I will eat your Sol

It’s Astronomy Day!  Astronomers read for free.  Astrologers can read for free too, but should then bang their head against their nearest spirit totem, saying “Why must I always believe in lies?”.

So, I’ve complained about the kanji (Chinese characters) from time to time in the past.  Specifically, that there’s a lot of them to learn (around 2000 for basic literacy); that before you learn them, there’s no clues about how to pronounce them; and that each character has the nasty habit of changing pronunciations between words, sometimes as much as 10 or more different ways.

Sometimes though, I really like them. Like today.

With a solar eclipse upon us on July 22, naturally there was a bit of talk in the office about it. As I learned today, in Japanese, solar eclipse is translated as nisshoku, and it looks like this written in kanji:

Breaking it down:

means the sun.

means to eat.

Which means that a solar eclipse is… “eating the sun”.  When they were handing out awesomness quotas to words, “eating the sun” got the mother lode.

So a lunar eclipse would be…?

Yep, eating the moon – gesshoku.

If only more things could be so logical and poetic at the same time.

Postscript: sadly, because of bad weather in Tokyo, looks like no-one here will see much of anything tomorrow.  I will just have to imagine the spectacle of cosmic limb being ripped before cosmic limb before being consumed by the bloody, dripping maw of the moon.

Or, it will get dark for a little while.  I forget which.


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