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Don Pylant, April, 2021

Dictionary of Japanese gardening terms

Started by don, January 11, 2008, 06:38:34 PM

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This has come up a couple of times.  What is the general feeling about having a list of Japanese gardening terms here?  It does exist at JGarden.org already.  Does that fill the need? Or is there a need for a different list or different approach?


           For what it is worth (probably less than 2 bits  :-[) I would like to see a more or less unified japanese language dictionary with an emphasis on the nouns used in gardening. My impression is that the one on jgarden is inadequate and there seems to be some disagreement about some of the definitions provided in JOJG. I assume that the japanese language is like english in that the meanings of words and phrases differ according to usage and have changed over the centuries.
In my first post to this forum, I asked if anyone had a suggestion for books to read/study to learn the japanese language. No one had a one.


Good. How is the garden terms list on jgarden inadequate and how can we do it better here?  The difference in interpretation or meaning of words goes deeper than that.

What is your level of Japanese language at the moment?  For example, conversational? basic survival? ...


January 12, 2008, 01:29:05 AM #3 Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 01:33:37 AM by Michael
Quote from: gardesignr on January 11, 2008, 09:11:17 PM
I asked if anyone had a suggestion for books to read/study to learn the japanese language. No one had a one.

Must have missed that post........

With regard to Japanese gardening (or architecture) nouns, books, no.  Website, yes.


The link above is to a frequently asked question concerning stones in a tea garden.

Hit "Jaanus Home" in the upper right hand corner and you can find pretty much everything.  If you know how to spell it.  Or kinda know how to spell it if you take the time to search alphabetically.

Unfortunately it doesn't work both ways AKA there isn't a site that I know of that you can enter "what is the Japanese name for the lantern stone" and get a response.



the hot water bucket stone and the candle holding stone should be reversed, as in the heights are backwards.. candle stone needs to be higher to allow light into the basin; lifting the ladle should clear the basin and line up with the bucket so as not to rise ungracefully... but.. that is my taste, perhaps not everyone elses...       
jaanus is good .. just think it through...                    edzard


Quote from: don on January 11, 2008, 11:23:12 PM
Good. How is the garden terms list on jgarden inadequate and how can we do it better here? 
What is your level of Japanese language at the moment?  For example, conversational? basic survival? ...

Hi, Don

Sorry to be late replying to this .... my knowledge of the japanese language and culture is very primitive. The dictionary provided on jgarden is inadequate because there are so many lapses, so much left out. For example, 'hakoniwa', 'itabei' ja-no-hige', 'machiai', matsu no ki', 'miegakure', 'moyogi', 'miegakure', and 'tenba' are all words related in japanese gardening that I have encountered in my reading but are not defined in the jgarden dictionary. However, the link provided by Michael (thanks, Michael!) is much more useful. Complicating matters, however, is that there seem to be different ways of spelling many of the terms .... or possibly spelling errors/sloppiness on the part of the writers/posters makes it seem that way. So, yes, I would like to see a comprehensive dictionary on this site, but the one on Jaanus is probably adequate for my uses (now that I know it exists!!)  8)


As a follow-up to my post above, I would like to add the following:

A pronunciation guide might be useful .... but, probably, a LOT of work to compile!

In my search for books to learn the japanese language , I have discovered that there are dozens of them, + CDs and various other audio learning methods. How to pick the right one? I have bought several. Most focus on 'conversational' japanese and kanji characters, such as how to hail a taxi or directions to the hospital or a restaurant. That, of course, is essential knowledge when one goes to Japan. But they are short on gardening terms, so they are not very useful while reading books on japanese gardening. The little book "Let's Study Japanese" by Jun Maeda seems to be a good guide to those who would learn enough japanese to travel in Japan.

Can someone tell me how essential it is to learn Kanji? I am sorry to be so ignorant ... or is it laziness?  :-[ If I am to read the japanese newspapers, I can see the need to learn it, but to read signage? Is it all in kanji as well?


Beyond audio cd's and emersion dvd's, I highly recommend you check local colleges for Japanese courses.  I used car cd's and listened over and over.  Also, join your local Japan America Society and let the members know your interest.  Two of the local members took it on themselves to help me.  The more Japanese you can understand and speak (not just read in romanji), the better your experience will be in Japan (exponentially)!

Kanji is the giant step you have to take if you want to access gardening books not published in English.  Its hard work but if you take it in bites, it is do-able.  I get hors d'oeuvre size bites of grammar and kanji every day from yokoso.com.  Check it out.

If you ask specific questions about the garden terms, Edzard, Mike-san, and hopefully Lee soon can most likely answer.  Although the romanji spelling will vary from one place in Japan to another, the kanji and pronunciation would be mostly the same.


Hi, don

thanks for the info. I tried the link Yokoso.com .... it is in all Japanese. Is there a way to view it in English? There may be a link on the site but I failed to recognize it!




gardendesignr, if you havent already found a good source for Japanese language, I found a site with a simply outline of sentence construction and common words.  It is a small site but good info.




Gardendesigner, I have added an additional language link on the links page: