The Akita International Haiku Network is now organizing Japan – Russia Haiku Contest(日露俳句コンテスト), sponsored by The JAL Foundation(日航財団).

The JAL Foundation has just contributed Haiku By World Children Vol.10 : Impressions of Wind (かぜのうた) for the contest.

 

Here is a photo of the haiku book.

 

 

 

You can get the haiku book through amazon.co.jp.

 

Here is Prologue “Sense of Life by Tota Kaneko.

It says in the first paragraph as follows.

 

When I heard that the 10th edition of Haiku by World Children was being published, it reminded me of one haiku that was in its first edition published about 20 years ago and has somehow stayed in my mind all these years:

It read:

 

     Hey, bamboo shoots

     They are going to take

     My cast off too!

                   Yohei Hatagami (Translated by Jack Stamm)

                                                             (Continued.)

 

生き物感覚 金子兜太(俳人)

『地球歳時記』の第十集が出ると聞いて、二十年ほど前の第一集で読んで妙に忘れられないでいる作品をすぐ思い出していた。それは、

           たけのこよぼくもギブスがとれるんだ(畑上 洋平)

                                                         (続く)

 

Here are some photos of the haiku and pictures by world children. And the other paragraphs of Prologue sometimes appear among them.

 

 

 

The author was a seven-year-old Japanese boy. In this haiku, two scenes blend quite naturally like a duet – bamboo shoots shedding their skin layer by layer and this boy having his plaster cast removed gradually as his recovery progresses. I was impressed by the high caliber of this haiku. To this boy, he and the bamboo shoot must have been one. He must have sensed that they were both living things sharing a common life force.                                                     ( Continued.)

 

作者は日本人の七歳の男の子。筍(たけのこ)の皮が次々に剥がれて(はがれて)落ちてゆく様子と、少年自身のギブスが、回復にともなってとれてゆく様子が、ごく自然に重なって(重奏感があって)、スケールの大きい俳句だと感銘したのである。少年にとっては、自分も筍も同体だったのだろう。どっちも同じ生き物として感覚していたのだ。                              (続く)

 

 

I call such sense the “sense of life”. It can be wrapped up in the broader concept of animism, but I call it the sense of life in reference to the art of expression. This sense comes quite naturally with children, but I was wondering how that is with adults. For starters, I ask Matsuo Basho as he was the man who had established haiku as a form of poetry.                                                                                                  (Continued.)

 

 私はこの少年の感覚を「生き物感覚」と言っている。「アニミズム」という呼び方で包んでしまってよいわけだが、表現行為に直結させてそう言う。子どもだけでなく―

子どもにとっては極く(ごく)自然なのだが―おとなの場合はどうかと思って、まず松尾芭蕉(まつおばしょう)に問いかけてみた。芭蕉は俳句を詩として確立した人である。 (続く)             

 

 

Basho had an answer to my question as, in his later years, he used to say “make haiku as children play” or “let the 3-foot-tall child in you be the poet”. But he himself could not do so. Basho could not allow himself to become a child because he and his haiku became the subject of literary criticism, as exemplified by his works being summarized under the literary concept of “karumi (lightness).” Basho had regretted this until he breathed his last.                                  (Continued.)

 

芭蕉は承知していた。晩年になって、「俳諧(はいかい)を子どもの遊ぶごとくせよ」 とか、「三尺の童(わらべ)にさせよ」と言ったのである。しかし芭蕉にはできなかった。「かるみ」という文芸概念(ぶんげいがいねん)でくくられているように、文芸論として語られて、芭蕉自身は「子ども」にはなれなかったからである。だから死ぬまで悔しがっていた。                           (続く)

 

 

But there were some adults who had been blessed with the sense of life. I see such examples in haiku composed by Hirose Izen, one of Basho’s followers, while he was wandering through various provinces after Basho was gone. For example:

 

     Japanese plum flowers

     red, red

     red, indeed

 

     A water bird

     sliding to the other bank

     straight, swift and quiet

                                                               (Continued.)

 

しかし、おとなでも生きもの感覚に恵まれていた人もいた。私は芭蕉の弟子の広瀬惟然(ひろせいぜん)が師亡きあと、諸国を放浪しながらつくった句のなかにそれを見出すことがある。たとえば、

 

       うめのはな赤いは赤いはあかいはな

      水鳥やむかふの岸へつういつうい

                                                                          (続く)

 

 

 

Kobayashi Issa, whom I consider Basho’s true successor, made a good number of such haiku including:

 

    Front teeth loosening

    like poppies unstable

    in the breeze

 

Issa was seeing something in common between his front teeth starting to come loose and poppy petals swaying in the breeze – a commonality as living beings, a common life force.                                                              (Continued.)

 

また、私が芭蕉の正当な後継者と見ている小林一茶(こばやしいっさ)の句にも、けっこうある。たとえば、

 

       花げしのふはつくような前歯哉

 自分のぐらつきだした前歯と芥子(けし)の花びらも、まったく同じ生きものとして、そのいのちを感覚していたのである。                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             (続く)

 

 

 

I am a firm believer that any adult can possess the sense of life. In my view, such an adult has something in common with an innocent child. My old friend Jack Stamm was such a man. He helped translate haiku composed by contestants from around the world in the series’ early editions and his excellent translations were well-known. I am sure up in the heaven he is pleased at the news of this 10th edition.

 

note:

Haiku of Hirose Izen and Kobayashi Issa presented above were translated by Akira Nakagiri.  (The End.)

 

.「生きもの感覚」はおとなにも可能、と確信しているのだが、そうしたおとなは、どこか無邪気で子どもに共通しているところがある。この歳時記のはじめのころ、英訳に協力していたジャック・スタムの名訳は有名だったが、かれは子どものような人だった。十集の発刊を天国で喜んでいることだろう。                                                                                                                                              (終わり)

 

Lastly, we sincerely hope that you will enjoy Haiku in your own ways or through Haiku contest.

 

The next posting ‘Haiku by World Children : Impressions of School’ appears on May 26.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta ( Member of HIA)

 

 

On August 1, 1689, Basho visited Kisakata (象潟), Akita Prefecture (秋田県),  Northern Honshu, on his journey.

Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi .

Here I take up the latter part of this section.

