(467) Osayo legend 2 [英作文]

Osayo legend

Once upon a time, or should I say more precisely it was about 400 years ago. There were a couple of lovers here in Matsuyama. In those days, samurai class ruled over other three classes. One is farming
peasants, another is artisans and merchants. In this story I’m going to tell, the couple maybe belonged to farming peasants’ class, I imagine.

The young woman’s name was Osayo and her fiancé was Yoshimatsu. One night the couple went to Unshoji-temple’s summer festival. A big bon-dance was going to be held in that year. That year’s festival was very special. The temple was located at the foot of Katsuyama-hill but the lord of Matsuyama allowed to use the top of the hill for the festival
because in that summer the construction of the castle on the hill just started. The lord announced there would be a big summer dance festival. So the townsfolk were all encouraged to join in the celebration.

On the night, a good many people, the old and the young, men and women gathered there in droves. Especially young men were overjoyed with this dance festival. Some loved dancing with maidens. Some tried
making a pass at them.

Osayo was a young and beautiful maiden. She was so attractive that she stood out from others. So her fiancé, Yoshiatsu had to keep an eye on her all the time. After joyful dancing, they took a rest for a while. She said she wanted to see some of food vendors. There were various stalls around the dace site. She run to one of the stalls. The dance site was so crowded with the townsfolk. Osayo got separated from him for a moment. And the next moment, Yoshimatsu lost sight of her. He didn’t get so upset in the beginning. But she was missing after all. He looked for her around the vendor. He completely lost all trace of her.

Once stepped out of the festival site, there was only pitch darkness of castle hill. He gradually got uneasy and finally he began to shout her name. The strange thing was that nobody saw her ever after. She
disappeared very mysteriously. He looked desperately for her
all around in the mountain, through the night, but ended in vain.

After a little while, they rumored that Osayo was taken away to be sacrificed at the construction site of the castle.

What do you think of this story? I think it was true. I believe this story. I have two reasons.

One is that the ground of the top hill was not firm so the chief carpenter of the castle construction insisted that human sacrifice, young maiden, was needed for laying the firm foundation.

Another reason is that the lord searched for a suitable maiden but nobody volunteered to be a human sacrifice because the townsfolk were horrified to be buried alive under the foundation.

The top of the hill was originally twin peaks. The area in between was filled to make the flat ground. This is true, you can see the deep well on the top of hill even now. It’s a 44 m deep well. It’s impossible to dig this deep in samurai’s era. The fact is, before the construction, there was a spring at the bottom of ravine. When the land was filled in, it became today’s 44 m-deep well. So laying foundation for the castle was the most important work.

So the lord planed the big summer dance festival on the top of
the hill to find a suitable maiden.

What a scary story!

Osayo was offered as human sacrifice to pray to the deity for safe construction. But several bad things continued after her death, I think.

Yes, finally the magnificent castle main tower was built, it had five roofs and stories. It took 25 years to complete the castle construction. But just before its completion the lord was ordered to transfer to the northern Japan. He was unlucky, after all. Because he had to leave his adorable castle behind.

The second lord came to Matsuyama, but he died 7 years later without leaving any heir. He became another unhappy lord, I think.

The third load rebuilt the main tower, but it became 3 story castle. The main tower became smaller, for unknown reasons. And one more thing, about 180 years later from Osayo’s death the main tower was struck by lightning and burned down. What would Osayo feel about these things occurred around Matsuyama Castle? Is she still angry?

Reconstruction of present structure was completed in 1854. Now
Matsuyama castle has become one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Matsuyama city. Osayo-san, thank you very much for the price you paid. Now many people love Matsuyama castle.

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(466) sill [英単語]

Word: sill
Meaning: piece of wood, or stone, etc.
forming the base of window or a door.
A window-sill 窓敷居、窓台
A door-sill ドアの敷居

The little house she lived in had flowers
on the sill.
---“Poppy pig” by Dick Bruna

Even if you’ve only got a windowsill, you can
still grow some lovely grub.
window sill.jpg


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(465) “a bar of soap / a cake of soap ?” #2 [調べる]

“a bar of soap / a cake of soap ?” #2


what do you think of the following?


When you go to the grocery store, please buy ( ) soap for me.

