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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

落花狼藉

らっか ろうぜき
rakka rouzeki

Are you tired of flowers yet? I hope not, cause we've got one final day of flower-related Japanese here on the Yoji. Stick with me though, cause today's definitions and usages are good ones, and not as... well, not as flowery as you might think.

You'll notice that the first two kanji in today's yoji are 落花, which means falling petals, but also means PEANUT when attached to ー生, as we mentioned in yesterday's flower trivia. If we think of this 生 in the same sense as 生まれる, what makes a peanut a "falling petal birth?" Well, apparently, the way peanuts grow is that when peaflowers get pollinated, that peanut flower's fruit turns into a nut which forces its way underground. The flowers fall, and from where they lay, new peanut flowers grow up out of the nut... unless they get harvested and eaten by Chinese people, who coined the term 落花生, albeit with a completely different pronunciation. To update yesterday's info slightly, it should be known that in Japan peanuts still in the shell are called 落花生、while peanuts that have been shucked are called ピーナツ。

Peanut explanation taken care of, let's get back to the yoji, whose second two kanji mean "wolf carpet."

Wait... what?

Definition:
花が散り乱れているようす。転じて物が入り乱れて散らかっているさま。
Translations:
1. Chaos
2. Running amok
3. Complete and utter disorder
4. Committing wanton acts of violence, especially against women.

This yoji has some fun nuances. First let's look into the whole 狼藉 thing. While this kanji compound can be used to indicate violence, outrage, riot, or confusion, it does still directly translate as "wolf carpet." Why is this?

The origin, according to the databank, is in the idea of a wolf going to bed. The ground, grass, or flowers that a wolf sleeps on might have been pristine the night before, but when he leaves the next day, it will be disturbed looking, and can you blame it? It spent the night under a wolf.

Add to this visual the idea of scattered, fallen petals, which often connote disarray in Japanese metaphor. If the wolf sleeps on these as well, then things just get crazy.

And then this yoji can also be interpreted/applied in the same direction as Monday's in the sense that, yes, women are flowers. So if the next Akihabara stabbist happens to target only women, get your ears ready: the newsmedia will go nuts with over-application of 落花狼藉.

Here's a link to a news story about an incident that involved a Japanese wolf sleeping on a bunch of women.


















No, not really.

And last, because not even I want to do another day of flowers (why couldn't we have done a wolf week?), I'm giving you this Japanese proverb that uses today's 落花.

落花枝に帰らず、破鏡再び照らさず。
らっかえだにかえらず、はきょうふたたびてらさず。
rakka eda ni kaerazu, hakyou futatabi terasazu.

The fallen flower will not return to the branch, the broken mirror will not shine again.

例文:
女性だけが乗れる車両ができたけど、痴漢の問題がまだまだ止められない。落花狼藉の犯人を掴めにくいことが現状である。
Even with the institution of women only cars, the molestation problem still hasn't been stopped. The criminals who are running amok are just so difficult to identify and apprehend.

3 comments:

Claytonian said...

落花狼藉でも、僕はやってない。

Even if there was chaos, I didn't do it.

(get the reference?)

AzzidisRidden said...

kung fu panda?

Claytonian said...

nah. Japanese movie about a guy accused of train monkey business. それでも、僕はやってない。