This is the final installment of my series about Japanese shrine-guarding lion dogs, where obscure references are explained, and mysterious poetic wisdom is shared.
I’ll be starting with some clarification of stuff in the Shrine Guardians Legend, so please make sure you’ve read the story before proceeding. Otherwise most of this post will make little sense. The notes herein should clarify a few mysteries without creating more. Part 1 and Part 2 of this series are also recommended, though not necessary. If you haven’t read the story and don’t intend to, feel free to skip to the photos at the bottom of the page.
Japanese Creation Myths According to the real Japanese creation myth—as opposed to the one I made up—the first land was created by two divine beings: Izanagi (male) and Izanami (female), with the aid of a Amenonuhoku, a jewelled spear, in a process that I’m too lazy to paraphrase or quote. You can read more about it in the creation myth section of the Wikipedia article about Japanese mythology if you’re curious. There’s all sorts of mythological goodness in that article, but remember to come back after you’re done there.
Neko is Japanese for “cat.”
Inu is Japanese for “dog.”
-kun is a diminutive suffix attached to boys’ names. It would be the equivalent changing Bob into Bobby, John into Johnny, and so on. And it can be applied to any boy’s name, unlike what would happen if you tried to do the “-y” equivalent on Lloyd or Darrell or somesuch. It turns dog (Inu) into doggy and cat (Neko) into kitty. Though for the characters in my story, it’s more like Doggy-boy and Kitty-boy. For little girls, the suffix is “-chan,” and for older girls it’s “-san.” This latter suffix is also used for all adults, in place of Mr., Miss, Ms., Mrs., sir, and so on, but that’s a post of its own.
On poets, and getting used to them: The last line of the story, “The truth is, it’s not anyone who can get used to a poet” is paraphrased from something we saw at the Tobata SATY department store on Amy and April’s second night in Japan. We had been browsing the young women’s clothing section and found this tank top, which Lia is doing such a fine job of holding up for the camera:
Here’s a close up of the bottom text:
And if that isn’t readable enough, here’s the search-engine friendly version:
It touches and
comes out and, as for people,
anyone gets used to a poet.
It’s too bad it was a Japanese size—that is, really really small—otherwise Lia would have bought it. She is a poet after all, and I’ve gotten used to her. Mostly. The question is, can a poet get used to an artist?
This is the poet speaking:
For more on Japanese creation myths, like what happened to Izanagi and Izanami’s children, you can check out my version here. Unlike Ed’s shishi myth, it comes from historically accurate research. And yes, it is also blatent self-promo for a ‘zine I edit 🙂