 

此寺の方丈に座して簾を捲ば、風景一眼の中に尽て、南に鳥海、天をさヽえ、其陰うつりて江にあり、西はむやむやの関、路をかぎり、東に堤を築て、秋田にかよふ道遥に、海北にかまえて、浪打入る所を汐こしと云。江の縦横一里ばかり、俤松島にかよひて、又異なり。松島は笑ふが如く、象潟はうらむがごとし。寂しさに悲しみをくはえて、地勢魂をなやますに似たり。

 

Here is a painting of Kisakata exhibited at the Kanmanji Temple.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:

http://staff.aist.go.jp/nakano.shun/Jap/Chokai/news/recently.html

 

Donald Keene translated this part into English as follows:

 

  Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, I rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea break into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing. Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.

Kisakata resembles Matsushima, but there is a difference. Matsushima seems to be smiling, but Kisakata wears a look of grief. There is a sadness mingled with the silent calm, a configuration to trouble the soul.

 

Basho’s last lines say that there is something woeful about Kisakata.

I wonder if Basho predicted that such a natural disaster as earthquake might occur in Kisakata in the future.

 

In fact, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land.

 

Here is a photo of the backyard of the Kanmanji Temple in Kisakata, 321 years after Basho’s visit.

 

 

 

Koji Otomo, curator at Shoji Taro Memorial Museum in Akita-city, contributed his poems on the earth to our network.

 

春愁 無情         Spring Woe   No Mercy

東海林太郎音楽館館長 大友康二

 

大地 ゆらぐ日                 On the day when the earth quakes

海 怒りて                          the sea gets furious

慟哭                                   cries bitterly  

三陸の海を                         the Sanriku coast

引き裂く                              tears into pieces

 

花 待つことなく                  Flowers wait for no man

人 逝く                             those there pass away

波に 消える                     vanish into waves 

あわれ                               alas!

 

世界に ただひとつ            The only nation in the world

被爆の国 ニッポン             the atom-bombed nation, Japan 

その空に                             in the skies

白い光の 恐怖                   the terrors of white rays

 

六十有余年           A little more than 60 years             

問われる 政治                   what has politics done?

問われる いのち                what is life?

喪われた こころ                  lost hearts

 

なぜ                                     Why?

どうして                               for what reason?

繰り返すことばは                the repeated words  

がれきに 吸い込まれ          are absorbed into rubbles

沈黙(しじま) 空しく            silence is empty 

 

潰滅の地に                         In the annihilated areas

おののきばかり                   there remain nothing but shivers

人 ただ侘(た)つ                those there have only to mourn

 

ふるさとの こころに             In the heart of home

槌音 響くは                        hammering sounds will resound

いつの日か                          when is it?

  

Here is a photo of the ruined fortress (払田柵)in Akita Prefecture(秋田県), constructed in the Heian period(平安時代)(794-1185).

 

 

 

Haikuists in Akita contributed haiku to our network.

They are members of the haiku group: Ten’I (Providence)天為俳句会led by Dr. Akito Arima主宰 有馬朗人).

 

余震なほ朔太郎忌の星月夜         伊藤沐雨 (Mokuu Ito)

 

aftershocks come

on the starlit night

Sakutaro’s anniversary

 

燭台に朱のろうそくや余震来る         伊藤智子 (Satoko Ito)

                                                               

on the candlestick

vermeil candles burning

the aftershock comes

 

大津波退きオリオンの煌めける         伊藤慶子 (Keiko Ito)

                                                               

huge tsunami gone out

Orion’s Belt

sparkling

 

大地震の果てなる春の浅きかな      五十嵐義知 (Yoshitomo Igarashi)

                                                                         

great earthquake over

this spring

how transient!

 

なにもかも攫はれし地に黄水仙         笹尾巳生子 (Mioko Sasao)

                                                                            

everything lost

in the waste land

jonquils bloom

 

鎮魂の瓦礫の町に春の雪            進藤八重子 (Yaeko Shindo)

                                                                            

consoling

the towns of devastation

spring snow

 

奥入瀬の激しき調べ春の霜            鈴木東亜子 (Toako Suzuki)

                                                                              

intense music

of the Oirase River

spring frost

 

浴槽の揺れの余震や春寒             寺田恵子 (Keiko Terata)

                                                                           

the aftershock

of bathtub shaking

spring cold

 

被災地につくしたんぽぽなずなかな     山内誠子 (Seiko Yamanouchi)

                                                                         

for the devastated areas

field horsetail’s shoots,

dandelions, and shepherd’s purses

 

囀に小さな森の膨らめり              和田仁 (Jin Wada)

                                                                           

birdsongs resounding

the small woods seem

bigger and bigger

 

 

Here is a photo of daffodils and local springwater (郷清水) in Akita Prefecture.

 

 

 

Hiroko Kawashiri (川尻弘子) in Akita contributed haiku too.

 

地震止みて運河に重き春の雪

 

the earthquake over

too heavy for the canal

spring snow

 

誰からか呼ばれたやうな朧月

 

the pale moon

i feel like…

someone is calling

 

 

Last of all, let me post my haiku.

 

草青む払田柵やよみがえる

 

grasses growing

over the ruined fortress

reconstructing

 

The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (5)’ appears on May 28.

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

On August 1, 1689, Basho visited Kisakata (象潟), Akita Prefecture (秋田県),  Northern Honshu, on his journey.

Basho wrote about Kisakata in his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi as follows:

 

江山水陸の風光数を尽くして、今象潟に方寸を責。酒田の湊より東北の方、山を越、磯を伝ひ、いさごをふみて其際十里、日影やゝかたぶく比、汐風真砂を吹上、雨朦朧として鳥海の山かくる。闇中に莫作して「雨も又奇也」 とせば、雨後の晴色又頼母敷と、あまの苫屋に膝をいれて、雨の晴を待。其朝天能霽れて、朝日花やかにさし出る程に、象潟に舟をうかぶ。

先能因島に舟をよせて、三年幽居の跡をとぶらひ、むかふの岸に舟をあがれば、「花の上こぐ」とよまれし桜の老木、西行法師の記念をのこす。

 

Here is a painting of Kisakata in those days.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy; as per original copyright at:

http://www.touhoku.com/0a-03-kisakata.htm

 

Donald Keene translated this section into English as follows:

 

  After having seen so many splendid views of both land and sea, I could think of nothing now but Kisakata. We journeyed to the northeast from the port of Sakata, climbing over hills, following along the shore, plodding through the sand, a distance of about twenty miles in all. As the sun was sinking in the sky a breeze from the sea stirred up the sand, and a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Chokai Mountain. We groped ahead in the darkness. I felt sure that if Kisakata was exquisite in the rain, it would prove no less wonderful when it cleared. We squeezed into a fisherman’s thatch-covered hut and waited for the rain to stop.

