February 27, 2021

Hills of Silver Ruins (2/5)

The Daishikuu (大司空) runs the Ministry of Winter. The Taishi (太師) is the Lord Privy Seal, one of the emperor's three court advisors.

Honorifics are so important in Japanese sociolinguistics that not using them gets its own word, yobisute (呼び捨て). When talking about Asen in this chapter, Buen and Kouryou never attach an honorific to his name. Buen goes further and occasionally uses the suffix –me (め), a kind of anti-honorific.

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February 20, 2021

Hills of Silver Ruins (2/4)

Jinjuu Manor (仁重殿) is Taiki's official residence (here referring to the entire estate). The guest house is a larger and more luxurious version of the courtyard house that Risai, Kyoshi, and Houto rent in Rin'u, with an additional courtyard and the east and west wings intact.

The kanji on the signboard (黄袍館) refer to the yellow robes worn by the emperors of ancient China and are pronounced using the standard Chinese reading (on'yomi) of ouhoukan. The furigana accompanying the same kanji (黄袍) in the next sentence are for the nightingale (uguisu).

Suggesting a nightingale with yellow feathers or perhaps the golden oriole (the Japanese nightingale is "bright olive-green"). The parenthetical pointing out the cultural connection between the plum tree and the nightingale is my addition.

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February 13, 2021

Hills of Silver Ruins (2/3)

The kirin doctor is also known as the koui (黄医) or "yellow doctor," taken from the name of the Yellow Sea. Although immortal, kirin are susceptible to two potentially lethal diseases. The shitsudou (失道) is caused by imperial wrongdoing, especially violations of the Divine Decrees. Esui (穢瘁) is an an illness that usually results from the kirin being exposed to blood either in the environment or his diet.

As Buen points out (and I explain here), Japan is paradoxically "one of the least vegetarian-friendly places on Earth," shoujin ryouri being a noteworthy exception.

The Daiboku (大僕) is the general of the Praetorian Guard and the personal bodyguard to the emperor and kirin (as province lord).

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February 06, 2021

Hills of Silver Ruins (2/2)

Taiki's recollection of his first encounter with Gyousou brought to mind the line from Macbeth (more recently popularized in the novel by Ray Bradbury), "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."

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