Oddest thing I've ever found...
January 13, 2012 10:07 PM   Subscribe

What means this?. Not sure if it's right-side-up.

Oddest thing I've ever found...
While out for a walk along the seawall I spotted what looked to be a large, well-made round canvas backpack on the rocks just above the tideline. There was nobody within sight to ask if it belonged to them so I clambered down the rocks to retrieve it.
When I got it back up to the pathway I took it to a nearby picnic table and opened it up. At first I thought it must be either some kind of portable barbeque or a small UFO but a bit of tapping on it produced some rather pleasant gamelan-like sounds.
Brought it home and after further investigation it turns out to be a PanArt Hang Drum. A bit more googling brings up some new-agey woo-woo at the PanArt website, various estimations of it's value and a few videos. I've been playing around with it and despite my utter lack of musical ability it's quite fun.
Anyhow, I'd like to get it back to it's rightful owner. Inside there were a few bits of paper. One appears to be an ad for a musical event in Japan and another is the linked note. Can anyone say if it might help find the owner?
I've put a lost & found ad on Craigslist but no replies yet.
We have quite a few Japanese students at the local university so I may go there tomorrow and put a notice or two up.
posted by islander to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's in Japanese and you need to turn it 90 degrees clockwise.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:18 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't read the whole thing. Here's what I did get:




The first line (right most column) is rasuto which is the English word "last".
The last line (kaeru) means "frog".

The middle part is beyond my meager ability to translate, because I can't figure out the kanji down in the bottom.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:25 PM on January 13, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for that, Chocolate Pickle. Perhaps the owner's name is Hopkin Green, although it doesn't sound very Japanese.
posted by islander at 10:43 PM on January 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The kanji is definitely monologue/self talk /soliloquy . Something about someone's final words, someone named Kaoru (both man's or woman's name).
posted by planetkyoto at 10:59 PM on January 13, 2012

The kanjis in the bottom seem to be 独白 (monologue). I think ごぴらっふの独白 is a poem by Shinpei Iwaki, who wrote about frogs.

There are several hits for ごぴらつふの独白 or ごぴらっふの独白 in Google, among them, this video and this book with a frog on the cover.

Here's another video, kind of creepy.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:08 PM on January 13, 2012

Well, on Youtube there are a few videos of something called "ごびらっふの独白," in particular this one which says something about "蛙語で書かれた詩人," "written in frog language." ...oh, I've been scooped by clearlydemon. But yeah.
posted by wintersweet at 11:14 PM on January 13, 2012

Hang Drums are beautiful instruments with a unique sound, they're handmade by a single workshop (in Switzerland I believe) - and if I recall correctly, the workshop decided a few years back to stop making them. The upshot is that the drums are highly prized by the people that own them, very rare, and often pretty valuable - and most of all I think there's a strong chance that there's a devastated owner out there somewhere! Good luck with trying to find them.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:31 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

PS where are you, islander? Your profile doesn't say. My Google Fu is fairly strong, so I'd be happy to hit the Google with various combinations of last frog, iwaki, japanese, hang drum, your locality etc. to see if I can turn anything up.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:34 AM on January 14, 2012

PS wonder if this could be anything? Probably a very long shot in the dark, but after Googling "ごぴらっふの独白" (not that I have a clue what that means, of course), and choosing 'videos' in Google, one of the few results is this one - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TuidTK6Gxk - which is of some people playing hand percussion, although not a hang drum. I think, looking at other videos by that user, that they either are a percussionist, or closely associated with a percussionist, eg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CE5iPwsfRA
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:40 AM on January 14, 2012

I think the word in parenthesis is the female name Kaeko, not kaeru (frog). That's how people write ko when they're writing fast.
posted by vincele at 6:48 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are on west coast north america, maybe it it tsunami debris?
posted by empatterson at 7:03 AM on January 14, 2012

Oh, one other thing, I know it's an extreme outside chance at the moment that the videos above are associated with the right person, but I notice that that Youtube channel has a website associated with it - http://daidanen.web.fc2.com/index.htm - again, they're a percussionist. If nothing else, perhaps they could shed extra light on the note inside the case - and perhaps the other flyer you mentioned was with it? There's a contact address on that website - maybe one of the japanese speakers here could drop them a line?
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2012

Right, final post for now - was just going to say you could also try sites like http://www.hangfan.co.uk/theboard/. As I said, there really aren't that many of these things, and people follow / prize them highly, so it might be that you'd get some useful connections from the communities, too. (Also, if you expend months of effort and end up absolutely unable to locate the owner, can I have it? :D I'll give you, oogh, you know, a couple of bucks...)
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all!

Still no reply to the Craigslist ad so I'm off to put up a few posters around town.
I'm in Nanaimo BC by the way.
posted by islander at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2012

Response by poster: Happy ending update...
The owner went to the park where I found it to put up a lost poster and she saw my found poster.
She's a lovely and charming Japanese-Canadian student at the local uni and was tearfully grateful to have her cherished instrument back. Nice way to start the day.
posted by islander at 12:44 PM on January 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Awesome work islander! Well done. Thanks for the update. I told you the owner would be grateful :) By the way, did you check out Youtube etc. to see what these wierd but beautiful objects can do? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS8eipuXYWg etc. Well done again.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2012

Aw, yay! Good on you for trying -- I think a lot of times we tell ourselves "there's no way!" and don't bother. Glad it worked out this time.
posted by wintersweet at 10:50 PM on January 20, 2012

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