When the colors were introduced in my weekly Japanese class, I noticed that some of them are actually compound words, using a word plus “iro,” which means “color” in Japanese.
Disclaimer: I am only at the most beginner level of Japanese, so this is not any official method, but just me trying to find a good way to remember the colors. So any connections I make here is just me stringing my own thoughts together and my Japanese class book– not based on a deep level of understanding Japanese language.
Here are the other ones I have figured out so far. See if you can guess what colors they might refer to:
1. cha= tea ; chairo= ?
2. momo= peach; momoiro= ?
3. hai= ash; haiiro=?
4. mizu= water; mizuiro = ?
5. shi= death(among other words); shiiro=
6. ki= spirit, mood (among other words); kiiro=
1. chairo= brown
2. momoiro= pink. More helpfully though, “pinku” seems to be more commonly used for pink.
3. haiiro= grey. You know how I remember this though? Haifisch, or Hai in German means “shark.” so for me, that works too.
4. mizuiro= light blue
5. shiiro= white – I’ve heard that in asian countries the color white is associated with mourning and death, so I’m assuming that is the relevant connection there.
6. kiiro= yellow: I don’t know if there is any sort of real connection at all, and I don’t have any sort of sense of what “ki” really means. “Ki” in connection with “iro” may just mean “yellow” and other meanings don’t apply in the way that “water color” connects to “mizuiro.” When I looked online to try and find out more information about the word, I felt the following explanation had a sense of beauty to it:
So in the Japanese meaning Ki is something which is unclear, something that cannot be defined. In daily life it means something like feeling , sentiment or emotions or ideas which are not yet clear but will become clear later. Or some motivation, etc, etc. That is why to understand Ki is very important in the sense that it is a process of understanding one’s own life and understanding ourselves.
So whether or not “yellow” in Japanese truly does refer to spirit, mood or an elusive sense of an emotion that you hope will manifest itself more clearly over time, this is what yellow means to me:
Yellow is surprising….a sudden flash of bright color in a drab scene, or sunlight illuminating a dark corner. An ephiphany.
On our first trip to Amsterdam with the Osterhouts, we planned our days perfectly…except for the fact that we arrived at the major tourist destination of Zaanse Schans after it was closed. We could still walk around everything, but all of the museums, the cheese shop, the wooden shoe workshop and the windmills were closed. It turned out to be a boon after all, instead of being herded around and feeling, well, like tourists in a simulated Dutch town along with hundreds of other visitors, we had the whole place to ourselves.
We were there right at that golden hour as the sun was setting behind the windmills and we just thoroughly enjoyed exploring the little village, taking pictures, watching the kids run around and imagining what it might have been like to live in a place like that. We didn’t get to buy any wooden clogs that day, but I did take this picture as my own souvenir of that experience.
In Chinese culture, yellow symbolizes earth and also represents majesty. A perception of the color yellow to represent nobility can also can be found in Japanese traditions.
When Rijen and I were at the Masai Mara, in August 2010, everything had a hue of yellow made more intense due to a savannah fire, which had been set on purpose, but had gotten out of control.
Consider the battle-scarred waterbuck sitting majestically on the savannah.
Or for a simpler and a more Western tradition of yellow symbolizing happiness, I would pick this photo of our yellow hot-air balloon, dramatically deflating after our sunrise ride over the game reserve and exactly how I felt after the experience.
But before we de-air balooned, (which was a very awkward experience I’ll have to share if I ever get around to actually posting formally about the Masai Mara) this is what we saw, appropriately reminding me of the crayola color burnt sienna:
Yellow can also be delicate…the first sign of spring after a cold winter when the trees start blossoming.
On an overcast day underneath the Eiffel Tower, these yellow blooms really stood out and attracted Fiona to them as we played an impromptu game of hide-and-seek while Rijen’s family was climbing the Eiffel Tower…until the rain found us.
Back to 2013 and Japan, these yellow blossoms were one of the only splashes of color (besides that red coat on the bridge) at the Imperial Palace Garden:
Hope you are feeling yellow today!
Tomorrow: Green 緑 Midori