A Month by any other name: June

Different names for the month of June include:

水月 (Mina Zuki, lit. “water month”), the month during which rice fields are full of water.
水無月 (Mina Zuki, lit. “water no month”), the month during which rivers run dry because of the heat.
伏月 (Fuku Getsu) The month of sanpuku (三伏). There are three fukuShofuku (初伏) which is the third konoe (庚) after the summer solstice, Chūfuku (中伏), the fourth konoe (庚) following the solstice, and Mappuku, the first konoe (庚) after Risshū (立秋), the traditional start of Autumn which falls on about the eighth of August. These are all tied to the traditional Chinese calendar, which divided a year into 24 solar terms. 
青水無月 (Aomina Zuki, lit. “blue water no month”), the month in which trees grow thick and water becomes clean and healthy.
季月 (Kigetsu, lit. “season month”), the month the season ends.
鳴雷月 (Narukami Zuki, lit. “roll/strike thunder month), the month in which thunder increases. Also written 鳴神月 (lit. “Roaring gods month")
常夏月 (Tokonatsu Zuki, lit. “endless summer month”) Another name for kawaradenashiko (Dianthus chinensis or China pink) is tokonatsu, which blooms from spring to mid summer.
松風月 (Matsukaze Tsuki, lit. “pine wind month”), the month when a “comfortable pine wind” blows.
風待月 (Kazemachi Zuki, lit. “wind wait month”), the month one waits for a cool breeze.




  For the past year or so I have been an unintentional fitness nut.

  It all started in spring of last year (2015) when I started getting up early, first around five, then at four-thirty, and now at about three forty-five. Why get up so goddamn early? One reason: I needed to get more writing done. 

  After the birth of my second son, my writing time dwindled considerably. Writing late until the wee hours of the morning with a bottle of rum on the table before me as I had been accustomed to doing was no longer an option. There was no guarantee that I would be able to sleep in the following morning. Writing at my office hadn't provided very positive results, either. So I took the plunge. 

  Although it wasn't easy at first--and again I had to ease into it--once I did get into the rhythm of waking before dawn and writing for two or three hours, or before one of my sons woke up, there was no going back. I was getting shit done and, best of all, I was feeling healthier.


  Because after sitting on my can and staring at my computer screen for two to three hours, I had the urge to go out and run. Anything to get the crick out of my back.

  At first I only ran about two kilometers. Then after a few weeks I ran four. Before long, I was was running about six to ten kilometers, and running on an almost daily basis regardless of the rain.

  To this, I started adding other exercises: I did push-ups in my office between classes.

 腕立て伏せ (うでたてふせ, ude tate fuse) Is that a mouthful or what? No wonder I keep forgetting how to say this in Japanese.

 ▸ do ten push-ups 


I added a rep of curls every half hour while I wrote in the morning



On a number of my jogging routes, I stopped and did sit-ups.

腹筋運動 (ふっきん うんどう, lit. "abdominal muscles exercise")

 ▸ do sit-ups


腹筋 (ふっきん)

 abdominal muscles

 ▸ 腹筋を鍛える (ふっきん を きたえる)

 develop one's abdominal muscles

 ▸ 腹筋運動を10回する

do 10 situps

鍛える (きたえる)




build … up





▸ 体を鍛える

train [build up] one's body / get (oneself) in shape

▸ 腕の筋肉を鍛える⦅つける⦆

develop one's arm muscles

▸ 精神を鍛える

discipline [train] one's mind

▸ マラソンに備え体[彼]を鍛える

train oneself [him] for the marathon

▸ 鉄を鍛えて鋼鉄にする

forge iron into steel

▸ 英語は若いころ本気で鍛えないとだめだ⦅真にマスターできない⦆

We can't truly master English, unless we really put our minds to studying it [training ourselves] when we're young. And, I also started doing pull-ups. 

懸垂運動 (けんすい うんどう)

a chin-up, a pull-up


do chin-ups


do three chin-ups


The 懸 (けん) in 懸垂 (けんすい) comes from 懸かる (かかる).

 1. Meaning: 空高く浮かぶ (lit. to float high in the sky)

▸ 夕月が東の空にかかる

The evening moon is high in the eastern sky.

 2. 賞金などが渡される (to be handed/given a prize, etc.)

▸ 最優秀作文には100万円の賞金がかかっている

A prize of one million yen is awarded for the best composition.

 The 垂 in 懸垂 means:

垂らす (たらす)

 ▸ 床に水を垂らす⦅ぽたぽた落とす⦆

 drop [(こぼす) spill] water on the floor.

 ▸ 鼻水を垂らしている

have a runny nose.

 ▸ 窓にカーテンを垂らす⦅ぶら下げる⦆

hang down a curtain over [on] the window.

