Monday, September 3, 2012

Kitsune No Yomeiri

Today is a holiday in the US: Labor Day is what it is called. Surprisingly, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) is quite deserted. I guess people like to go shopping better. But I was lucky to be in here and experienced a lovely meteorological phenomenon: a sunshower in which rain falls while the sun is shining. No, the dark clouds in the North to Northwest direction were not part of this. The sporadic light rains came from the right of this photo while the sun shined through them. They are called sunshowers. To avoid getting wet, I just sat on a bench under a Chinese palm tree to enjoy the breeze.

Although used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain, the term "sunshower" is rarely found in dictionaries. This phenomenon has a wide range of similar folkloric names in cultures around the world. A common theme is that different forest animals, or the devil, are getting married. How romantic!

In South African English, a sunshower is referred to as a "monkey’s wedding." In Afrikaans, it is referred to as jakkalstrou: Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou as dit reën en die son skyn flou, meaning: "Jackal is marrying Wolf's wife when it rains and the sun shines faintly." If I were an Afrikaan male wolf, I would hate that! In Bengali, it is called "a devil's wedding." Many other animals are invoked in different countries: tigers, leopards, hyenas, bears, rats, crows... But my real favorite is the fox's wedding: "kitsune no yomeiri", or "the kitsune's wedding." I am sure you can tell that's in Japan.

There is a very colorful scene of this "kitsune no yomeiri" in the movie Dreams by Akira Kurosawa. This is an ideal place for foxes to get married. Foxy Ladies will easily qualify!