(A) a piece of (B) a (C) a bar of (D) a pair of

  The right answer is (C) a bar of.


Is this the only right answer? I remember that I was taught “a cake of soap” is right. It was more than
40 years ago at school in Japan. But the strange thing is since then I’ve never
heard of this phrase being told, nor read in books in my life.


On the contrary, I often see “a bar of soap” in place of “a cake of soap”.

The latest example I read is from a picture book of Miffy.


She took a bar of soap,

And her soft yellow sponge.

s miffy soap.jpg


Which is right, “a bar of soap” or “a cake of soap”?


Both are right. But there is a big difference between the two. The difference is much larger number of people use “a bar of soap” than “a cake of soap”

Yahoo Japan 知恵袋 2009/9/2015

the_round_square_triangleさん searched on "A ...???... of soap".




a bar of soap 865,000

a piece of soap 39,300

a cake of soap 28,600

a block of soap 993

a tablet of soap 471 has many comments on this question.

I show you two of them.


Kelly B said:

A quick curious google on "cake of soap" yields results from Australia, mostly.


Ferntree Gully, Aug 24, 2006 Australian Australia replied to this:

This is a strange combination for us Aussies.

 We use a cake of soap in the bathroom and a bar of soap in the laundry.

 I have not purchased a bar of soap recently but memory is that the bar of laundry or hard soap is
shaped like a gold bar. It is angular and has sharp edges.

 Cakes of bathroom or soft soap are softer in shape with curved sides and blunt edges.



padredeocho, Aug 25, 2006 United States said:

In the USA, we would never say cake of soap. If I were leaving the house, and my wife said, Could you pick
up some soap?
I would assume she probably meant a pack of soap bars for the bath and shower. If she wanted any other kind of soap, she would tell me what kind, i.e. dishwashing soap, handsoap, etc.


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(464) Joke / Christmas [joke]

(464) Joke / Christmas
(Macy’s wooden escalator)

  Despite the best effort of child psychiatrists, there are still a lot of kids of four or five --- even in sophisticated New York --- who believe in Santa Claus.
  One of them was taken by his mother to the toy department in Macy’s on a December morning last year and was dully propped up on Santa’s lap.
  “What do you want for Christmas, my lad?” asked Santa Claus dutifully.
  “Better write it down,” said the lad, “or you’ll forget.”
  “Trust me," urged Santa. “My memory never fails.”
The lad was dubious, but catalogued his demands.
  The same afternoon, mother and son arrived at Gimbel’s and the lad found himself on Santa’s lap for a second time. The Gimbel Santa asked the usual question.
  “What do you want for Christmas?” The lad slipped off his lap, kicked him lustily in the shin, and yelled, “You numskull, I knew you’d forget!”

psychiatrists [saikáiətrist]: 精神分析医
Macy’s: Macy's department store

dully: 退屈するように
be propped up: (transitive, usually with "up") To position the feet while sitting or reclining so that the knees are elevated at a higher level.
lad [lˈæd]: 少年、坊や
urge: 〔人に~するよう強く〕促す、要請する、勧める
My memory never fails.: 私は忘れたことなんかないんだよ。
dubious [djúːbiəs]: being in doubt〔人が物事を〕疑わしく思う、半信半疑の
catalogue [kǽtəlɔ̀ɡ]: 目録を作る
Gimbel’s [ɡɪ́mbəl-]: Macy's and Gimbel's were popular
department stores located within two blocks of one another in Midtown Manhattan in New York City; the latter store is now defunct.

for a second time: 二度目
lustily [lʌ́stili]: 元気いっぱいに、力強く
numskull [nʌ́mskʌ̀l]: ばか者

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(463) word/ scone [英単語]

 (463) word/ scone

banana scone.jpg
ミニバナナ スコーンというお菓子を食べさせてもらって、sconeという言葉を知った。


A scone is a single-serving quick
. They are usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal,
with baking powder as a leavening agent, and are baked on sheet pans. They are often lightly sweetened and are occasionally glazed with egg wash. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from a teacake and other sweet buns, which are made with yeast.

single-serving: 一回だけの
quick bread:
・Wheat [(h)wí
ːt]: 小麦
・oatmeal [ó
ʊtmìːl]: ひき割りオート麦
・sheet pan: A sheet pan, baking tray or baking sheet is a flat, rectangular metal pan used in an oven.
sheet pan.jpg

