Saturday, June 23, 2007

いろは Soup

While sitting at my porcelain uhh stool reading "Japan Encyclopedia" a short while ago, I ran across an interesting entry - a perfect 11th century Japanese pangram (using each letter only once). An oft seen but imperfect English pangram is "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

i ro ha ni ho he to
chi ri nu ru (w)o
wa ka yo ta re so
tsu ne na ra mu
u (w)i no o ku ya ma
ke fu ko e te
a sa ki yu me mi shi
(w)e hi mo se su n
The blossoms disperse and fall.
In our world, what lasts forever?
Rather, let us cross the distant mountains of illusion
and no longer dream vainly or give in to intoxication.
(Frederic, Louis. "Iroha." Japan Encyclopedia. Trans. Kaethe Roth. London, 2002.)

While growing up, I've often heard "i ro ha ni ho he to" uttered, but I didn't realize it actually had a meaning, a deep meaning at that! Nothing like "Junky qoph-flags vext crwd zimb," which means: An Abyssinian fly playing a Celtic violin was annoyed by trashy flags on which were the Hebrew letter qoph.
("Pangram." Wikipedia. 19 June 2007.

- Cassaendra

0 deep thoughts:

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