Author Topic: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms  (Read 12239 times)

chibi575

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2011, 07:07:44 PM »
hodo that voodoo that you do so well...

Yes, if the hiragana is used "hodo" may become a pun, I feel, or at least leave the reader with a wide degree of meanings to chose.  The actual original Japanese would help, indeed.

Gabi san, do you have the original Japanese, I hope?

知美

Gabi Greve

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2011, 07:17:21 PM »
Hi Alan,
the meaning of hodo is manifold and can be translated to other languages in many ways, depending on the context of the sentence  and the context of a haiku.

The links you quote cover the ground pretty well.

Hi Chibi san, we must have posted at the same time.

松茸やかぶれた程は松の形
matsutake ya kabureta hodo wa matsu no nari

I hope this helps.
Gabi
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 07:22:57 PM by Gabi Greve »

chibi575

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2011, 07:48:17 PM »
Thanks bunches!

Darn... I was hoping for a homophone (hey... I'm not punning on homophone).

程 means a limit or degree of.

kabureta (phonetics play to my ear is "carburetor"... my silly ears) かぶれた meaning to be swayed or enfluenced

matsutake!  (I'm going to use the Japanese word as even today these mushrooms are a grand find)
seems even more
pine shaped

This is simple and elegant as I feel Bashou's poetry during this phase was.  He repeats "matsu" (pine) in the first and last line as further emphasis on the pine name and shape.
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chibi575

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2011, 07:54:37 PM »
Sorry... this is an aside but Gabi san, I hope the typhoon leaves with little bad effect in your area.

Let me say, take care, and without your efforts and skill (your English is superb as well as your Japanese, and you're a native German, you are a treasure and pardon my GUSH) I would be lost.

A thousand thanks.
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Gabi Greve

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2011, 08:52:28 PM »
Thanks, Chibi san,

and one more remark on the kabureta ... it is used with the meaning of 

yabureta
笠の破れた辺りの模様, 破れた傘や笠 ( a tattered / broken ...   umbrella or rain hat)

http://www2.yamanashi-ken.ac.jp/~itoyo/basho/haikusyu/kabure.htm

Enjoy!

Gabi

Larry Bole

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2012, 01:32:14 PM »
Sorry to be joining this discussion so late, but I find it very interesting.

Here is David Barnhill's translation:

mushroom--
it's become so ragged
it looks like a pine

and I found Oseko's translation online at, of all places, a Japanese confectionary site(!):

A matsutake mushroom!
With its skin scarred, it looks like
A real pine tree!

http://blog.livedoor.jp/kikyou0123/archives/51272839.html

Regarding hodo: in my Random House Japanese-English dictionary, meaning #3 is given as "to (a...degree)." And the online EUDict says it means "degree, extent, bounds, limit."

In fact, Barnhill uses the word "extent" in his literal translation:

mushroom! / worn extent as-for / pine's appearance

Here is Reichhold's literal translation:

pine mushroom <> / scratched surface (state of being) / pine tree's shape

I was thinking of a pine tree looking like a tall triangle, narrowing to a point at the top. So I liked up "red pine" on Wikipedia. There are pictures of several varieties at the Wikipedia entry. None look like my image of a pine. I then looked up 'matsudake'. The picture of a red pine at the Wikipedia entry that most looks like the mushroom to me is the middle picture in the top row under "References", the one that is described as "Planted in a Japanese Garden."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Red_Pine

As far as I can tell, only three translators who have published translations (outside of scholarly journals) have bothered to translate this haiku into English: Oseko, Barnhill, and Reichhold. And I can understand why--it seems a little artificial to me, although one could see in it a pointing out of an underlying unity of things, of correspondence between things. Of course, if kabureta (kabureru?) means "influenced by," or "reacting to," then I can see that. I must be missing something regarding how kabureta gets translated as "ragged" or "scarred."

Although both Barnhill and Reichhold list the haiku's date in their notes to the haiku as being in a period from 1684 to 1694, Reichhold puts it in her years 1692-94  section of translations, which would put it in Basho's 'karumi' style period. Basho started out writing often very clever, Danrin-style haiku, and I don't think a tendency to indulge in cleverness ever wholly left him, even in his 'karumi'-style period. This haiku seems to me to have a touch of that cleverness about it. Too much cleverness in poetry is not to my taste, although it is a prevalent style in contemporarly mainstream English-language poetry.

Larry

Gabi Greve

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2012, 03:46:05 PM »
Hi Larrry,

yabureta, ragged ... have a look at the bark of the akamatsu, which is the part of the tree Basho is comparing his mushroom to.



Matsutake - The name comes from the area where the mushroom grows, in a pine grove of Japanese red pines (akamatsu).
The broken parts of the hat look like the broken bark of akamatsu.
.
anyway, to translate matsutake simply as "mushroom" does not help the understanding.
.
Gabi

Don Baird

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2012, 11:52:37 PM »

matsutake
it looks more like a red pine
with its ragged top

I think this would infer that the more ragged the top, the more it looks like a pine.  jmho

Don

I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Gabi Greve

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2012, 12:08:12 AM »
matsutake
it looks more like a red pine
with its ragged top

Don


This would imply, more than any other mushroom, if my German is not too much interfering.

Yours is a nice version, but the nihongo is a bit different in nuance.

Also, I wonder if the name "Matsutake" is well enough known outside of Japan to be used as a word in this poem?


matsutake ya kabureta hodo wa matsu no nari

Basho could put a lot of information in these three sections:

The name of the mushroom comes from the area where the mushroom grows, in a pine grove of Japanese red pines (akamatsu).
But as Basho takes a closer look, he finds that the form of the mushroom itself resembles the tree.
The broken, tattered (yabureta) parts of the hat look like the broken bark of akamatsu.
The haiku contains the kireji (cutting word YA) at the end of line 1
It also contains the word HODO ... the more of this ... the more of that

So here is my paraverse, containing all the information in the haiku by Basho

pine mushrooms -
the more ragged their tops
the more they  look like red pine
.
AAAAA, Don san,  have you ever tasted dobin mushi ?

Gabi
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Don Baird

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2012, 02:30:48 AM »
Yes ... hodo, in the end, is extremely important here.  I wasn't able to make that evident enough in the version I posted.  Quite the puzzle - Japanese to English.  It's just as hard however, English to Japanese!

LOLL :o
I write haiku because they're there ...

through
the hole of a cheerio,
spring!

Larry Bole

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2012, 05:58:15 PM »
Thanks, Gabi. It helps to know that the similarity is not only to the shape of the tree, but also to its bark. And now I get that kabureta is from yabureru, meaning "be torn; be ripped."

And I like your translation. Since Japanese haiku are often written in what I like to call Japanese 'shorthand', and are not always grammatically proper (or correct), I think the comparison can be implied in English without stating it with the words "they look (like)" So I would shorten your translation to:

pine mushrooms -
the more ragged their tops,
the more like red pine


One problem is that without the reader knowing what the bark of the red pine looks like, the reader might not get the connection to the bark. The question then becomes, does one save information like that for an explanation of the haiku, or does one add it to the translation, even though the word "bark" doesn't appear in the original?

pine mushrooms -
the more bark-like their tops,
the more like red pine

Larry

Gabi Greve

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Re: Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2012, 07:33:57 PM »
Thanks for sharing your versions, Larry!

The translator is in a difficult position indeed.
I prefere to add footnotes to explain what is implied in the poem and if possible some background.

Greetings from a warm spring morning in Japan.
Gabi