While working on my “salty mug” photo experiments – pouring a mixture of boiling water and Kosher salt into unglazed mugs, and watching the salt extrude through the clay cup walls – I came across an exquisite unglazed teacup.
Oh man, this would look so awesome to have the salt ooze through the carved characters on the chalice.
The eBay seller advertised that the teacup was Japanese, which I thought was kinda cool. And the teacup had a little internal shelf for storing your tea bags as they seeped in hot water, which was totally swank in and of itself.
But I didn’t know what the Japanese characters on the handmade teacup said.
I needed to find someone who could translate Japanese into English.
So I went to the online website reddit. Have I ever mentioned in the past on this blog that I have a love-hate relationship with reddit?
And I asked the members of the subreddit r/translator if they could decipher these Japanese words.
Immediately I received a response back from the community.
And boy did I make an ass of myself.
They’re not Japanese characters.
Apparently the cup’s carvings contain a simple proverb, 知足常乐, which translates to: “Enough is as good as a feast. / You may go farther and fare worse.”
In other words, there is no value in excess. Most people know this as an old Buddhist proverb. Unfortunately for me, the only way I know this truism is from a popular motion picture. Or to put it this way…
I hope she knows I’m boiling Kosher salt in this mug, it’s not designed for a spoonful of sugar…
But still… I feel like a total moron. And all this time, I’m thinking, “Wow, Miller, you can’t tell Chinese from Japanese?” Okay, Kuni, this is your cue.
Another redditor was kind enough to provide a little cartoon that differentiates, for bonkbrains like me, a simple way to know if that Asian script is either Japanese, Chinese or Korean. I’m reposting it here.
Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
I mean, this is an awesome-looking teacup.
Kinda hate to subject it to the salty mug experiment…
Oh well… Worse comes to worse, I can wash out the salt and just keep it as a decorative teacup. Nothing wrong with doing that…
I’ll go get the Kosher salt and boiling water, and let you know how things turned out with the experiment.
Man, I feel like such a moron… ugh.