  The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, we took a boat out on the lagoon of Kisakata. We put in first at Noin Island, where we visited the remains of the hut in which Noin lived in seclusion for three years. On the opposite shore, when we landed from our boat, we saw the old cherry tree that stands as a memento of Saigyo.

 

In fact, there were 99 small islands and 88 lagoons in Kisakata in those days and the people enjoyed beautiful sceneries or fishing by boat around the islands.

 

However, on July 10, 1804, a big earthquake occurred in Kisakata about 105 years after Basho’s visit there. The earthquake caused upheaval of ground by 2.4 meters. As a result, the lagoons were changed into dry land.

Now most of those lagoons have turned into rice fields or residential areas, but there are the remains of those days left there.

You can see such remains as the Noin Island, the boat-tying stone, or small islands in the article Basho’s Stay in Kisakata (1) at the site : http://akitahaiku.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/

 

Here is a photo of present-day Kisakata, 200 years after the earthquake, which was exhibited at Kisakata Local Museum in Nikaho-city, in June , 2004.(にかほ市象潟郷土資料館企画展2004年6月).

 

 

 

As posted already above, Donald Keene, the ex- member of the President’s Advisory Board at Akita International University(AIU)(国際教養大学), kindly contributed part of his English translation for Matsuo Basho’s travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi to our network.

This is because AIU President Mineo Nakajima (中嶋嶺雄) asked Donald Keene for his permission for us to use part of his translation.  

 

Kirby Record, a professor at AIU, teaching as director of English for Academic Purposes, also contributed his haiku to us. 

Haiku by K. Record

On the Earthquake

 

Villages of rubble        瓦礫の村々

Everything washed away    何もかも流される 

But the still-blue sky        しかし静かで青い空

 

 

Clutched in the hand     手でしっかりとつかんでいる

Of a child, floating face down—

             子供の手に、顔を下にして浮かんでいる―

Her favorite doll        彼女の大好きな人形

Yukari Sakamoto (阪本縁), a graduate from AIU, wrote haiku on the earthquake.

なごり雪大地が動き沈黙す

Unseasonable snow 
In silence
While the earth quakes
 

水仙が顔を差し出すがれきの山

Blooming daffodils

Alongside
A heap of debris
 

 

Susan Smela, who studied at AIU in 2010, is now a student at Beloit College in Wisconsin, USA.

On March 25, 2011, Susan sent me an e-mail , saying that they all heard about the huge earthquake in America, and many of them are raising money to help Japan.

Susan also said that she introduced haiga in America, and that she was able to hold a haiga meeting with students from her university (Beloit College in Wisconsin) and teach some basics of haiga and haiku.

It was a great time and the copies she made from my book really helped illustrate what she was talking about. They did some practices, then went in a circle, with 3 people writing one line of a haiku and the 4th person drawing a haiga-style picture.

Here are some photos Susan’s friend took from the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yasushi Sato (佐藤康), a member of Akita International Haiku Network, contributed his haiku to us.

 

大地震に無慈悲の限り春の雪

spring snow
mercilessly falling on
earthquake-devastated towns

 


大津波言葉空しく春寒し

so devastating tsunami
any words powerless
spring
 relentlessly cold

 

 

Junko Masuda (桝田純子), a member of Akita International Haiku Network, contributed her haiku to us too.

 

復興の未来信じて花ひらく

 

sakura  sakura  bloom

believing in the future

Tohoku region

 

 

Last of all, let me post my haiku.

 

舟止めは夢のまた夢ねぶの花

 

tying a boat

i cannot even dream

mimosa blossoms

 

The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (4)’ appears on May 21.

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

In the first posting, I took up Basho’s haiku from his travel diary The Narrow Road to Oku, 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi .

In his diary, Basho seems to have left Hope for us Japanese.

Here is another translation by Donald Keene (ドナルド・キーン).

 

夏草や兵どもが夢の跡          

 

natsukusa ya           The summer grasses –

tsuwamono domo ga     Of brave soldiers’ dreams

yume no ato             The aftermath.               

 

Here is a photo of the tablet of Basho’s haiku.

 

 

 

Basho also wrote haiku about the Chusonji Temple (中尊寺) in Hiraizumi (平泉), Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) in his diary :

 

兼て耳驚したる二堂開張す。経堂は三将の像をのこし、光堂は三代の棺を納め、三尊の仏を安置す。七宝散りうせて、珠の扉風にやぶれ、金の柱霜雪に朽て、既頽廃空虚の叢と成べきを、四面新に囲て、甍を覆て風雨を凌。暫時千歳の記念とはなれり。

 

五月雨の降のこしてや光堂

 

Donald Keene translated this passage and haiku into English as follows:

 

  The two halls of the Chuson Temple, whose wonders I had heard of and marvelled at, were both open. The Sutra Hall contains statues of the three generals of Hiraizumi; the Golden Hall has their coffins and an enshrined Buddhist trinity. The “seven precious things” were scattered and lost, the gem-inlaid doors broken by the wind, and the pillars fretted with gold flaked by the frost and snow. The temple would surely have crumbled and turned into an empty expanse of grass had it not been recently strengthened on all sides and the roof tiled to withstand the wind and rain. A monument of a thousand years has been preserved a while longer.

 

samidare no          Have the rains of spring

furinokoshite ya      Spared you from their onslaught,

hikari-do             Shining hall of Gold?                    

 

Here is a photo of the Golden Hall in the Chusonji Temple.

 

 

「ドナルド・キーンさん国籍取得し日本永住、希望の象徴」

 Donald Keene, who is well-known as a translator of 『おくのほそ道 (Oku no Hosomichi 』, is said to have often visited the Tohoku region while translating Basho’s diary into English and to love the Chusonji Temple in particular.     

 After the earthquake on March 11, Donald Keene decided to take Japanese citizenship and establish permanent residence in Japan.  This is one of the most encouraging and pleasing news to us Japanese.      Donald Keene, who is renowned expert in Japanese literature and culture and a professor emeritus at Columbia University, seems to be a symbol of Hope

 Here is a photo of Donald Keene taken at the final lecture at Columbia University on April 26, 2011 by Atsuko Teramoto (寺本敦子撮影).         

