Sunday, January 20, 2013

dragon ball

One of the bright moments in my week is a TV show on the educational channel about Haiku. Every week the haiku teacher chooses, reads, and comments on nine haiku from the countless number that are submitted from viewers. The theme of the week is always a seasonal word (kigo). I don't write haiku myself, but the program often inspires my etegami. 

This week the seasonal word is Ryuu no tama (dragon ball), which are the berries of the Ophiopogon japonicus; known in Japanese as ryuu-no-hige (dragon whiskers) or ja-no-hige (snake whiskers). The berries are a beautiful, glossy blue-- like brilliant gems on a carpet of green leaves. The plant and the berries were both new to me, but the image of an oriental dragon with a pearl-like jewel grasped in its claw is a familiar one, so I recognized the reference at once.

Ceiling painting at Kenninji Temple, Kyoto
There are various myths or legends about this jewel. Sometimes the jewel represents the sun, sometimes it is a human soul or some other thing of value, but it always has magical properties. If you are from a certain generation, you will associate the title of this post with the enormously popular anime series Dragon Ball and all the resulting spin-off products.


  1. Sounds like a tv show right up my alley! Lovely Debbie.

  2. It did exactly what you wrote: it reminded me of our sons watching Dragon Ball Z!
    :-) I am now glad I read your post.

  3. I just found your wonderful blog and collection of work. I lived in Japan for 2 years and I don't think I had ever run in to Etegami. It is intriguing and thoughtful art form. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  4. Very interesting story.. I would love to see those bright blue flowers in the wild.