Otoyomegatari: Part 3

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Part 3 will be a shared post for the twins and Talas. The name Talas was likely inspired by either the Talas River (which runs through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) or the Talas Province of Kyrgyzstan. The twins’ names (Laila and Leyli) might’ve been inspired by Leyli o Majnun (“The Madman and Layla” in Persian), a love story that originated as a short, anecdotal poem in ancient Arabia and later significantly expanded and popularized in a literary adaptation by Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi.

Unlike, Amira and Karluk, our secondary characters’ hometowns are named. Talas lives in Karaza. I tried searching for this place on Google, but have not found any information on it. It is possible the romanization is off (as Talas is often translated using the Japanese pronunciation “Taras” or “Tarasu”) or the town could be a fictional one devised by Mori. However, if I had to guess, the town Karaza is likely in Karakalpakstan. Aside from the obvious reason of the area’s name coinciding with Talas’ ethnicity, there are two other reasons. The Karakalpak language is so close to Kazakh that some claim it is a dialect of it; considering it is Amira that Talas shares her feelings for Mr. Smith with, I think the high mutual intelligibility of their native languages helped Talas to more precisely describe her thoughts about the situation to Amira. Secondly, Mr. Smith later has to go west and cross the Aral Sea to get to Turkey. The Aral Sea is primarily in the Karakalpak region.

The twins are stated to be from the fishing town Mo‘ynoq, also spelled as Muynak and Moynaq. Mo’ynoq is a city in northern Karakalpakstan, meaning Mr. Smith didn’t get too far from Karaza before he met the the twins. The twins are also Tajik, meaning, like Amira and Karluk, they are not a majority group to the area. In fact, mnxmnkmnd.tumblr.com pointed out that Tajiks are not even Turkic, they are Persian! This raises some questions as to what language the twins speak, as there is little to no mutual intelligibility between Tajik and Turkic languages. Judging by the lack of trouble Mr. Smith has communicating with them (compared to the difficulty he has talking with Anis’ husband, who is implied to be Persian), I would say it’s safe to say the twins communicate in the Turkic language of that region.

It seems Mori prefers to focus on the smaller/less common groups of a region.

The Rusting and Abandoned Ships of the Aral Sea - Muynak was a busy fishing area with thousands of people who called the place home but when the water flowing into the Aral Sea was diverted to other areas beginning in the 1960′s the town began to shrink. The sea is also evaporating due to polluted runoff causing the water that does remain in the Aral Sea to be toxic and high in saline levels. There are several fishing ships and larger vessels that became stranded as the Aral Sea began to diminish ever so quickly from the 1980′s. The once busy fishing industry has dried up and now there are just the remains of what once was. by itsabandoned http://instagram.com/p/tCRFWsR2rh/

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