 

                                                                                                                                       

 

Donald Keene said in an interview with Michinobu Yanagisawa, Yomiuri Shimbun correspondent in New York, USA: 

 I want to be with the Japanese people. This is because the Great Japan Earthquake inspired the decision. Japan will surely resurrect itself from the disaster to become an even more splendid country than before, I believe. So I’ll be moving to Japan in a positive frame of mind.  

Michinobu Yanagisawa also reported in the article as follows:  

Born in New York in 1922, Keene attended Columbia University, where he became  fascinated with Japanese culture after reading an English translation of “The Tale of Genji (源氏物語).”   He later served as an interpreter during the Battle of Okinawa in the closing daysof the Pacific War.   Keene has traveled through the Tohoku region many times, including some research trips for “The Narrow Road to Oku,” his English translation of the classic workof literature “Oku no Hosomichi,” by haiku master Matsuo Basho (1644-1694).   While studying in Japan, “I was surrounded by many people who warmly extended a helping hand to me,” Keene said. By obtaining Japanese citizenship, “I’d like to convey my sense of gratitude to the Japanese people, which I’ve so far been unable to do,” he said.                  Referring to reactions in the United States to the earthquake, tsunami and aftermath, including the nuclear crisis, Keene said, “Not a few people in the United States have been moved to learn Japanese people are doing their utmost to rebuild.” Even Americans who had no particular interest in Japan before March 11 have been impressed by Japanese people’s composure in the wake of the disaster, he said. “Americans have never felt such a strong affinity with Japan before,” Keene pointed out.  “I’ve made up my mind to become a Japanese citizen to be together with the Japanese people. I believe although words are important, of course, action is even more important,” Keene said.    “My decision to become a Japanese citizen is the manifestation of my expectations and convictions,” he said, explaining that he had a positive outlook for Japan. “When I returned to Tokyo eight years after World War II, Japan had revived to become a far different country from what I’d seen just after the war’s end. I’m convinced Japan will become an even more wonderful nation by weathering the hardships of this disaster,” he said.

Keene recalled a tour of the Tohoku region in 1955 to research “Oku no Hosomichi.” The view of a cluster of islets from the second floor of an inn in Matsushima (松島) [in Miyagi Prefecture(宮城県)] was unforgettably beautiful,” he said.   “I think there may be no structure in the world as beautiful as the Chusonji Temple [in Iwate Prefecture(岩手県)], so I wonder why UNESCO has repeatedly failed to designate the temple as a World Heritage site,” Keene said.     “I think how terrible it is that the Tohoku region, full of such beautiful places and temples, has been hit so hard by the earthquake and tsunami,” he lamented.

  Here is a photo of the pond of Oizumi, the Motsuuji Temple in Hiraizumi.  (平泉・毛越寺 「大泉が池」)

Looking back on his interaction with Japanese poets and writers, Keene referenced the poet and author Jun Takami(高見順). Near the end of the Pacific War, Takami wrote in his diary of being deeply moved by the sight of people waiting patiently at Tokyo’s Ueno Station, trying to get to the safety of the countryside.   “I want to live together with these people and share death with them, as I love Japan and believe in Japan,” Keene said, quoting Takami.

 “I now feel better able to understand Mr. Takami’s feelings,” he said.  Keene said his lawyer has already begun procedures for obtaining Japanese nationality.   He stressed that living in Japan would bring the most meaning to the rest of his life. He plans to spend time writing biographies of Hiraga Gennai (平賀源内) (1728-1780), a scholar of Western studies in the Edo period (1603-1868), and Takuboku Ishikawa (石川啄木)(1886-1912), a poet in the Meiji era (1868-1912).  In the 1950s, Keene studied at the postgraduate school of Kyoto University.     He forged friendships with such literary giants as Yukio Mishima (三島由紀夫), Junichiro Tanizaki (谷崎潤一郎)and Kobe Abe (安部公房).

 In 2008, Keene was given the Order of Culture by the Japanese government in recognition of his contributions to promoting Japanese literature and culture in Europe and theUnited States. 

  (Apr. 24, 2011)

Last of all, let me post my haiku.                                  

 

平泉青葉しげれる光堂     秀法    

 Hiraizumi  aoba shigereru  hikarido

Hiraizumi –                                                                                                                                                                                                        green leaves thrive  

Shining hall of Gold           Hidenori

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The next posting ‘Haiku about the Great East Japan Earthquake (3)’ appears on May 14.

 ― Hidenori Hiruta

 

On July 24, 2010, Brian Birdsell(McSherry) sent me an e-mail, contributing  a collection of haiku about summer.  

Hidenori

Thanks for the email. I agree some thoughts of the cool spring weather is rather refreshing right now. I think Akita is getting the same weather as morioka – hot and humid! I plan to go back to the states for a vacation with my daughter next week. But hope to finish a collection of summer haiku before I go and will send them to you. Enjoy the hot summer days and thanks again!

Brian

 

According to his self-introduction,

Brian McSherry has lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Prague, Italy and currently lives in northern Japan. He has lived there for over 6 years and enjoys spending time with his daughter, hiking in the mountains of Tohoku, writing, and traveling. He has a background in linguistics and teaches English at a private high school in Iwate. 

Now it is early in September, but the hot and humid days have unusually lasted.

Nice summer haiku by Brian make you cool and refreshed, I believe.

 

a butterfly

then two -

how far

I’ve wandered

 

蝶一羽さまよう果てや今は二羽

 

 

watching the rivers

flood the rice paddies -

her ice cream melts

 

川の水稲田にあふるアイスとく

 

 

a slumped woman

with hands in the earth

makes dinner

 

落ち込みや夕飯作る女の手

 

coughing coughing -

a scattering of flowers

in the wind

 

咳続く風に花々まき散れり

 

Kitakami river -

cool water rushes past

a collapsed house

 

家崩れ北上川の水走る

 

along the road

falling azaleas smear

the asphalt

 

ツツジ花散りて舗道を塗りつける

 

staring at a tree

a woman in kimono -

Tenmagu Shrine

 

木を見つむ和服の婦人天満宮

 

藤原養蜂 (Fujihara Apiary)

the smoke

from the beekeeper

drips of sunlight

 

養蜂家の煙日光のしずく

 

 

the body welcomes

summer clothes -

letting the breeze in

 

