DEALL Grad Students Gather at Mirror Lake

October 23, 2020

DEALL Grad Students Gather at Mirror Lake


On Saturday, October 17, 2020 a small group of DEALL graduate students took a break from their busy schedules and gathered at Mirror Lake.  They met briefly to enjoy socially-distanced conversation in the Autumn colors.  Shun Maruyama, president of GREALL (the DEALL grad student organization), prepared an Autumn-themed poem in Japanese and English translation.  Ke Yuan, a new linguistics student from China finally got to interact "live" with some of her peers in the department.  Johnny Bundschuh and Hunter Klie, students in Japanese literature and Chinese pedagogy (respectively) helped drive the conversations as the group appreciated the clear Autumn day in this most unusual of years.  -- Mark Bender, DEALL Chair

Shunichi Maruyama had these thoughts on the poem the prepared to be read at the outing (as it turns out, there was so much conversation, the poem was not read -- so it is shared here, for all to enjoy):

The one poem I was thinking about was the autumn Tanka poem written by Ryozen in the mid-Heian period. This piece was one of the famous poems from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poets, One Hundred Poems).


さびしさに 宿をたちいでて 眺むれば

いづこも同じ 秋の夕暮れ


With a lonely heart,

I step outside my hut,

and look around

Everywhere's the same

autumn at dusk


In the traditional interpretation, the poet stepped out of the hut and saw the beautiful autumn scene that resonated with the poet's loneliness. However, I wanted to re-interpret it to apply this poem to our current situation. Under this pandemic, people are stuck at home and being lonely. Once you have stepped out of your place, you will see the same autumn dusk that you saw last year. The old same autumn dusk motivated me to overcome this pandemic and to be excited to see the same scene next year in the post-pandemic era. That's why I chose this poem to think about this particular autumn. (Shunichi Maruyama)