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Saturday, December 28, 2013


don't get indigestion
from the tofu dregs!

Issa - 1816

u no hana ni shokushô suru na hototogisu

David Gerard: The expression u no hana can mean, literally, "deutzia blossoms." A second meaning is "bean curd refuse." Also called okara, this is the lees by-product of tofu-making. It is called u no hana because the whiteness of the tofu by-product is similar to that of the deutzia flower of early summer. Here, Issa warns the cuckoo to not get sick eating too much of the tofu dregs that he has thrown out. In a related haiku, written earlier in the same month and year (Fifth Month 1816), Issa scatters tofu refuse for the cuckoo to eat.

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