2007-01-25

ハッピーロッビーバーンズデー

Speaking of poetry, today is Robbie Burns' Day, so everyone raise a pint to the lassies or the laddies, drink to their health and eat some haggis!

Here's a poem for you to recite before you chow down on your sheep innards.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

(hae = have; canna = cannot; sae = say; thankit = thanked)

Robert Burns of course wrote Auld Lang Syne and the first verse of that tune goes like this:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

(Auld = old)

The Japanese have adopted that tune and used it for a song about fireflies, 蛍の光.Hotaru no Hikari

hotaru no hikari, mado no yuki. Light of fireflies, snow by the window,
fumi yomu tsukihi, kasane tsutsu. Many suns and moons spent reading
itsushika toshi mo, sugi no towo. Years have gone by without notice
aketezo kesa ha, wakare yuku. Day has dawned; this morning, we part.

Rather than being sung on New Year's Eve though, this tune is mostly associated with graduation ceremonies. According to folklore, students used the light of fireflies and the reflection of moonlight on snow as light sources when they wanted to study at night. Therefore, the first verse is used to indicate the diligence of the graduating students. (Not my students though!)

These days, one can hear an instrumental version of this song blaring out over loud speakers as a Supermarket, Pachinko or Game Center is closing. Once that tune begins, wrap up your shopping, plink your last ball or finish taking your Print Club (プリクラ), because you're going to be kicked out in a few minutes!

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