 ▸ 足をだらりと垂らして桟橋の突端に座る

sit and dangle one's legs over the end of a jetty.

 ▸ ウィスキーをちょっと垂らした紅茶

tea laced with a bit of whisky.


  Before long, I started to shed the pounds, or rather the kilos, dropping from over 75kg to 66kg in about six months. When I went to buy a new pair of jeans in December of last year, I was surprised to learn that I now had a 30" waist. (For years I had been wearing 32" jeans.)

  This morning, I ran up to the Botanical Garden which is at the top of a rather steep hill. There I did fifty situps, then one hundred and sixty crunches of one sort or another. I hopped over to the pull-up bar and did five overarm pull-ups, then twenty pushups, followed by another five pull-ups, this time underarm . . . It all took less than five minutes to do.

  An old woman was sitting on a nearby bench watching me the whole time. When I picked up my dumbells and was about to continue running, she asked me how old I was.

  "I'll be fifty next month."

  "Taishita mon, ne." (Hakata-ben for "You're really something, aren't you?")

  "Chisai kodomo futari-mo oru-ken. Nagai iki sen-to ikan-bai". (Hakata-ben for "I've got two young kids. I've got to live long.")

  And with that I bowed to the octogenarian and took off running down the hill.


  The interesting thing about running in the mornings--something I honestly do not like to do, but do so fairly well--is that it has had a lot of knock-on positive effects. For one, it affects what I do the night before. If I know I'm going to go for a long run in the morning, I refrain from drinking alcohol (or drink very little). Also, I don't eat anything at all for the first three to four hours in the morning. That is, I don't eat until after I have gone running. As a result, I usually go for as many as twelve to sixteen hours a day without eating. If I have dinner at, say, six in the evening and then don't eat again fast until ten or eleven the following day, I will have fasted for seventeen hours. This more than anything, I believe, is the cause for my weightloss. 

断食 (だんじき)









絶食 (ぜっしょく)




a fast

▸ 2日間の絶食a two-day fast


fastgo without food

  So, now I tell people that if they really want to lose weight, all they have to do is start waking up at four in the morning. Easy-peasy! Nobody seems to be listening, though.  



I don't know why, but classes are referred to as koma (齣) in Japan.



 フィルムなどの】a frame

▸ コマ送りframe-by-frame playback

 【授業の区切り】a class, a course.

▸ 月曜日はふたコマ教えている I teach two classes on Monday.


The reason I looked up koma is because I heard the word akikoma (空き齣) for the first time this morning. Akikoma refers to a period during the day that is not filled with a class. I had asked a student what she felt was a waste of time. 







   Looking through my orders on amazon, I noticed that my wife had ordered the above item. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was. I couldn't even read the kanji it was written in: 三角巾. A copy and a paste, later, I learned that 巾 was pronounced kin, so 三角巾 was sankakukin. A triangle something or other.

  Well, I had figured out that much on my own.

  The Japanese version of Wikipedia explained that it was a kind of bandage.

  Now, I was really confused. 

  Scrolling through my wife's other orders, I saw that she had also purchased a new apron in the same color.


   A sankakukin, then, is a bandana. 

   Now it all made sense. 

   My wife, who has recently volunteered to help out at our boys kindergarten is on lunch duty. A few times a week, she has to help dish out lunch to some 200 children and needed a matching kerchief and apron for her new role.

  Other words with 巾 in it are:

  巾着 (kinchaku), a draw-string purse or money pouch

  巾着切り (kinchaku kiri) is a pickpocket

  巾筒 (kintō) and 茶巾 (chakin) are tools used in the tea ceremony.

  雑巾 (zōkin) is a duscloth, floorcloth, or rag.







伯父さん vs 叔父さん

   If you're like me you probably confuse the Japanese words for uncle (oji-san) and grandfather (ojii-san), aunt (oba-san) and grandmother (obaa-san) from time to time. A simple way to remember which is which is grandparents tend to have been around much longer than aunts and uncles so they should be pronounced with longer vowels.

   A much different question arises when you look at the kanji used to write oji-san (uncle). There are, I believe, three ways it: 叔父さん, 伯父さん, and 小父さん.

   Interestingly, the word oji-san comes from the last kanji combination above and means "little (小, を) father (父, ち)".

   Unlike Chinese the same word oji-san can refer to both your mother's and father's brothers, and even the husband of an oba-san, or aunt. The kanji one should use, however, differs according to the birth order of an uncle. See chart above. 

   伯父 (pronounced oji or hakufu) is used for an uncle who is an older brother of your mother or father, and 叔父 (pronounced oji or shukufu)  for younger brothers.

   小父さん (oji-san) is used for older men who are unrelated to you, such as a neighbor.

   I will comment later on the meaning of the two kanji 伯 (haku) and 叔 (shuku).


   By they way does a good job of explaining this and the difference among many other things.