Where is Lolo?

As soon as my kids got out of school for the Spring Festival (mid-February), I stuffed them in the car and headed up to Harbin to see the Ice Festival. We passed a village on Route 202 called 拉林 (lālín), and it crossed my mind that with a little phonetic change, maybe it used to be Lolo, the village mentioned in the opening sentence of The Book of the Nisan Shaman.  On the way back I stopped there to get some snacks and found that it was a Manchu village and there was Manchu writing on signs everywhere. Continue reading Where is Lolo?

The Book of the Nishan Shaman 09

Previous instalments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

[Paweł has now completed the draft translation of the entire book (there will be 22 installments in all), and now the two of us are meticulously going through the translation, word by word, exhaustively investigating every possibility where there is anything strange about the text.  This particular installment proved to be the most challenging so far, especially near the end where we made some interesting discoveries.  Enjoy!  –RA] Continue reading The Book of the Nishan Shaman 09

Caise

In the fifth installment of The Book of the Nisan Shaman there is a word “caise” mentioned as being a kind of food that is prepared for Sergudai Fiyanggo’s funeral.  Pawel looked up the word in P. Schmidt, “Chinesische Elemente im Mandschu. Mit Wörterverzeichnis” in: Asia Major volume 7, 1932, and found a strange Chinese character.  He referred me to the entry in the dictionary:

caise_entry

I couldn’t find that character anywhere, and neither could several people I asked, so I sent the entry to Victor Mair.  After several days of hunting, he finally tracked it down.  He says that when he finally spotted it in Hanyu Da Zidian, 5.3164, he “laughed / sobbed bitterly / mournfully”.  The following is a guest post by Victor Mair: Continue reading Caise