Friday, 24 September 2010

The Moon (Translation of Post on 23rd Sep)

The moon cannot be missed out when talking of lyrics world in Fujifabric's songs.
Quite a few songs immediately come up to my mind such as "The smooth and flat moon" (Otsuki-sama Nopperabou), "Sky-Rocket Fireworks" (Uchiage Hanabi), "The Same Moon" (Onaji Tsuki) and "Anthem".

It was Moon Festival on the 21st night, so let's talk about "The Moon" ,today.

This photo was taken at around 10pm on the Moon Festival night in  my garden.
Can you see the rain clouds around the moon?
Because of the high humidity in the air, there was vaguely a rainbow-coloured ring around the moon.
It is still in the middle of the rainy season in Thailand, so lightnings, stars and the full moon could be seen at once in the sky.
Quite animated that was!

Thai Chinese, who immigrated to Thailand from China almost a century ago, have brought the custom of eating moon cakes, and they invented the new flavour - Dorian flavour.
For Japanese, who get used to eat delicate Japanese sweets, Wagashi, cannot even imagine to arrange Dorian with such a strong aroma (strong smell of fermentation, similar to cat's pee pee, I think...) making moon cakes, but Thai people seem to enjoy it very much.

The moon cakes have been transformed into the form that the indigenous people like, but Thais have not been penetrated with the custom of "gazing the moon" at all.

"Gaze the moon in silence with admiration."
It is nothing special for Japanese, but this custom can be found only in East Asia.

In China and Taiwan, Moon Festival is celebrated to a greater extent and the day is set as a national holiday.
(It is not a national holiday in Thailand,though.)

The custom of gazing the moon in Japan has been introduced from China in ancient days, and has throughly become a permanent fixture with Japanese society.
We, leading a busy life, are yearn for graceful appearance of aristocrats in Heian Era who enjoyed gazing the moon.

Moon Festival is celebrated every year on the 15th of August in a lunar calendar.
In Japan, it is also the time of harvest in autumn, so the special stand for the moon is decorated with autumn crops such as dumplings made from rice powder, taro, chestnuts, etc with Japanese plume grass, in order to thank and wish the moon for the good harvest.

At my parents' home, the moon stand was placed where the moon looks the most beautiful in the house, and the whole family celebrated it.

Speaking of the moon, the story of the Moon Princess Kaguya is the most popular among Japanese young and old.

This tale is said to be the oldest folktale found in the history written in Kana letters, and the author and the written year are both unknown.
Please look at this web site for more details.
The tale of bamboo cutter

There are a few other folktales similar to the one of bamboo cutter (the one in Tibet is well-known and it is often said Tibetan one was brought into Japan by immigrants from the continent), but it is limited in the area where people have the custom of gazing the moon.

Let's look at "The smooth and flat moon" by Fujifabric.
The contrast between the moon at night and the rainbow at daytime is very impressive and beautiful in this song.
At night, traveling alone in mind gazing the smooth and flat moon and the shining rainbow in the sunshine...
It is filled with fantasy.

The shadow of moon craters are clearly visible to the naked eyes some nights and make us confused which part is really rabbit shaped (Japanese have believed that shadow of rabbits making rice cakes can be seen on the moon for a long time).
On the other hand, the moon looks so plane and shining in white light on some nights.

Mr. Shimura used the word, "Nopperabou" which is the name of mononoke (see the post on Spooky Jacaranda) to express this plane shining moon.
He is a genius for lyrics, really!
Allow me to explain what Nopperabou is some other day.

I am not aware the fact that Mr. Shimura had any personal memory about the moon, but there must be some memories and informtaion about the moon, inherited from our ancestors over thousands of years in our Japanese DNA.

In ancient days, before any form of civilization emerged on the earth, the moon light was the only light on the dark night.
The moon light softly wrap all the living creatures - insects, fish, birds, animals, humans, trees, flowers and grass - with its mysterious power.
After the custom of gazing the moon has been firmly established in the heart of Japanese up until now...

The moon in the Fujifabric's songs invite us to the journey in the mysterious world beyond the time line.
"The Smooth and Flat Moon" by Fujifabric

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