freshly drawn today.
the japanese writing on the left says, “i-ro-ha”. it’s the beginning of a japanese poem, the iroha. nihongo (the japanese language) has a syllabary, not an alphabet. the iroha poem contains each syllable exactly once. it was written sometime in the heian era (794-1192, when kyoto was the capital), and was used as an ordering system for the japanese syllables (kana) until the meiji era (late 19th century).
the original japanese poem:
Though fragrant are the colors,
Yet shall the flowers scatter.
Who in our world
Could forever endure?
Over the mountain of transcendence
Let us today cross,
And there will be no more shallow dreams,
No more drunken illusions.
(translation from here)