・glazed [
ɡɪzd]: うわぐすりをかけた、上塗りをした、つやをつけた、
・egg wash: Egg (yolk or white) mixed with a little milk; brushed on pastry before baking to give a glazed appearance
・leavening agent [lɛ́vənɪŋ]: 膨脹剤
・component: 構成要素
・Devonshire tea: A cream tea as traditionally served in Devon. (英国Devonの旧称)


The difference in pronunciation is alluded to in the poem which contains the lines:

I asked the maid in dulcet tone [toʊn]
To order me a buttered scone [skóʊn];
The silly girl has been and gone [gˈɔːn]
And ordered me a buttered scone[gɔ́(ː)n].

dulcet [dʌ́lsit]: 〈文〉耳に快い、旋律が美しい
allude to [əːd]: であるとほのめかす 
ordered me a buttered scone = ordered a butter scone for me


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(462) Word/communicate [英単語]


I read a picture book about communication a few weeks ago. I’d like to show you several phases from the book.

What is communication? There are three simple answers in the book.

1. Communication is sharing knowledge.
2. It is telling news.
3. It is expressing feelings, and being heard.

Second, what condition is needed to communicate?

It takes two to communicate.
One to say it. One to listen…and respond.

But there are other occasions to communicate. Here are two examples in the book.

1. We sometimes communicate with ourselves.
Sometimes when a feeling is fresh, it is hard to explain it to someone else. So I
communicate with myself. 
I write it in my dictionary. It helps me understand what is troubling me.

2. Even a book can communicate your feelings to you.



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(461) Osayo legend [英訳]

bon odori today.jpg







--- tasogaretokiblog


bon odori_mukashi.jpg
The Samurais who planned to build Matsuyama castle, believed human sacrifice of a young maiden was needed for constructing a firm castle without troubles.

They searched for suitable maidens but nobody volunteered to be a human sacrifice because they were horrified to be buried alive. 

They were worried about it and announced to have a big summer dance festival of Unshouji-temple at the top of Castle-hill, Katsuyama.

Many young townsfolk were encouraged to join the Bon-dance festival by the lord’s announcement.

There was a beautiful maiden called Osayo in the townsfolk. But before long, she went missing, and her lover Yoshimatsu noticed it.  So he looked for her all around in the mountain, but ended up in vain.

After a little while, they rumored that Osayo was taken away to be sacrificed at the construction site of the castle.

Since then, on every Obon-festival day Osayo’s sad story of human sacrifice at Matsuyama castle was constantly on the lips of the townsfolk.

Unshouji-temple is located at Misake-chou of Matsuyama city. But there isn’t any document leftconcerning Osayo legend.
--- tasogaretokiblogより

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(460) Word/ Wretch [英単語]

Word/ Wretch

amazing grace.jpg

Amazing grace is a famous song of gospel. In its words I found a word ‘wretch’. I didn’t know the meaning of this word.

‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!’

I thought this word is hard for me. So I'll have no chance to use this word by myself.
  The other day I happened to see a similar word,’ wretched’ in a picture book for children. I can guess its meaning because I knew of
wretch. So I changed my mind to that I should learn this word, wretched as an English learner. 

1. Meaning:
 (1) wretch [rétʃ]: a poor, unhappy person (Oxford wordpower dictionary)
      Old-fashioned someone that you feel sorry for (Longman Active Study Dictionary)

 (2) wretched [rétʃɪd]: Very unhappy (Oxford wordpower dictionary)
      Someone who is wretched is very unhappy or ill, and you feel sorry for
      Them (Longman Active Study Dictionary)

 2. How to use these words:
 (1) The poor wretch was clearly starving. (Oxford wordpower dictionary)
 (2) “No one shall tell me that I was once a mouse!” But an old hermit1), mighty at
magic does tell him; for it was he who first changed the tiger from a
wretched little mouse to a stout2) cat, to a big dog, and finally, to his proud and royal self.
(picture book named Once A Mouse

1) hermit/ 
2) stout/ 頑丈な,丈夫な,強い

Once a Mouse...

Once a Mouse...

