Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reeds and 'Ban'

One of the birds that has the strangest Japanese name for me is this common species, the Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus). Japanese people call it バン(ban), but for some reasons, this name always sounds a bit funny to my ear and is so strangely short. Actually, I wasn't aware of its Japanese name until recently when I met the old lady at Sekino-e and she was talking to me about something called 'ban' and I really didn't know what 'ban' is and there were lots of question marks hovering above my head. She had a hard time describing me what 'ban' is and it seemed to be very difficult because the name doesn't refer to anything; it's just 'ban' like when you say 'leiothrix' or 'coot'. Finally she reminded that she had photos of it and showed one to me, so I finally realised that it's just a moorhen. From this website, seems like the word 'ban' came from a Chinese origin. Chinese people call the bird 'fan' and they also use the same kanji 鷭. The photo below was taken someday between the last two weeks at Sekino-e. There were about 2 pairs of this bird residing in the area. This one is my favourite shot. I always like the pattern of the reeds and this one has quite a pretty lighting in it as well.

2 comments:

Phil said...

I suppose if"ban" and "fan" are the same thing it could refer to the Moorhens spreading thier tail feathers?

Unravel said...

Hmmm...I don't think so Phil.
It's not that "fan" in English, but it's the pronunciation of that Chinese character which seems to be something about bird and rice field.