そよ風や受けて夏服うれしけり

 

a clod of earth

under the travelers foot -

distant mountains

 

旅人の足下の土や遠き山

 

the raspberry pot

still without leaves -

still get watered

 

葉の出ないラズベリーの鉢水かかる

 

dusk -

the picked dandelions

close up in her hands

 

たそがれやタンポポ閉まる彼女の手

 

 

the castle wall fades

under wild vines -

fleeting heroes

 

英雄や城壁のツタに消え行けり

 

a path made

as my daughter chases

wild flowers

 

我が娘野花を追って道をなす

 

an engine hums

in the apple grove -

first smell of cut grass

 

りんご園エンジン放つ草の香や

 

 

the rainy season

wears away at the page -

erasing my tracks

 

梅雨入りやページすり減り跡消える

 

traveling east

a shrine on the bluff -

repeating waves

 

東方の崖の社に寄せる波

 

I fall asleep

under clouds of green

leaves

blowing overhead

 

眠り込む青葉の雲が吹き流る

 

 

in the bent grass -

a moth with a lost wing

loses balance

 

草曲がり蛾の羽無くしふらめけり

 

 

along the roadside

pausing near rice seedlings -

10 years pass

 

10年や路傍に止まり早苗見る

 

Last of all, I present a photo of Kisakata (象潟), Akita for the last haiku by Brian.

Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉)stayed here in 1689 , visiting the Nohin Island (能因島)and writing haiku about mimosa blossoms(ねぶの花).

The next posting ‘Haiku by P K Padhy in India (3)’ appears on September 11.

Hidenori Hiruta

Now in Japan we are in a cheerful mood, sharing the beauties and wonders of spring with each other.

With the coming of spring, Amur adonis appeared in the fields and camellias opened their flowers, from white to pink and red ones.

 

Plum and cherry blossoms are in full bloom here and there in Tokyo these days.

 Both of them have been loved and taken up in haiku or tanka since the ancient days in Japan.

At the end of March, I wrote the following haiku:

 

Fresh cherry blossoms

reflected in the pond

water mirror

 

初桜姿をうつす鏡池

Hatsuzakura  sugata o utsusu  kagami ike

 

 

First of all, let me tell you about my writing career of international haiku.

In May, 1998, I studied about international haiku and started writing haiku in English.

Professor David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima(鹿児島国際大学) came to Akita and gave us a workshop on international haiku at the meeting of JALT (The Japan Association for Language Teaching)(全国語学教育学会). He told us about international haiku and showed us how to write haiku in English.

Since then I have been studying about haiku in English through Asahi Culture Center(朝日カルチャーセンター), where we can enjoy International Haiku Correspondence with Professor David McMurray.

As our mentor he gives us instructions and suggestions on how to burnish and improve haiku in English.

As a haiku poet he received NAGOYA TV AWARD at International Haiku Poetry Festival held as part of THE 2005 AICHI WORLD EXPO (愛知万博)in July, 2005.

 

White lilies

the feeding tube

removed

David McMurray

 

Professor David McMurray is also the haiku selector and editor of the Asahi Haikuist Network column found in Friday edition of the International Herald Tribune Asahi Shimbun (ヘラルド朝日)and on the Internet at

http://www.asahi.com/english/haiku/040405.html.

In March, 2004, I wrote the following haiku, which appeared in the above -mentioned page of Asahi Haikuist Network by David McMurray:

 

Bush warbler

music in the eaves

rice cake dries

 

鶯の歌声軒に餅乾く

Uguisuno   utagoe  nokini    mochi kawaku

 

My haiku appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network and also appeared together with Basho’s haiku in the blog by Angelika Wienert, a German poet, in 2005.

 

鶯や餅に糞する縁の先

                   Uguisu ya  mochi ni fun suru  en no saki     

Bush warbler ―

shits on the rice cakes

on the porch rail

 Translated by Robert Hass

  

In July, 2004, I visited Kisakata(象潟), Akita, and wrote the following haiku in celebration of the 360th anniversary of Matsuo Basho’s birth:

 

Basho’s wind

circling stone tablet

midsummer

 

蕉風の句碑に立ちたる真夏かな

Shou fuu no  kuhi ni tachi taru  manatsu kana

 

  

 

In October, 2004, I wrote the following haiku while reading “The Narrow Road to Oku” (Oku no Hosomichi) by Matsuo Basho(1664-1694) as translated by Donald Keene.

I composed it to keep cozy, when the nights were getting longer and chillier.

 

 Autumn winds

leaves flutter upon

the narrow road

 

秋風や奥の細道木の葉舞ふ

Akikaze ya  Okuno Hosomichi  konoha mau

 

 

In November, 2006, I wrote haiku about first snow:

 

 Basho’s statue

dressed in white snow

narrow road

 

初雪や芭蕉の衣清まれり

Hatsu yuki ya  Basho no koromo  kiyomare ri

 

My haiku appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network, where Professor David McMurray  noted as follows:

The first snowfall in Akita was light, just enough to dust Matsuo Basho’s monument, writes Hidenori Hiruta. Or as the poet observed in 1686, enough snow fell to bend narcissus leaves: Hatsu yuki ya suisen no ha no tawamu made.  Hiruta alludes to Basho’s travel journal, “Oku no Hosomichi” (The Narrow Road to the Deep North).

 

初雪や水仙の葉のたわむまで

Hatsu yuki ya  suisen no ha no  tawamu made

 

The first snow ―

just enough to bend

narcissus leaves

 

Translated by David McMurray

 

These two haiku above are quoted in the category, Literature of the Literature.net.

In January, 2009, I wrote haiku about New Year. This was selected and printed in the haiku magazine, HI , which is published by HIA (Haiku International Association)(国際俳句交流協会).

 

Sending out steam

dedicating Bonden

New Year’s Festival

 

湯気立てて梵天納む寒祭り

Yuge tate te  bonden osamu  kan matsuri

 

 

 On January 23, 2010, the word ‘Bonden(梵天)’  was taken up as Kigo for the New Year in SPECIAL GALLERIES…..DARUMA MUSEUM (03) by Dr. Gabi Greve, a German poet, in Okayama, Japan.

In February, 2010, I wrote the following haiku:

 

 Frozen beard

thawing

valentine mails

 

鬚なごむバレンタインのメールかな

Hige nagomu  barentain no  meeru kana

 

On March 5, 2010, this haiku appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network.

