Taneri Certainly Seemed to Be Chewing All Day Long

Taneri mutters lispingly to himself
Little Taneri looked at the clouds, streaming by like a net over the blue sky, and cried out,

    "Oh! Clothing for the Sun is being knitted in the sky;
    no, it's not just the Sun's clothing that is being knitted.
    Then is it Gosuke the wind of the west?
    No, it's not Gosuke the wind of the west.
    Then is it Housuke the wasp?
    Nope, it's not Housuke the wasp.
    Then is it Tousuke the lark?
    Nope, it's not Tousuke the lark."

As he chattered away like this, Taneri himself became confused and did not know what he was saying. Then, he put a bit of wisteria vine in his mouth and chewed it over and over into a pulp.
The hazy mood in early spring In "Taneri Certainly Seemed to Be Chewing All Day Long," Taneri goes to a hillside to play and calls out to some oak trees, a toad, and a crested ibis who are just beginning to wake from their winter hibernation. Since he says whatever comes to mind in a lisping and indistinct manner, much of what he says cannot be understood. However, one could say that it is this unintelligible quality of Taneri's words that captures the hazy and indeterminate mood imparted by the fields, hills, and woods in early spring.
A variety of Taneri's emotions A variety of emotions run through Taneri -- the excitement of going to play in the field where spring has finally arrived, the loneliness of having his plea of "play with me, please" ignored by the oak trees and the ibis, and the fear of encountering a creature similar to the dog god in the woods. And it is Taneri's indistinct speech that envelopes the whole story with a humorous tone.

The wisteria vines chewed by Taneri The wisteria vines that Taneri chews throughout this story have been "frozen all winter long and then shredded finely." The strips are to be chewed until soft and then knitted to make clothing. Taneri chews the vines as his mother asks him to do, but since he is preoccupied with playing, he spits them out in the field and woods.
When his mother asks, "Did you chew all the wisteria vines?," Taneri answers absentmindedly, "No, I lost them somewhere." Then, in response to her anger, he says, "Um, but I seemed to be chewing all day long." Thereupon, his mother, seeing Taneri's expression and relieved to have him home, tells him, "Is that so. Then that's all right."

Humor in Kenji's Stories
Wind, rain, snow---
The World of Kenji's Works
The World of Kenji Miyazawa