
ee ian, ee ian エー思案、エー思案 "that is a good consideration".
When he looked back, he saw
hitotsume oonyuudo 一つ目の大入道 the Yokai Onyudo with one Eye
coming after him, so he fled as fast as he could.

. Oonyuudoo 大入道 O-Nyudo Monster .

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In 神奈川県 Kanagawa
sometimes people hear ミミズの歌う唄 an earthworm singing in the woods and a 鯉 carp is there dancing to the music. So the young folk of the village planned to go for an outing to watch the scene. But on that night there was no song and no carp dancing.
On the way back they saw a group of people carrying their wives in palanquins and they run fast for bewilderment. But in the end they realized they had been bewitched by a fox or badger.


In the Hata district of 高知県 Kochi
if the pee of an earthworm hits the eye, you will become blind.
And if a man pees on an earthworm, his penis will be swelling.
The child of 酒井玉喜 Sakai Tamaki once had a swollen penis. To heal it they caught an earthworm and while counting the years of the child washed it carefully in water. Then the earthworm was let free in the fields and the child was cured.

In 奥武山Onoyama of Okinawa
once an earthworm begun to cry loudly because he feared the earth of the place would disappear. Then he heard in the local animal grape-wine from a poisonous snake (habu ハブ) that on the other side on the beach there was much better earth and begun to move there. This is how earthworms begun to settle all over Okinava.

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If people in the Ina district of 長野県 Nagano catch a mole cricket, they chant this spell, rub their hands and hope for something interesting to happen:

おけらおけらおてんとう様おがめ
o-kera o-kera o-tentoosama ogame

honorable mole cricket, mole cricket,
now you can pray to the sun !


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- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -

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source : homepage2.nifty.com/ukiyo-e
mimizu no tenjoo 蚓(みみず)の天上 an earthworm goes to Heaven
This is just the moment when the earthworm turns into a dragon.
The earthworm was supposed to be the bait of an angler but . . .

From a collection of Hokusai Manga 北斎漫画十二編図(江戸摺)

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- #mimizu #earthworm -
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a blackbird tilts
its head listening to
the earthworm's song

Tomislav Maretic

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