茶の湯 in サンフランシスコ ・ Japanese Tea Ceremony を San Franciscoで

表千家四方社中の茶の湯ブログ Japanese Tea Ceremony Blog for Shikata Shachu – Omotesenke

瀧・Waterfall

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こちらの短冊は小原藍石(こばららんせき)師のお手によるものです。サンフランシスコでは著名な書家で、奥様は裏千家茶道の先生です。

The calligraphy on this tanzaku (短冊、a decorative strip of paper) is by Ranseki Kobara, who is a renowned calligrapher in San Francisco.  His wife is a Urasenke tea teacher.

「瀧の音無限にひびく」とあります。日本語の分からない生徒さん達のために、一人の生徒さんは「The sound of the waterfall echoes in infinity」としました。面白いことにもう一人の生徒さんは「The sound of the waterfall echoes without boundary」と解釈しました。

It reads: “taki no oto mugen ni hibiku.”  When one student translated for students who do not speak Japanese, he translated: “The sound of the waterfall echoes in infinity.”  Another student, interestingly, read it as: “The sound of the waterfall echoes without boundary.

「無限」を「infinity」としてとらえると、これは「時間の経過に関わらず瀧の音が永遠に響き続ける」という読みになります。「無限」を「without boundary」としてとらえると、これは「遠近に関わらず瀧の音があちらこちらで聞こえる」という読みになりしょう。日本語ではこの時間的要素と空間的要素を両方意図していたのでしょうか。もしそうだとすると、英語はあいまいさを嫌う西洋言語ですからこのように解釈に違いが出てしまうのは仕方がないのでしょう。

If you see “mugen” (無限) as “infinity,” then the interpretation is that the sound of the waterfall continues to echo in perpetuity despite the passage of time.  If, on the other hand, you see “mugen” (無限) as “without boundary,” then the interpretation is that the sound of the waterfall can be heard everywhere – near and far.  I wonder if the Japanese original intended to address both temporal and spacial elements.  If that is the case, then it may be only natural that there are different interpretations of the same Japanese original when interpreted in English, one of Western languages that disfavor ambiguity.

Originally posted August 15, 2014

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