Big Snow in Osaka 大阪大雪

Okay, maybe it wasn’t big snow like that seen in towns along the Sea of Japan or Hokkaidô, but I was pleasantly surprised to see outside of my window upon waking up this morning heavy snow falling and about a 1/2 inch on the ground. Keep in mind that I lived in Hawaii for a few years before coming to Japan, so this my first full winter in some time. I enjoyed walking (carefully) through the snow on my way to Somemaru’s house this morning. The best part of my little journey was when I saw Somemaru’s potted plum tree covered in February snow. It reminded me of a number of classic waka poems (5-7-5-7-7 syllables in Japanese) that treat the subject. Here is a nice one from the first book of the Gosen wakashû (“Later Collection of Waka Poetry,” ca. 951):

To you my lover / I was to show the blossoms / of my flowering plum / but they are nowhere to be seen / now that snowflakes fill the air.  (GSS1:22, topic unknown. Trans. E.A. Cranston)

まぁ、日本海添えの町町や北海道で見る様は大雪ではなかったかもしれませんが、今朝起きたら、雪が降っているところを見て、地面に0.5センチくらいも積もっていて、なぜか僕はとても嬉しかったです。来日の前に数年間ハワイに住んでいたので、雪冬の経験は久しぶりでした。雪の中に(気をつけながら)歩くのがとても楽しかったです。染丸師匠の家までの小旅の一番いいところは2月の雪で覆われている師匠の鉢植えの梅の木を見た瞬間でした。梅と雪の題の和歌をいくつか思い出させられました。次のは後撰和歌集の中のものですが、僕はとても好きです。

我背子に見せむと思ひし梅の花其とも見えず雪のふれゝば

(後撰和歌集1:22、題しらず)

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