Sunday, June 10, 2012

illustration friday (shiny)












"Shiny" brings to mind the blue-backed fish of the sea, which includes mackerel, sardines, pacific saury, herring, and Japanese amberjack. All of them are very, very popular on our dinner table. When ordered in Japanese sushi restaurants, they are commonly called hikarimono, or "the shiny ones."

Here is an etegami showing sunlight catching the scales of a huge school of sardines swimming in the sea. This is a new version of an etegami I painted almost exactly a year ago, illustrating a poem by the Japanese poet and songwriter Misuzu Kaneko (1903-1930).  I've translated it below, but haven't quite captured the rhythm of the Japanese version, or conveyed the unsentimental pathos of the original. I will keep working on it. But roughly translated, it goes like this:

The Big Haul
Beneath a glowing sunrise,
the fishing boats return,
loaded with Ooba Sardines.
On shore, villagers celebrate like it's a festival.
In the sea, sardines hold a funeral
for their tens of thousands of mates.

17 comments:

  1. Love the blues and green together. Nice one! I like the poem, too. I don't know if you've ever seen Alton Brown's cooking show, but he has almost convinced me to try sardines. He has them on toasted bread with avocado. But I'm not there yet. :)

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    1. I prefer all my "shiny" fish uncooked, as in sashimi, on sushi, or chopped fine and seasoned with miso and ginger (goodness, I'm drooling just thinking about it). But, of course, it has to be very very fresh. I've never seen Alton Brown on regular TV, but I have ordered some DVDs of his show from the US. I like them a lot. :)

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    2. Oh Cindy...go ahead and do the sardines on toast...it's wonderful.

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  2. I would definitively eat the "shiny ones" if they are cooked of course :-)
    Just read your own comment, lol

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  3. fantastic! I love the way you filled the space.

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  4. I like the balance of views in the poem and your post and your art work. They all fit together so well. I always enjoy your posts.

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  5. Beautiful! I seem to have gotten behind on your posts, but it's wonderful to scroll through them. I especially love the one with the telephone lines.

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  6. That sushi and sashimi sound so good. The etagami is great the fish do shine!

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  7. Fish are indeed shiny. The sea is full of metallic and mysterious colors.

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  8. This one turned out beautifully Debbie. I like the feel of it.

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  9. You've captured "shiny" so perfectly! I.F. should highlight this :)

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  10. I can learn both Japanese and English.
    Beautiful painting!!!

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    1. Maybe you've already seen it, but the original Japanese goes like this:

      朝焼小焼だ
      大漁だ
      大羽鰮(いわし)の
      大漁だ。

      浜は祭りの
      ようだけど
      海のなかでは
      何萬(まん)の
      鰮のとむらい
      するだろう。

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  11. Love how you've captured a tight school so effectively! Beautiful colors.

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  12. Now I'm hungry - I miss eating a lot of fish.

    Your translation of the poem is great! I really like the last half.

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  13. Raw, cooked, pickled - all good!

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