Himekuri Calendar 日めくりカレンダー

Last year Somemaru taught me all kinds of things.

In addition to rakugo he also taught me about art, history, geography, cuisine, Japanese dress, Japanese language, not to mention much more.

A couple things he taught me about I failed to grasp, however, such as the jikkan (Ten Heavenly Stems) and jûnishi (Twelve Earthly Branches) of the sexagenary cycle, and how time was told in the Edo Period (e.g., the third “hour” of the Snake = 10 a.m.).

I got a great present for Christmas this year; a Japanese tear-away calendar. I’ve seen them in movies and local restaurants in the past, but this is the first time I’ve had my own. These tear-away calendars are really useful. In addition to the date, they hold all kinds of information. Things like “January 1, Monday (Dec. 16 on the Lunar calendar) Coming of Age Day,” and even the daily adages such as “Stars reveal the night without toil” (Kai naki hoshi ga yoru o askasu) are easy enough to comprehend, but how about things like “Mutsuki (month of affection), Hatsumi (the first snake), Tsuchi no to mi (second [to/yang] earth snake), Nijûhasshuku ki (Ki [“Roof Top,” or Alpha Aquarius/Pegasus] of the 28 Chinese Constellations)… (sigh) Pretty tough. But, looking at a calendar such as this one day in and day out and not knowing, it’s frustrating to say the least.

And that’s when I remembered Somemaru’s lesson on the jikkan and juunishi last year, that it certainly has something to do with all of this on my new calendar. I figured it was time to revisit what he taught me. Also, as Somemaru said before, knowledge of these things will be useful in comprehending older rakugo stories.

I still have much to learn, and “calculations” still take more time than I’d like, but I think I’m gradually getting it. Old wisdom is something else.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, hey what time is it?

Huh, it’s 5.

6, 7, 8, 9… ¹





Image property of http://keisan.casio.jpそれで、去年師匠が教えてくださった十干十二支を思い出して、とても関係していることに気づき、もう一度勉強しなおさないといけないと思いました。師匠が言ってくださったように、落語の古い噺を理解するには、この知識はとても役立ちますし。





¹ These are the final lines of the rakugo story Toki udon (Time Noodles), in which a cheapskate customer tries to confuse the noodle vendor by asking the time as he’s counting out coins to pay with. As we can see, the plan backfires.


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