uguisubari

Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Wooden floors specifically designed to creakor 'chirp' at the slightest pressure, thus warning the inhabitants of any surreptitious approach. The most famous surviving floors are in Kyoto at Nijo Castle, Japan.

Examples

  • The word uguiso also refers to a type of floor in Japanese architecture known as uguisubari, which translates as nightingale floor. Characterized by squeaking floorboards, their sounds are said to resemble the Japanese bush warbler’s low chirping, and are meant to be so designed to warn sleepers of the approach of intruders.

    M Dee Dubroff, ‘Nightingale Droppings: Japanese Beauty Secret Revealed,’ Weird Asia News, June 22, 2009

  • They constructed the verandahs throughout the edifice after so subtle a fashion that plank, as the foot falls on it, emits a of querulous chirp; which trick of mortise and tenon, idealistic Japanese, professing to detect in its results a resemblance to the inexpressibly dulcet trill of their country's nightingale, have pleased to call uguisubari.

    'A Visit to Japan,' The Living Age

  • A curious feature of Chio-in is the floors of its verandas and corridors. They are made of keyaki wood, the boards being loosely nailed down, so that as one walks over them, they move slightly, and in rubbing against each other emit a gentle creaking sound. The sound is very pleasing and so soft and musical as to suggest the twittering of birds. These floors are called by this most poetical of people, uguisu-bari, or 'nightingale floors,' and they certainly add greatly to the fascination of the temple.

    Herbert George Ponting, In Lotus-Land Japan

Note

‘Uguisubari’ translates from the Japanese as ‘nightingale floors.’

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