Wednesday, January 23 2013

Ponponyama

Hunting for interesting excursions in the general vicinity of Kyoto, a small marker on Google Maps caught my eye: ポンポン山. Now why, I thought, would a mountain, even a small one, have a katakana name? The Japanese Wikipedia entry says that the sound of footsteps is generally accepted as the answer, but also that the name only dates back to the Meiji era, and before that it had the more prosaic name Kamoseyama.

Note that searching for ポンポン山 will find many pictures of the sign at the summit announcing its height of 678.9 meters, but also pictures of large-breasted women (“pom-pom mountains”). Honestly, these days I’d be disappointed if a search in Japanese didn’t include pictures of large-breasted women, because Japan.