That night I received the following e-mail for my haiku:

Dear Hidenori Hiruta:

I have enjoyed reading your haiku in today’s edition of the Asahi Haikuist Network

in the International Herald Tribune.  Congratulations!

Have a wonderful weekend–

With best regards,

Lenard D. Moore

Former President (2008 and 2009), Haiku Society of America(アメリカ俳句協会前会長)

Executive Chairman, North Carolina Haiku Society.

I knew Mr. Moore at the HIA 20th Anniversary Symposium held in Tokyo on November 28, 2009, which he attended as one of the panelists.

On March 8, 2010, Mr. Moore contributed his haiku to me and referred to his essay on writing haiku in his e-mail.

Dear Hidenori Hiruta,

Thank you very much for your kind words about my haiku.  I am very pleased to learn

that you attended last year’s HIA 20th Anniversary Symposium and posted haiku.

I am delighted to hear that you have heard my talk on the haiku panel.  However,

here is the website address for my essay on writing haiku with several of my haiku:

http://www.hsa-haiku.org/frogpond/2008-issue31-2/revelationsunedited.html

I am honored that you have read my following haiku:

 

 autumn sunset

helicopter rises

from the heliport

 –Lenard D. Moore

I am also honored to learn that you have appreciated my following haiku in the Asahi Haikuist Network:

 

 Cloudless sky

all over my face

this thick beard

 –Lenard D. Moore

 

 Closing year…

I open the jar

of pickles

 –Lenard D. Moore

 

Year-end rain

just the closed houses

up the street

 –Lenard D. Moore

 

Congratulations on all of the work you are doing for haiku on the Akita International Haiku Network!

I am grateful to you for inviting me to submit haiku to you for the Akita International Haiku Network.

Once again, thank you very much.  Have a wonderful week–

With best regards,

Lenard D. Moore

www.wordtechweb.com/moore.html

Last of all, let me tell you about what HIA President Akito Arima (国際俳句交流協会会長有馬朗人)concluded in the symposium on November 28, 2009.

Dr. Arima predicted as follows.

Haiku will spread out to the world more because of its brevity and its coexistence with nature.

More and more young people will get interested in haiku for its brevity, and enjoy writing and reading haiku.

More poets will share haiku with each other in their blogs on the Internet.

Global haiku contest or festival will increase on the Internet too.

 

 

The next posting ‘ International Haiku Spring Festival 2010 (Akita, Northern Honshu, Japan)’  appears on April 18.

 

― Hidenori  Hiruta

On January 25, 2010, I received the first mail from Mr. Holmes through Facebook:

Hi,
Did we perhaps meet at the World Haiku International Conference, 2002, held in Yuma Town, near Akita? I attended as part of the World Haiku Club.
I enjoyed the area very much. It was August; but, the fall colors were not yet full. There were many red dragonflies, (akatonbo), as I recall.
Sincerely,
Dennis M. Holmes (my haigou, “chibi”)

 Our friendship renewed then.

He really loves Japan and Haiku.

 

This is a photo which shows that he enjoyed the cherry blossoms in Japan.

During his stay in Akita,  he wrote the following haiku:

Golden Rice
Open the lunch Box
From AKITA

 

駅弁を解いて秋田の稲穂波   チビ

Ekiben o  toite Akita no  inaho nami     by Chibi

 

Her eyes
Light up the AKITA
Moon

女の目きらと秋田の良夜かな   同

Onna no me  kira to Akita no  ryouya kana  by Chibi 

 

Please-please
Red dragon fly stay
On the fox shrine

赤とんぼ来い来い狐の神の上   同

Aka tonbo  koi koi kitsune no  kami no ue   by Chibi

 

Following
The slope of hills
Fields of flowers
 

 

どこまでも野菊の道を歩きけり  同

Dokomademo  nogiku no michi o  aruki keri  by Chibi

 

Wild chrysanthemums
I will roll on
Its path

山稜に沿ひたる坂の草の花   同

Sanryou ni  soitaru saka no  kusa no hana  by Chibi

 

The front door opens
A glimpse of
Autumn 

 

関の戸より小さき秋は来ぬ   同

Seki no to yori  chiisaki  aki wa kinu  by Chibi

 

This is a photo taken with Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉).

 

As the homepage ‘HAIKU俳句’ by Yanagibori  Etsuko (柳堀悦子) says , Mr. Holmes won first prize, Ninth Mainichi Haiku Grand Prix, English Haiku of International Section 2004.

He is a member of ‘Haiku 俳句’.

 ○在アメリカ会員のデニス・ホームズさんが第九回毎日俳句大賞国際部門の英語俳句で最優秀賞に選ばれました。七月の授賞式にご子息と出席の為、来日されます。その際、皆様との再会を楽しみにしていますとのことです。柳堀悦子

On July, 2004, Mr. Holmes contributed the following haiku to ‘HAIKU 俳句’.

 

seventeen year
cicada
―songs sink
into everything

 

十七年いちじつの蝉鳴きにけり

Juu shichinen  ichijitsu no semi   nakinikeri

 

the swing chain clank
on the screened front porch

hunmming bird

 

ふらここにをれば蜂鳥宙に浮く
 

Fura kokoni  oreba hachidori  chuu ni uku

 

the rainy season
lettuce wilts at
the open-aer bistro

 

五月雨やサラダをカフェ・テラスにて

Samidare ya  sarada o  kafe terasu ni te

 

 

this summer day ―         
I thought it was
2003!

 

昨年のけふを思へる夏日かな
 

Kyonen no kyou o omoeru  natsubi kana

 

the rainy season
starts again

moonless dawn

 

月失せて梅雨の夜明けは闇あるのみ
 

Tsuki usete  tsuyu no yoake wa  yami aru nomi

 

The members of ‘HAIKU俳句’ congratulated on his winning first prize in Tokyo.

Recently Mr. Holmes sent his self-introduction to me as follows:

 Dear Hidenori san,

Thank you for your kind reply. As to my introduction, I am but a student of haiku, always. We live in Georgia, USA. Currently, we have temporary assignment on the Atlantic coast of Georgia, Saint Simons Island, USA. I write poems daily inspired by the ocean and the southeastern, USA. Renku is part of my current interests, and I am happy to say that Professor Shokan Tadashi Kondo, Seikei University, is a friend and my renku teacher. A Japanese friend and I compose juunichiou renku over the internet on the weekends. Some of the juunichiou have been aired on NHK Radio Japan’s program, World Interactive. I hope to be able to return to Japan to meet Dr. Gabi Greve, Okayama; Professor Kondo at Seikei University; Tokyo friends, and of course my Akita friends, again.

