When I first started this blog, I wanted to give it a name that would not be too specific to any one topic – I didn’t want to pick a title that would express only my interest in kabuki, for example, or to pull from a reference to any one artist or artwork. I thought a title of something doing with tea would work well, suggesting the idea of sitting down with a bowl of tea and thinking about, or talking about, any number of different cultural topics. And I struggled to find a title that would work – I was originally thinking of going with some Japanese saying related to tea, like 滅茶苦茶 (mechakucha), meaning “all mixed up, confused” (lit. “ruined tea, painful/difficult tea”), or 無茶 (mucha, lit. “no tea” or “lacking in tea”), similarly meaning “absurd, ridiculous.” But, then I wanted to not represent myself as confused or ridiculous, but rather as someone who has some sense of what he’s talking about. Of course I’m happy to be self-deprecating, but I also wanted to give the thing an air of authority and respectability. Yes, I am just another shmo, another nobody writing about his adventures in Japan. But, I’m also a graduate student, and an aspiring scholar and expert. So, I thought, better to be a man with tea, rather than a man without tea.
But, I’ve known all along that the title is terribly awkward and clumsy, and that 有茶 (yûcha) or 茶有 (chaari), “to have tea”, the natural opposite of mucha, isn’t a real word, or saying, of any sort. So, I’ve been thinking for a while now about what I might change the title of the blog to. And, today, I have two ideas, both based around the classical Okinawan song Nubui Kuduchi (上り口説)。
The song is a travel song, sung in association with the journey of Ryukyuan scholar-officials “up” to Satsuma, or in sending them off on their journey. Along with the associated dance, it was also performed in Kagoshima, as part of entertainments for Satsuma officials.
The song opens with 「旅の出立ち観音堂」 (たびぬ’んじたちくわぁんぬんどー, Tabi nu njii taachi Kwannun-dô), meaning roughly “at/before departing on a journey, Kannon Hall.” The Shuri Kannon-dô, also known as Jigen-in, a temple in the Okinawan royal capital of Shuri and housing an image of Kannon, bodhisattva of compassion, was one of several places scholar-bureaucrats typically prayed for safe journeys before departing for Kagoshima or Edo.
And so, in short, I am thinking of two possibilities for a new title for this blog:
(1) Nubui Kuduchi – A Song of Travel, referencing not only my actual travels to and within Japan, and my posts about visiting various sites, but also referencing the “journey” more generally, as I continue to explore and learn and grow.
(2) Tabi nu njiitachi – The Departure Point, because I feel the journey is never over, and we are always, constantly, starting again, departing upon new journeys, new directions. And, maybe, if it’s not being too self-important or anything, if any one of my blog posts should prove a departure point for someone else to want to investigate a topic further, that would just be incredible.
So, What do you guys think? Do you like (1) or (2), or neither? Why? Do you have suggestions for another, different, title?
Thank you so much. Ippee nifee deebiru.