notes about book 9
the heck is Koinu singing?
baritone in the school choir, remember?is singing a couple of
arias from Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte,
known in English
as The Magic Flute. How well is he singing them? He's an enthusiastic
bathtub baritone singing two pieces intended for bass baritone, which
is below his range. Well enough for bathroom use.
are sound samples available on line at the Naxos classical music site.
The folks at Naxos have been warned that we're linking there, and
they're being good sports about it. At the beginning, Koinu's singing
# 03, Papageno's aria about being a birdcatcher. Later he switches
to Sarastro's O Isis and Osiris, #11.
is The Magic Flute doing in this book?
Magic Flute is a looney opera intended for the popular market,
written to get Mozart a few bucks. Mozart being Mozart, he wrote a
masterpiece. The story is the stuff of comic books, a mishmash of
mythology, folklore, and dime novel histrionics. It has a lot of elements
we find disagreeable todayracist, sexistbut also some
that apply to our story. The hero and heroine find each other, lose
hope, she contemplates suicide, they go through adventures and trials
and death and finally come together. There is a magic sword (which
is what caught Koinu's attention). And there is Papageno, the comic
reliefthe birdcatcher who does it wrong but still gets the girl
in the end. Sound like anybody we know?
spends the opera carrying a wicker cage on his back, a basket-like
cage for holding the birds he catches. And that brings us to:
already referred to the Kagome-Kagome game a few times. It's a circle
game everybody knows in Japanthe equivalent of, say, Ring Around
the Rosy in the United States. The game is very oldsome of the
language is much older than the Warring States era. Roughly translated,
the words are:
When does the
bird in the cage come out?
At sunset and sunrise.
Who is behind the one in front
When the crane and the turtle slipped and fell?
see Chris Rijk's translation)
can hear the music for the game at this website.
can see a group of children playing the game at this one.
you go to, say, Babelfish for a translation of an Inuyasha site, you'll
see Kagome's name translated as Basket (plus a symbol). One explanation
I found of the Kagome game suggests that the game is about a pregnancy.
Kago-me would translate as female basket or basket womanthe
woman being the container, the basket or cage holding the baby. When
does the bird in the cage come out? asks when the baby will be
born. The story might a sad oneat sunset or sunrise (do
you know what Higurashi means?)could mean we don't know when
or it could mean never. The turtle and crane go together in
Japanese folklore as symbols of longevity and good luck. When they
fall down, things fall apart, the center will not hold.
this in mind, you can see that Papageno isn't the only one who carries
a basket on his back . . . and you can see how all these undertones
are hidden in the story.
few words about anorexia nervosa
this issue, Koinu expresses concern that Kagome is suffering from
anorexiaby which he means anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder
that particularly afflicts teenaged girls and young women. Anorexia
nervosa is a potentially fatal illness that can be difficult to treat,
and most sufferers never entirely recover. It isn't something that
can be cured by a single meal of ramen delivered by even the most
loving and persistent of boyfriends. That's not what's wrong with
Kagome (there will be more about Kagome's situation later in this
three-part segment), and I have no intention of suggesting that Koinu's
ministrations and storytelling are curing this challenging disorder.
Comic Pages Table of Contents
broken images/links, to the webmaster.