Mr. Holmes reads and writes Japanese, Hiragana(ひらがな:平仮名)and Kanji characters(漢字).

He writes and posts haiku on his Facebook page every day.

His latest haiku is this:

Mystery shrouds

The relics of Easter

Rosemary

 

イースター遺せし帳やロ-ズマリー

 Iisuta  nokoseshi tobari ya  rouzumarii

 

 Among haiku poets in USA, not only Mr. Holmes but also Cor van den Heuvel, Roberta Beary, Michael Dylan Welch, Curtis Dunlap, Charlotte Digregorio, Charles Bane Jr, Diane Dehler, Morgan Harlow, Roberta Burnett, Stevie Strang,  J. Andrew Lockhart, George O Hawkins, are Facebook haiku friends of mine.

 I sincerely hope that you will be a Facebook friend, and that you will share and exchange poetic works with each other.

The next posting ‘Haiku by Hidenori Hiruta in Japan’  appears on April 10.

Hidenori  Hiruta  

Professor Kirby Record teaches as director of English for Academic Purposes at Akita International University(AIU)(国際教養大学) in Akita.

He also writes haiku. He is a fellow haiku poet of mine.

 

On October 11 and 12, we participated in AIU Festival and exhibited works of haiku posted on the website, giving haiku activities, such as some haiku quiz.

During the event, Professor Kirby Record joined our activities and contributed his  book of poetry titled “A Welcome Coolness” to me.

 

I post poetry in his book, dividing them into some parts and giving them a Japanese translation, which isn’t sometimes literal. It’s me, Hidenori Hiruta who translated his poetry into Japanese.

The title of his book is derived from the following haiku:

a sudden breeze

in bright winter sunlight, leaves

a welcome coolness

 

冬光に 爽涼迎ふ 風そよぐ

toko ni  soryo mukau  kaze soyogu

 

 

春は花         Haru wa hana

夏ほととぎす             Natsu hototogisu

秋は月                   Aki wa tsuki

冬雪さえて               Fuyu yuki saete

すずしかりけり        Suzushi kari keri

道元禅師 

 

This poetry is Waka (和歌literally “Japanese poem”) written by Dogen Zenji (道元禅師)(1200-1253), a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher born in Kyoto, and the founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan.

Professor Kirby Record translated it into English as follows:

To everything there is a season. 

 

Ecclesiastes

 

In Spring, cherry blossoms

In Summer, the cuckoo,

In Autumn, the moon,

In Winter, the snow,

Cold and clear.

 

Dogen Zenji

 

 

Here I post haiku about autumn by Professor Kirby Record.

 

after rain  the ferns in the window  turn gold

 

雨の後 窓辺のシダや 金色に

ame no ato  madobe no shida ya  konjiki ni 

 

 

sleeper car  the clacking of rails  october rain

 

寝台車 レールのカタットといふ音 十月の雨

shindaisha  re-ru no katta to iu oto  jugatsu no ame

 

 

scent  of the rice harvest  at dawn

 

刈り入れの 稲の匂ひや 暁に

kariire no  ine no nioiya   akatsuki ni

 

 

first october frost

just cold enough to feel good

with hands in pockets

 

十月の初霜  ほど良い寒さに  ポケットに手を

jugatsu no hatsushimo  hodo yoi samusa ni  pokketo ni te wo

 

 

japanese maple

 brighter than bright sunlight

all around it

 

イロハモミジ  日光よりも鮮明  周囲悉く

iohamomiji  nikkou yorimo senmei  shui kotogotoku

 

 

autumn moon glowing

   nearly as bright as the sun

sinks into sunset

 

秋の月 夕日のごとく 鮮やかに

aki no tsuki  yuhi no gotoku  azayaka ni

 

 

the autumn colors

on those nearby mountains, blur

into pure whiteness

 

近山の 秋色かすみ 純白に

kinzan no  shushoku kasumi  junpaku ni

 

 

climbing the mountain

how quickly it is passing

forty-sixth autumn

 

山登る 46度目の秋  速し

yama noboru  yonjurokudome no aki  hayashi

 

 

late october rain

on rice fields’ empty stubble:

orange persimmons

 

10月の晩雨 稲田の刈り株 柿オレンジ色

jugatsu no ban u  inada no karikabu  kaki orenji iro

 

 

Next I post some haiku of mine and some photos of autumn.

 

Autumn high skies

Mt. Taihei coloring

purple

 

天高く 紫深し 太平山

ten takaku  murasaki  fukashi  taiheizan

 

 

Snow-capped mountain

leaves coloring

late autumn

 

晩秋や 山 雪帽子 紅葉に

banshu ya  yama yukiboshi  momiji ba ni

 

 

 

Japanese maple

brightening the garden

samurai premise

 

映える庭 イロハモミジの 武家屋敷 

haeru niwa  irohamomiji no  bukeyashiki

 

 

 

The autumn colors

gingko accompanies  

Japanese maple

 

秋色や イロハモミジに イチョウの木 

shushoku ya  irohamomiji ni  icho no ki

 

 

Fallen leaves

into the water

Lake Tazawa

 

秋更ける 田沢の湖に 散る落葉

aki fukeru  Tazawa no umi ni  chiru ochiba

 

 

 

Princess Tatsuko

sees fallen leaves

how many years ?

 

辰子姫 落葉見しより 幾年ぞ 

Tatsukohime  ochiba mishi yori  ikutose zo

 

 

Last of all, I post my favorite haiku of Basho’s, translated into English by Donald Keene.

 

Along this road

There are no travellers

Nightfall in autumn

 

此の道や行人なしに秋の暮 

kono michi ya  yuku hito nashi ni  aki no kure

 

 

Autumn has deepened

I wonder what the man next door

Does for a living ?

 

秋深き隣は何をする人ぞ 

aki fukaki  tonari wa nani wo  suru hito zo

 

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

According to『おくのほそ道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ ‘  translated by Donald Keene, 松尾芭蕉( Matsuo Basho )(1644-1694) arrived at Kisakata on the evening of August 1, 1689, when a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Chokai Mountain.

The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, Basho and his party took a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.

After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo .

Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.

