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maji-maji to daruma modoki no futon kana

my eyes glaring, glaring--
just like Dharma
in my futon

The word maji-maji has three meanings: "blinkingly," "hesitantly" and "brazenly." The latter seems to fit here.

Shinji Ogawa agrees. He explains, "The important matter is that it is Issa who is brazening glaring at himself wrapped in the futon; he looks like St. Dharma, or a Dharma doll."

I wonder how Issa glares at himself. Is there, perhaps a mirror nearby? I side-step this issue in my translation.

Dharma (Bodhidharma) is the patriarch who brought Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism from India to China.

The daruma doll comes with white, blank eyes. The idea is to make a wish while drawing in the pupil of one of its eyes. When the wish is fulfilled, one draws the other eye.

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All translations © 1991-2010 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.