Glyph of the word 'pika'.


  • (n.) thunder
  • (v.) for there to be thunder, to thunder
  • (adj.) thunderous, like thunder

Li ioku pika ti’ia poiu…
“Take not thy thunder from us…”

Notes: But take away our pride… There is way too much to say about this, so let’s get right to it!

Number 3

Iron Maiden's album Piece of Mind

Piece of Mind (1983)

“Revelations” is a true heavy metal anthem. It begins (after a kind of prelude) with the recitation of a poem by the enigmatical G. K. Chesterton (good writer, despite all else), and then dives into a kind of symbolic Egyptian tale that encompasses all that’s epic. Years before Nirvana (and even the Pyxies [though several years after Black Sabbath, who invented the trick (and several centuries after Beethoven, who probably had the prior claim)]), this song moves from a slow, lilting tempo in the verse to a fast-paced solo, back to the slow verse, and then to the intro bit which is somewhere in between. It’s strong the whole way through, and has a great finish (“Bind all of us together / Ablaze with hope, and free / No storm or heavy weather / Will rock the boat, you’ll see”). I stood and saluted the first time I heard it. Truly one of their very best.

Now to the word of the day. As you may have guessed, something inspired me to coin this word. What, you might ask? Well, even though I’ve posted about him once before, here he is again!


Yes, Pikachu, that darling little thunder mouse, directly inspired the Kamakawi word for “thunder”. But choosing pika for the word for “thunder” led to no small amount of other coincidences.

You may have noticed that this iku is tagged as both an ikunoala and an ikuleyaka. In fact, when I went to make the image for this iku, I went to the section of my font where ikunoala are stored and couldn’t find it. Turns out it was in the ikuleyaka section, and that’s when I realized that this iku is kind of a “pun”, in the visual sense.

The overall body of the iku is, of course, the glyph for pi. The line down the middle, though, can either be the glyph for ka, or the “bad” line determinative. Evidently when I created the glyph, I was thinking first of the “bad” line determinative. It’s there to indicate the danger of thunder (in that it’s commonly associated with lightning, which can be dangerous [but, hey, thunder’s loud, and it can kind of hurt your ears, if they’re tender… Or if it’s really loud, you might not hear someone say, “Don’t step on that sea urchin!”, and then you’d be in for it!]), but serves well as a reminder of the ka in the second half of the word.

If you look at this iku kind of slantwise, though, it kind of looks like a crouching Pikachu with a line going through him (and even another way of looking at it is to imagine the zigzags of pi being something like lightning zigzags. It kind of works!). That, as it turns out, is reminiscent of something from my life.

Back in 1999, all my friends became obsessed with this Nintendo game called Smash Bros. Whenever we got together, they would insist on playing it. This persisted when the sequel came out, and started up again in 2008 when the third one came out. They loved this game to death.

I, of course, hated it. No idea why. I like the characters, and like fighting games and competition in general (I was raised on Street Fighter and Bomberman). I’ve just never—ever—liked this game. I’ve never liked any incarnation of it, and still don’t. I’ve played it a lot, though. And, both as a matter of tradition and so I don’t have to learn any other character’s moves, I always choose the same character to play when I have to: Pikachu.


Pikachu basically has three moves (he has a fourth, but I could never do it right): He can stand at a distance and shoot little thunderbolts at people, which annoys the crunk out of them; he can teleport around, deftly avoiding attacks; and he can call down a lightning bolt on himself that hits anyone who touches it, and when he does so, he shouts out, “PIKA!” It actually kind of looks like the iku for pika, too!

Pika calling down lightning!

So basically, whenever I play, I stand far, far away and shoot people until they get annoyed and come at me, at which point in time I start calling down lightning—and if they get too close, I dash away and hide.

Oh, but I forgot to mention the best part. If you play Pikachu, you can change his palette, and give him a series of darling little hats! Here’s the set for the 2008 game:

Pikachu wearing different little hats!

When I play that one, I usually go with the goggles, but my favorite was always the blue wizard hat, which you could use in the first or second game (the palette choices for the second game are shown below):

Pikachu wearing more cute little hats!

Pikachu may not be the strongest character, but he is, by far, the cutest. And, hey, if you look at it the right way, the iku for pika kind of looks like Pikachu wearing a little hat!

Use your imagination. :)

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One Response to “Pika”

  1. Ka kavaka Rejistania ti:

    I like this word of the day! I have to admit that I like inside jokes in conlangs in general. :)

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