Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kadochigai - mistaking a door

 One euro was enough to buy me this Japanese dictionary in the Rotterdam book market. When I have to wait, while my computer boots or while my scanner scans, I browse its contents. Each time I'm surprised how language and culture are intertwined. My latest discovery opens a whole Murakami-like world.

"Mistaking a door" was a concept that had never entered my world. But this simple phrase contains a universe of possibilities. One moment you mistake a door and the next moment your whole life has changed.


And this single page contains even more cultural treasures like:
  •  Kadobi - A funeral fire.
  • Kadomatsu - Pine trees set up for the New Year's decorations.
  • Kadotsuke - A strolling shamisen player.
For the Japanese these words are ordinary words. For me they are very exotic and poetic. They show a glimpse of a foreign Haiku-like world. A world that enlarges my horizon even though I can never become a part of it. I may not be able to go through that door, but I can peek inside.


  1. Even I wanted to learn Japanese. Exactly how many days it will take to be perfectly alright in speaking Japanese.

  2. I do not intend to learn Japanese but I like skimming the surface of the language. Learning it would be a life project I'm afraid.

  3. Cool idea!