Friday, August 7, 2015

The meaning of Meguro and the game of cricket

Today I was planning to write an article about the meaning of Meguro, a district on the old western reaches of Tokyo. As kanji characters carry meaning as well as pronunciation, it can often be entertaining to transliterate someone's name into English and watch the expressions change as people realise what you are doing. So when Nakata-san meets Sakura-san it literally means Mr In-the-middle-of-the-rice-field has just said hello to Mrs Cherry-blosson. Bit of a mouthful in English though.

The kanji for Meguro though means 'Black Eyes' and the origin, I've always been led to believe, was from one of five statues set to guard the western approaches to Tokyo on the roads from Kyoto, the Imperial Capital at the time they were erected. However, in final research, it became clear the area was already associated with the name over four hundred years before the statues were built. Fascinating article from JapanThis for more info on this story (and many others). Which somewhat blows today's story out of the water. So let's talk about the cricket.

Yesterday was Australia's worst day in over a hundred years of Ashes matches. But the game's not over yet so let's keep the gloating until the fat lady sings. The Ashes are only played between England and Australia, the name being the ashes of English cricket when England first lost to Australia in 1882. On the return tour the concept was soon manifested by burning the bails of one of the matches and are now held in a small urn at Lords, the spiritual home of cricket, in London. But talking to the British Ambassador one day, he remarked that there are actually twenty three active cricket clubs in Japan. And that's something I didn't know.

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