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Friday, March 25, 2016

Godzilla, Butts And Poultry In Motion

The last panel of this Old Panel Comics by Jessica Tremblay is the English translation of a Japanese haiku by Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa 小林 一茶?, June 15, 1763 – January 5, 1828, a dude who was also a priest with the Buddhist Jōdo Shinshū sect.

While better known for his haiku rather than his priestly priestings, we can learn that he seems to have a wit about him to present poetry in a wonderfully simple light.

Here's the real Japanese version of Kobayashi-san's haiku:


If you want to read it, it says: "
yûzuki ni shiri tsunmukete oda no kari."

It really does translate to:

Aiming their butts

at the evening moon...

rice field geese.

I know... you are looking at this and going... did he really use"aiming their butts" in a haiku? How could that be something to do with nature?

Well... take a gander at this... when the geese are aiming their collective butt at the evening moon, it is a depiction of what the geese are doing when they dip their head below the water.

Their tails salute the evening moon.

As with all things where a direct translation from one language to another is used, one can end up with purple-monkey-underpants. Gibberish.

Of the over 1,000 haiku produced by Kobayashi, some 170 of 'em are related to geese.

Learning that, I obviously feel less stupid at having created so crappy Godzilla haiku in the past.

What's that you say? You want me to give you an example? How about something new, instead?

The Americans
ruin my reputation
Gojira best film

There... 18 seconds. It's a poignant take at how Hollywood has tamed the Godzilla franchise, and how the new Japanese blockbuster hitting screens later in 2016 will bring the King of the Monsters back from glamorous purgatory.  It was also written in the first person, as though Godzilla himself created the haiku.

As well, the movie monster is correctly named Gojira, the way the first Japanese movie intended... not Godzilla, as it was corrupted by the Hollywood movie version, fearing the Western tongue would be unable or unwilling to pronounce it correctly. Hollywood must have thought Americans were stupid. That's also how I can explain the last American-made Godzilla movie where the title reptile doesn't appear until some 40 minutes have passed.

A haiku is comprised of three lines to tell a story: the first and third lines are five syllables each, while the second line contains seven syllables. It should be about nature, but Godzilla is a force of nature so, it fits the bill.

To be fair, aside from the very first Gojira movie, the rest of the stuff from Japan has been worse than any haiku I could come up with in 18 seconds.

Andrew Joseph

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