Haiku reflections on Japan, Snapshots of Japan


Meshi, shokuji,

call it what you like but that

food is pure heaven


I just watched something the other evening called Midnight Diner・深夜食堂, the Japanese version of a Korean drama and only one series of many I am told. It’s also in full-length film format.  It’s an interesting series, with not many episodes, which makes my mouth water at the simple but delicious food the ‘master’ makes with no fuss, from midnight to dawn, as he says at the start, in a Tokyo backstreet, for the various folks who drop in.

Interestingly, his sign outside says meshi-ya which brings me to a language issue.  Meshi・飯 is a very colloquial word for meal, which sounds like it should come from meshiagaru・召し上がる, the, albeit, honorific, form of to eat though it has a different kanji and I have heard it’s only used by ‘certain’ people, like soldiers in the army – it does sound like the English word ‘mess (hall)’ after all, army lingo for the canteen where soldiers eat on a base and I do remember it being used in Japanese army-related films – or people with a limited grasp of vocabulary.  The person who told me this turned her nose up at the word and said I would look rough if I used it, but why? It’s probably the equivalent of ‘grub’ and this meshi-ya is clearly a greasy spoon-type of establishment with various tokyo-ites mulling over their issues (some of them really irritating people I have to say) and the ‘master’, who seems really well-lived and gives good advice in a taciturn way, is well-played by an actor called Kaoru Kobayashi (who shares his name with, among others, a female singer so clearly Kaoru is a unisex name in Japan).   I’d recommend it.  Anyway, I tend to use ‘grub’ a bit but if I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t look down on someone else who used it.

Speaking of learning Japanese, Memrise has got very ‘messy’ (get it?) lately and I don’t enjoy contributing to forums at the moment as certain people just don’t respond to my suggestions.   Memrise clearly has its fair share of egos and I can think of one in particular in the Japanese lot while the more polite, obliging ones seem to have given up on the forum which I am sorry to see but for which I can’t entirely blame them.

Memrise is still extremely useful though and I have long since moved onto using it to build my vernacular, including idioms, in other languages.

I haven’t been around for a while but I hope my posts have been enjoyed in the meanwhile.


Any thoughts? In haiku form or not?

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