  • 作者: Marcia Brown
  • 出版社/メーカー: Aladdin
  • 発売日: 1989/09/30
  • メディア: ペーパーバック




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(459) Why is Kannon popular? [調べる]


Why is Kannon popular? 
11faced パンフ.jpg
Juichimen Kannon, Taisan-ji temple, Matsuyama Ehime
Conclusion: Reasons of Kannon's popularity.


・ Kannon is a Bodhisattva more familiar to us than Buddah Amida.         
・ Kannon can appear in many different forms to save people.                   
・ Kannon can save us in this world, this is a benefit gained in this world.


Buddhism for the Common Folk.

The three deities Amida, Kannon, and Jizō, became especially popular among the common folk during the Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333 AD), and today remain the bedrock of Buddhism for the common folk.

◆1. Amida for the coming life in paradise. ◆
amida ritsuzou.jpg 



◆2. Kannon for salvation in earthly life. ◆

senju kannon.jpg


◆3. Jizō for salvation from hell.◆

jizo illustrate.jpg

---A to Z Photo Dictionary Japanese Buddhist Statuary---

1. Buddah Amida 阿弥陀仏

Amida of Kamakura
Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan. This statue, made of bronze, is 11.40 m high and weights 93 t.

THE BUDDHA are those who have attained enlightenment, the ultimate state.

amida taisanji.jpg
Taisanji temple, Matsuyama, Ehime

At the belltower of Taisanji-temple you can see 25 Bodhisattva who descend from heaven with Amida to welcome the dying soul
of the faithful into Amida’s Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss (Jp. =
極楽 Gokuraku; also called Jōdo 浄土)

2. Kannon

Taisan-ji temple, Matsuyama, Ehime

2.1. What is Kannon?
11faced パンフ.jpg


One who sees / hears all.

The Sino-Japanese term Kannon 観音 (Chinese = Guānyīn) literally means watchful listening, and is
often translated as
one who sees / hears all. This is indeed the task of the compassionate Kannon to witness and listen to the prayers and cries of those in difficulty in the earthly realm, and to help them achieve salvation.

---A to Z Photo Dictionary Japanese Buddhist Statuary---


 Kannon is a Bodhisattva (Jp. = Bosatsu), one who achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved. Kannon is mentioned in numerous Mahayana sutra (religious texts), especially the Lotus Sutra 法華経 (Hokekyō), which was translated into Chinese by Kumārajīva (Jp. = Kumarajū 鳩摩羅什, 350 - 410),

---A to Z Photo Dictionary Japanese Buddhist Statuary---


In Mahayana Buddhism throughout Asia, Kannon is the most important of Amidas two main
attendants (kyōji
脇侍). The other is Seishi Bosatsu. In Japan, the three appear in a popular grouping known as the Amida Sanzon (lit. =Amida Triad), with Amida in the center, Seishi (representing wisdom) on the right, and Kannon (representing compassion) on the left.


Kannon can appear in many different forms to save people. The Lotus Sutra (Hokekyō 法華経), one of the most popular Mahayana scriptures throughout Asia owing to its message that anyone,
whether male or female, has the potential to attain Buddhahood, mentions 33 (thirty-three) forms that Kannon assumes when aiding sentient beings. In modern Japan, Kannon’s 33 forms are the basis for hundreds of Kannon Pilgrimage Circuits.


 In addition to the 33 Forms of Kannon, this deity also comes in six salvific forms to save all sentient beings trapped in the Six Realms of Karmic Rebirth (the cycle of suffering, the cycle of samsara).

2.2. A story behind Taisan-ji temple.
kannon kyougamori.jpg

There is a story in Taisan-ji temple showing Kannon’s power to save the people who prayed to Kannon. This is a benefit gained in this world through observance of the Buddhist teachings, in Japanese 現世利益.
oonami wasen.jpg

A certain merchant from Kyushu was sailing to the Osaka area to transport lumber his ship was caught in a terrible storm near Takahama on the other side of the mountain where Taisa-ji temple stands. He prayed to Kannon and soon a five-colored beam of the light appeared from the mountain top. By this light, he was able to land safely.

Mano-chouja, a merchant in Kyushu

2.3 Juichimen Kannon 十一面観

11faced Kyouɡamori.jpg

Literally 11-Headed Kannon, or 11-Faced Kannon. One of the Six Kannon. This beloved esoteric (tantric) form of Kannon is depicted with eleven heads atop its crown. There are various explanations for the eleven heads.

