The Japanese language is rich in words and expressions influenced by nature, history and culture. This episode looks at words related to fire. Fire has both practical and spiritual significance in cultures around the world, and Japan is no exception. This gave birth to many unique expressions. From his home in Kyoto Prefecture, poet and literary translator Peter MacMillan guides us through these words and the culture behind them.
Pachi pachi: Onomatopoeia for a crackling fire, like a campfire
Bo bo: Onomatopoeia for a larger flame
Mukaebi: A welcoming fire lit at entrances or near rivers in the summer, when ancestral spirits are believed to briefly return
Hanabi (fireworks): It's said that people first set off hanabi to pray for the souls of the dead and to ward off evil spirits