Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Be not Defeated by the Rain'

While watching t.v. with our 14 month old son here in Osaka, Japan; I was introduced to a remarkable piece of popular poetry. We often watch 'Nihongo de asobo' (にほんごであそぼ) , a lovely children's program, the title of which translates as 'Let's play with Japanese language'.

Today's program featured a group of children reciting a famous poem which is very popular  here in Japan.

'Ame ni mo makezu' or, 'Be not Defeated by the Rain' or, 'Not losing to the Rain' is a famous poem written by Kenji Miyazawa, a poet from the northern prefecture of Iwate in Japan who lived from 1896 to 1933. The poem was found posthumously in a small black notebook in one of the poet's trunks.

Here is some of the true "Wisdom of the East" many hunger for.
It is so simple and so common that we often overlook it.

Also, when we are surrounded by avaricious greed and materialism in all our politics and big business corporations - our so-called leaders leading us in the wrong direction - where all are working for selfish ends, directed by ignorance.

I would like to share this here and hope that reading this, especially at this special holiday season, will remind us all that what is important, what is most essential, is often invisible to the eye. Contentment in the simplicity of things is traditionally a Japanese virtue. The spirit of this poem is also seen in how civilly the Japanese reacted after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

"Greed is the undoing and ruin of (Dharma) Truth and righteousness."
                                                                                                       - The Mahabharata

ame ni mo makezu
“Not losing to the Rain”

miyazawa kenji
by Miyazawa Kenji
ame ni mo makezu
not losing to the rain

kaze ni mo makezu
not losing to the wind

yuki ni mo natsu no atsusa ni mo makenu
not losing to the snow nor to summer's heat

joubu na karada wo mochi
with a strong body

yoku wa naku
unfettered by desire

kesshite ikarazu
never losing temper

itsu mo shizuka ni waratte iru
cultivating a quiet joy

ichi nichi ni genmai yon gou to
every day four bowls of brown rice

miso to sukoshi no yasai wo tabe
miso and some vegetables to eat

arayuru koto wo
in everything

jibun wo kanjou ni irezu ni
count yourself last and put others before you

yoku mikiki shi wakari
watching and listening, and understanding

soshite wasurezu
and never forgetting

nohara no matsu no hayashi no kage no
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields

chiisa na kayabuki no koya ni ite
being in a little thatched hut

higashi ni byouki no kodomo areba
if there is a sick child to the east

itte kanbyou shite yari
going and nursing over them

nishi ni tsukareta haha areba
if there is a tired mother to the west

itte sono ine no taba wo oi
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice

minami ni shinisō na hito areba
if there is someone near death to the south

itte kowagaranakute mo ii to ii
going and saying there's no need to be afraid

kita ni kenka ya soshou ga areba
if there is a quarrel or a suit to the north

tsumaranai kara yamero to ii
telling them to leave off with such waste

hideri no toki wa namida wo nagashi
when there's drought, shedding tears of sympathy

samusa no natsu wa oro-oro aruki
when the summer's cold, wandering upset

minna ni deku-no-bō to yobare
called worthless by everyone

homerare mo sezu
without being praised

ku ni mo sarezu
without being blamed

sou iu mono ni
such a person

watashi wa naritai
I want to become


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