2.3.1. Why 11-faced?

On a folk level,

1) some say it is symbolic of shedding sweetness and mercy in all directions,

2) others that Kannon became so distressed after witnessing the sufferings of the world that  .

But the most plausible explanation is that

1) the lower ten heads represent the Ten Stages of the Bodhisattva Path (steps required to attain enlightenment).

2) The 11th head, located at the very center in the highest position, represents the 11th stage, Buddhahood, the final and ultimate result for those following the Bodhisattva Path.

3) The 11th head, moreover, is identified as Amida Buddha, the central deity in Japan’s Pure Land sects -- for in these sects, Kannon is considered an active emanation of Amida.

---A to Z Photo Dictionary Japanese Buddhist Statuary---

3. Jizo

jizo hikisaki.jpg
Hikisaki jizo in Taisan-ji temple

Jizō is a Bodhisattva (Jp. Bosatsu), one who achieves enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood until all can be saved.

Jizō’s traditional roles are to save us from the torments/demons of hell, to bring fertility, to protect children, and
to rant longevity -- thus Jizō is often decked in red.
jizo nearby2.jpg

Parents cloth Jizō statues in hopes that Jizō will cloth the dead child in his protection.

The dead children are sent to Sai no Kawara, the riverbed of souls in purgatory, where they are
forced to remove their clothes and to pray for salvation by building small stone towers, piling pebble upon pebble, in the hopes of climbing out of limbo into Buddha’s paradise. Sorrowing parents pray Jizō to help the suffering soul of their deceased child.

This is why everywhere in Japan, at busy intersections, at roadsides, in graveyards, in temples, and along hiking trails, one will find statues of Jizō Bosatsu decked in clothing, wearing a red
or white cap and bib.
jizo gran fuji2.jpg


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(458) Teaching is learning [英作文]

Teaching is learning.

I learned again several new things about kanji (Chinese character). I learned it’s important and joyful to think of reasons why we follow some rules, such as stroke order of kanji.
I have helped a Kenyan elementary student do his homework for about two years.
  One day, when I helped him with kanji homework I don’t know why, but I wrote tabi wrong.jpgwrongly. My student complained about my wrong kanji, because he had to correct his kanji as extra homework. He asked me do the same thing, so I practiced to write  tabi correct.jpgon whole one page of my notebook.

  I also noticed several wrong writing in my kanji, in stroke order and how to end each stroke while helping him with home work. He always neglects kanji stroke order. I tried to correct his way but he didn’t follow my instruction. First I thought kanji is foreign language for him, so he didn’t want to keep its rule of kanji stroke order. But this was wrong he writes zero and O differently from me. He started at the bottom point of O and makes a circle clockwise. He seemed to choose his best way to write alphabet and kanji by himself. He believes his way is best. His best way is write things most quickly and lest energy consuming. His main concern is that finishing his home work as
soon as possible and playing with his friends.
  So I think of the merits of learning correct stroke-order of kanji.
You can write kanji characters physically
easily in the correct stroke-order for right-handed people.
You can write beautiful kanji characters.
A book named “Reading and writing CHINESE” also says that ‘Following the stroke-order diagrams presented in this book in order to acquire the correct habits early, and remember to keep you characters uniform in size.’ This is another merit of correct stroke-order. From this book let me show you the rules to explain the methods of stroke-order in general. These are the same as the rules kanji stroke-order in Japan.

1. Top to bottom:

2. Left to right:

3. Upper left corner to lower right corner:

4. Outside to inside:

5. When two or more strokes cross, horizontal strokes before perpendicular strokes:

6. Slanting stroke to the left before slanting stroke to the right:

7. Center stroke before symmetrical wings:

  Japanese kanji dictionary for elementary students explain how we can right with the correct
stroke-order. Beautiful
keeps its horizontal stroke balance in length. We can cross the horizontal stroke at the proper point with the perpendicular stroke. I like this explanation very much.
  Although Chinese people and also Japanese people occasionally disagree among themselves about minor details, the traditional stroke-order has been developed and perfected through centuries of
experience. Learning the method is very meaningful and practical. Handwriting message of beautiful kanji surely make better communication with others.

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