Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beethoven In The Camellia Rain

Sazanka tsuyu, "rainy season of the camellia flower." There is something about this rain that is different from other rain. Maybe it's its placid persistence. Maybe it's the way it shades the colors of fall, deep bark, glowing leaves, flowers still bloom in the roots of trees. Occasionally more than a patter, but rarely an unwelcoming downpour, late November and early December sparkle under gray skies.

Andrea Kleesattel
Sazanka Tsuyu
Land of Tomorrow Blog

We know what we are
but know not what we might be
even when it rains.

Camellia flowers
have their own rain in Japan
and now that I know

I’ll think of rain here
as Camellia rain too
this time of the year.

Even when it rains
there’s one rain and another.
We know what we are

even when it rains
but know not what we might be.
Rain falling on flowers.

It's great to hear a native speaker say these things and to remind me of when to pronounce numbers in different ways depending on their context (9 is "kyu," unless it's referring to 9 o'clock in which case it's "ku, " and numerous other situations often with 6 or 8 complicit), but I'm discovering that the real fun time in the lesson, at least for me, is when Kaneko-san trails off from the exercise enough that I can hand him my sakubun, my essay. It's during this point that we get to start a long exchange of near hits and misses of understanding.

Usually the essay just talks about something from my week, or weekend, or about my daily routine. This week I wrote about the concerts that we are playing and that I like Beethoven. And with this a discovery of something common in our blood. I'm not surprised that Kaneko-san likes Beethoven. Just as I'm coming to understand Japanese more and more each week, I'm coming to understand my dear teacher, and to have some set of expectations for his behavior. When he read that we were playing the 7th Symphony he found the word in the dictionary for "nature." "Ah," I said, "Roku ban," (the sixth). He looked at me a little confused. I hummed the pastoral opening of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony and his face lit up as he exploded with excitement. "Hai, hai!" he said. I feel the same way about that melody and getting to sing it in my Japanese lesson.

It feels so satisfying to get a little closer to someone.

Andrea Kleesattel
Kaneko-san and Beethoven
Land of Tomorrow Blog

1 comment:

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