象潟干満珠寺(H21) 012

Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Basho rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water. To the west, one can see as far as Muyamuya Barrier; to the east, the road over the embankment leads to Akita in the distance. The sea is to the north. The place where the waves of the sea breaks into the lagoon is called Tide-Crossing(汐越)(Shio-goshi). Kisakata is about two miles in either direction.    

 What did Basho and his companion Sora(曾良) enjoy?

 Judging from some haiku written in『おくのほそ道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ ‘ I suppose they enjoyed going by boat on the lagoon around there after visiting the temple that afternoon.

First of all they went to the place called ‘Tide-Crossing’ (汐越)(Shio-goshi) and enjoyed soaking their legs into the waters.

Basho’s haiku is this:

汐越や鶴はぎぬれて海涼し 

Shiogoshi ya  tsuru hagi nurete  umi suzushi

 

Tide-Crossing 

The crane’s long legs are wetted

How cool the sea is!

 

Translated by Donald Keene

I’d like to add my note here:

‘鶴はぎ’ (tsuruhagi) means that ‘衣の丈が短くて、脛が長くあらわれていること’

, which is that ‘the length of a robe is short, and the long legs of a person who wears it is seen’ .  Basho’s legs appeared as if they were the legs of a crane. That is because the Kanji characters ‘鶴‘ means ‘crane’ and ‘脛(はぎ)‘ means ‘shin or leg’.              

The following notice in the picture is posted now at the place called ‘Tide-Crossing’ (汐越)(Shio-goshi) .  It says that Basho used the name of  ‘越長’ (Koshi-naga), not ‘汐越’ (Shio-goshi)  in his first version of his haiku.

ユネスコスピ-チコンテスト(H20) 013

Basho and Sora also enjoyed boat-riding on the lagoon from island to island, having a nice view.of each island.

Sora wrote his haiku:

波こえぬ契ありてやみさごの巣 

nami koenu  chigiri arite ya  misago no su

 

Did they vow never

To part till waves topped their rock?

The nest of the ospreys.

 

In memory of Basho’s stay

A basho tree was planted and is now growing in the garden of 虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple in memory of Basho’s visit to Kisakata.

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Donald Keene referred to a basho tree in the preface of 『おくのほそ道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ ‘  as follows:

Like most other writers, artists, and even philosophers of the time, Basho was known by various names during the course of his life. The one by which he is best known, Basho, was derived from a tree in his garden: in 1681, when he moved to a bleak area of the city Edo, he planted a basho tree in order to improve the appearance of the garden. The basho, a variety of banana tree that bears no fruit, had a special meaning for poets: its broad green leaves are easily torn by the wind, a ready symbol for the sensitivity of the poet. Visitors began to refer to the place as the Basho-an (Cottage of the Basho tree), and before long Basho was using the name by himself.

  Last of all I wrote my haiku for a basho tree in the garden of the temple.

芭蕉の木永遠にありしやねぶの花

Basho no ki  towa ni ari si ya  nebu no hana

 

The basho tree

staying for good

the mimosa blossoms

 

 

This is the end of  the title ‘Basho’s stay in Kisakata, Akita’.

                                               ― Hidenori Hiruta

 

On September 4, we received a comment on “Basho’s stay in Kisakata, Akita ( Part 1) from Dr. Gabi Greve. She said in her comment, “lately I enjoy Basho and the Sake no Hosomichi in the following site

: http://washokufood.blogspot.com/2009/08/sake-no-hosomichi.html. I wonder what Basho might have eaten at Kisakata.” 

Dr. Gabi Greve is German and lives in Okayama, Japan since 1977 and works on a kind of DARUMAPEDIA about Japanese culture in its many respects.

She is also an expert on Kigo in haiku. She is of great help when it comes to Kigo questions. We can look into her homepage: World Kigo Database.

  This time we’d like to answer her question, taking the situations at Kisakata now and in those days into consideration.

On August 2, 1689, Basho’s companion, Sora, asked the same question as Dr. Gabi Greve in his haiku in 『奥の細道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku

                                                 象潟や料理何くふ神祭 

Kisakata ya  ryori nani kuu  kami maturi

 

Kisakata-

What special food do they eat

At the festival?

Translated by Donald Keene 

Special food at Kisakata

According to what I imagine, special food was 赤貝(akagai),ark shell, which tastes very delicious. That is because of the name of虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple. “The first Kanji character ‘虫甘’ means ‘赤貝(akagai),ark shells”, says the dictionary of Kanji characters. ‘’ means ‘filled’ or ‘full’. So the area was filled with delicious ark shells. It is also said that there were various kinds of shell eaten in those days.

At first the temple was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which means that there was something living, associated with ‘‘ (ju), ‘pearls’.

I wonder if it is associated with ‘牡蠣‘ (kaki), ‘oyster’.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, ‘oyster’ is a large flat shellfish. Some types of oyster can be eaten and others produce shiny white jewels called ‘pearls’.

 Maybe Basho and his party might have eaten ‘oyster’, too.

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 Special food nowadays at Kisakata

From the middle of July to August many oysters can be gotten from the rocky shore of Kisakata port. We call such oyster ‘岩牡蠣‘ (iwagaki), ‘oyster from rocky shore’, which tastes very delicious. We eat it raw and it is very juicy.

 Why do shells taste good at Kisakata?    

  I’ve written my haiku and tanka in order to tell you about some reasons why shells taste delicious at Kisakata.

                                                生牡蠣や伏流水の洗ひかな 

Nama gaki ya  fukuryusui no  arai kana

 

Fresh oyster

being washed by

undercurrent water

 

雨水はブナの根に伏し流れ出す海辺に着きて牡蠣を洗えり

Amamizu wa  buna no ne ni fushi  nagaredasu  umibe ni tsuki te  kaki wo

 araeri

                                           

                              Rainwater collects under the roots of beech trees,

and then streams,

reaching the shore and washing oyster 

 Scots haiku・象潟(芭蕉) 009

Basho and his party visited the temple at Kisakata. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.

Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Basho rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water.

Kanji characters, ‘鳥(tori), bird ‘, ‘ 海(umi), sea ‘, and’ 山(yama), mountain‘ are used in Japanese. This means that Mt. Chokai is filled with birds and has a wonderful view of the sea. It also means that it is made up of huge forests, which have mainly myriads of beech trees keeping much rainwater under their roots.

― Hidenori Hiruta