Haiku reflections on Japan

Ainu culture – some lingo – payeanro よ。。

Paye-anro, let`s go

to learn some of what makes the

Ainu people proud

Payeanro = let`s go
I have taken this from a brochure for the Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture (published in March, 2007).  That`s a mouthful of a name so let`s just call it the FRPAC in future, shall we?
I`m wording what it tells us in my own way, to avoid any difficulties later on.
This list applies mostly to place-names in Hokkaido where there are a number of place names derived from the Ainu language, which in many cases are expressed using Chinese characters, making some of them the most difficult place names to correctly read.   Hikers will loooove that.   Just kidding.  This article might be of interest to hikers or anyone else travelling around Hokkaido.
These are the ainu words for the following geographical features:
beach – ota
land – ya
sea – atuy
off-shore – rep
island – pon-mosir
estuary – pet-put
stream – pon-pet
river – pet, evident in the Japanese suffix -betsu (or nay, river and stream, in the Japanese suffix -nai)
shore – sirar
lake – to
harbour – tomari
forest – nitay
waterfall- so
cliff – pira, evident in the Japanese suffix -hira
mountain – nupuri
Other placenames include references to plant gathering, hunting, traffic routes and religion in the Ainu language.

Place names in Hokkaido and their Ainu equivalent:
Sapporo (札幌) – Sate-poro-pet

Hakodate (函館) – Ushor-Kesh

Asahikawa (旭川) – Chiu-pet

Of course Hokkaido – 北海道 – itself is Ainu-moshir ( アイヌモシリ)which if you refer to the list above seems to mean (Ainu) Waterfall (mo) Island (pon-shir without the pon) which is kinda nice.  Correct me if I`m wrong by the way but I`ll insert a little map here that I picked up while in Hokkaido, so you can see the wide range of placenames for yourselves.  You can click on the map to see more of it.

By the way, the trinket with the owl I mentioned in the last post was for dangling from your mobile phone.  What do you call those things?  It wasn`t a key-ring holder anyway.   They really like their phone trinkets in Japan, just to individualize their phones as much as possible.

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