“I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain”: RAIN as a Seasonal Word

Writing haiku brings the poet closer to nature and the natural world around them. This is the feature I enjoy most about writing haiku.

Rain, Drops, City, Streets, Drizzle

Part of displaying one’s closeness with their environment is by noticing ch-ch-ch-changes in the natural world and incorporating them into a haiku. Generally speaking, these seasonal expressions are called kigo 季語.

Haiku poets of the Bashō school maintain that each haiku must include a seasonal word (kigo 季語). For poets of English haiku who wish to follow Bashō’s tradition as closely as possible, English seasonal-words are indispensable.

As one would guess, many seasonal words relate to climate and to “rain” in particular. Here’s an article from Japan-talk.com listing 50 words/ expressions for “rain” in Japanese. There are photos interspersed with the terms. Some of the terms at the beginning of the list are not so interesting to me, but there are some good ones down towards the bottom.

This list is really useful for writing haiku because it allows people to think of rain from a perspective other than their own. I for one get in the rut of using the same words all the time. Reading this list refreshed my memory to words/expressions I have not used in a while.

 

How many expressions are there for rain in English?

I typed “rain” into Thesaurus.com and 35 results came back:

deluge

drizzle

flood

hail

mist

monsoon

precipitation

rainfall

rainstorm

shower

showers

sleet

stream

torrent

cloudburst

condensation

fall

flurry

pour

pouring

raindrops

sheets

spate

spit

sprinkle

sprinkling

volley

cat-and-dog weather

drencher

heavy dew

liquid sunshine

precip

sun shower

wet stuff

window washer

With all these words for rain, in both English and Japanese, how does one express No Rain?

 

 

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