Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Carpe Diem #900 Daikan (Great cold)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It's with great joy that I am preparing this new episode of Carpe Diem. Today we have our 900th regular episode of Carpe Diem and that makes me proud and humble, because I can make Carpe Diem only with your participation and input. So thank you all for being part of Carpe Diem and making it a big success.
As I started with CDHK in October 2012 I hadn't thought to be here more than three years later ... I dreamed of it, but I hadn't expected to be still alive and kicking in 2016.

Today we are going on with our classic meets modern month and today our prompt is a classical kigo for winter, daikan (great cold). Let me take you back to one of our earlier posts this month "Shoukan" (less cold):

In nature (especially on the Northern Hemisphere) January is the coldest month of winter and in Japan they have nuanced it. In Japan you have Daikan (great cold) and Shoukan (less cold).
In Japan there are a lot nuances in winter and I love to share their ideas here with you. Shoukan(less cold) fall on the 15th day after Touji(winter solstice). It is on about January the 6th. Kan(cold season) continues from Shoukan to the day before of Risshun(the first day of spring). So they (the Japanese) refer to the period of these 30 days as Kan-no-uchi(midwinter) from Kan-no-iri(beginning of midwinter) to Kan-ake(the end of cold season). Daikan(great cold) is on the 15th day, around January 20th after Shoukan. It is by far the coldest through the year. It is wrong to refer to these 15 days between Shoukan and Daikan as Shoukan. Either Shoukan or Daikan shows only one day of the twenty four designated seasonal days.

As you can read above today (as I am creating this episode) it's daikan (great cold) and it points towards the coldest moment of winter and that's around this date. So there is not much to tell about "daikan". Let's go create haiku ...

I found a nice haiku in which this classical kigo is used:

daikan no heso utsukushiku shoo kannon

the beautiful navel
of this Sacred Kannon
in the great cold

© Oishi Toyoko

"Daikan" faces to February and that means that the great cold of winter is almost gone and that we are heading for spring. This theme I found in another haiku:

coldest day of the year -
the moon lifts the tide
to overflowing

© Hoshika Katsumi 

dark blue sky
enlightened by the full moon
the coldest day gone

© Chèvrefeuille

Not as strong as I had hoped but I think it's a nice example of "daikan".

And to make a nice closure to this episode about daikan (great cold) I found another haiku about "daikan" which refers to an ancient Japanese dish for this time of year.

Credits: shimotsukare

daikan ya aji natsukashiki shimotsukare

great cold -
the nostalgic taste of

© Koara san (Tr. Gabi Greve)

* Japanese for: to be tired of the frost

Here is a description of the dish, I could not find one word that would properly translate it ... and look at a nice haiga with it.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until January 23rd at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, a new CD-special episode, later on. Have fun!


  1. Kristjaan you warm and inspire each day of the year. Congrats on 900 wonderful episodes with many more to come.
    This one was personal as I watched the snow caress the yard and waited for my husband to safely arrive home.