Nobuko Johnson in Washington, USA, loves cherry blossoms and haiku.
In March, 2010, she made a haiku trip to Kumamoto（熊本）, Kyushu, Japan and enjoyed the cherry blossom-viewing there.
Nobuko Johnson kindly contributed haiku she wrote during her visit there.
Some haiku are about the cherry blossoms in full boom shown in the following photo, and others are about the countryside associated with cherry blossoms.
The cherry tree is called “Isshingyou No Ouzakura(一心行の大桜)”, which is the oldest and largest in Kyushu, and is said to be over 400 years old, and about 22 meters high and about 30 meters wide.
Here is a photo of the signboard about this cherry tree in Japanese.
According to the signboard, this cherry tree was planted for the purpose of praying for the repose of a samurai “Nakamura Houkinokami Korefusa” , who was killed in the battle in 1580. His wife and son are said to have returned to the hometown with a few vassals of his and have devoted themselves to praying for his soul and his vassals’ souls.
The cherry tree was planted in the graveyard, where there is a tombstone of Nakamura Houkinokami Korefusa among the tombs.
Now I post haiku by Nobuko Johnson in Japanese with some English interpretations.
谷おろす 桜吹雪に 傘いらず
Tani orosu sakura fubuki ni kasa irazu
The wind blows from the mountain,
cherry blossoms have blown away,
Wind swept cherry blossoms,
no umbrella needed for this kind of blizzard
南阿蘇 夢のごとくに 咲く桜
Minamiaso yume no gotoku ni saku sakura
the cherry blossoms in bloom
as if in a dream
(“Isshingyou No Ouzakura” at Hakusui Village)
花曇 空へと続く 桜かな
Hanagumori sora e to tsuduku sakura kana
hanging up to the sky ―
春霞 山並みけむる 阿蘇の村
Harugasumi yamanami kemuru Aso no mura
all over the mountain
阿蘇の地の 夢追う人に 花吹雪
Aso no chi no yume ou hito ni hanafubuki
Cherry blossom petals
falling like a shower
on the dreamer of Aso
花見客 眠り眠れず 石の下
Hanamikyaku nemuri nemurezu ishi no shita
Viewers of cherry blossoms ―
uder the stones
There are some tombstones under the “Isshingyou No Ouzakura(一心行の大桜)” ,
but it seems that the souls dwelling in those tombs could not have a deep sleep during the cherry blossom- viewing period,
because of a lot of viewers taking a glance of such famous cherry blossoms of the tree.
舞い降りて 蜜食う鳥の 花遊び
Maiori te mitsu kuu tori no hana asobi
the birds suck nectar ―
playing with cherry blossoms
Here is a photo of cherry blossoms.
There were a lot of white eyes coming to the observatory park of cherry blossoms at the fifth level of Mt. Ryuhou.
The next posting ‘Haiku by Kala Ramesh’ appears on June 5.
― Hidenori Hiruta
Gabi Greve, a haiku friend of mine, in Okayama(岡山), Japan, kindly contributed her travelogue for the posting on May 23, on the last day of Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010.
She loves haiku trips around Asia, writing travelogues as shown below.
one day in sunshine
one day in pouring rain . . .
travelling in spring
Her self-introduction says as follows:
Gabi Greve, a medical doctor graduating from Heidelberg University Germany, came to Japan in 1977 and has since been involved in translating. She has written two books about Japanese Buddhist art.
She studies kigo as a means to get a better understanding of Japanese culture and has started to compile the World Kigo Database since 2004.
Since 1995, she lives in a remote area in the mountains in Western Japan and continues her internet activities also through a Daruma Museum Online and a Saijiki about Washoku, traditional Japanese food.
World Kigo Database
Daruma Museum Online
On May 14, on the third day of our Haiku Festival, Gabi Greve sent me the following comment on ‘Haiku by Fay Aoyagi for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival’:
Thanks so much for introducing Fay!
I am a great fan of her work too !!
by the way, join me in a walk through Nagi, Tottori and Chizu (partly in the rain …)
On the last day of our festival, we are willing to share her travelling in spring with each other from now on.
[ . BACK to Happy Haiku . TOP . ]
Nagi Hill Station
Red bridge and stone dragon
three monkeys – –
The Hill Station of Nagi, about 400 meters high, is famous for its great view and the clear water that runs down from Mount Nagi san.
They serve dishes with the famous local “black pigs” kurobuta 黒豚 and you can have a first-hand experience at making saussages.
There are lodges for families to stay on the cheap and enjoy the many hiking courses which start from here, or just go down to the gorge and play in the water among the stones.
There are also other farm-related experiences offered to the tourists, like making tofu, ice cream, butter or cheese and even handicraft with local natural materials.
The temple Bodaiji 菩提寺 with its famous huge old Gingko tree is close by.
The hill station is ealily reached by bus (40 min) from Tsuyama train station.
. . . CLICK here for online Photos !
Nagi is also famous for its villate lay-kabuki,
Yokozen Kabuki 横仙歌舞伎.
I once watched a performance and was quite impressed with the high skills of the actors. The audience was laughing and weeping … and all had a good time.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Mount Nagi (那岐山), is a mountain located on the border of Chizu, Tottori prefecture, and
Nagi, Okayama Prefecture.
The trip in May 2010 starts from here in Nagi, on the way to Tottori, visiting a few places there and on the way back we ended in Chizu, because of heavy rain.
Just follow the NEXT LINKS on the bottom of each page to join us on the trip!
. . . Tottori Sand Dunes
Posted by Gabi Greve at 5/11/2010
Our festival has just ended with her travelogue by Gabi Greve in a walk through Nagi, Tottori and Chizu (partly in the rain …).
We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed yourselves in our Haiku Festival in your own ways, and that each of us will have a nice poetic life as usual.
Thanks to our sister festival, 2010 Bath Japanese Festival, we have had such a flourishing and fruitful ending.
With millions of thanks.
The next posting, ‘Haiku by Nobuko Johnson’ appears on May 29.
― Hidenori Hiruta
Tsutomu Nimure, a tanka poet, in Akita, Japan, kindly contributed his tanka in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the opening of the Akita International Haiku Network.
He introduces himself as follows:
Tsutomu Nimure’s way of TANKA
As a college student, I had a Japanese class, which dealt Manyoushu. The teacher of the class advised us to write a Tanka poem. So at some twenty years of age I tried to make a Tanka and got some advice by the teacher. After that time I neglected to make Tanka poems. At age of 65 I retired, so I have begun to pay attention to Tanka for my hobby. Since that day it has been passed some ten years. In order to know my level I have continued to contribute my Tankas to some newspapers.. I was awarded in 2008 annual prize in Tanka by Asahi shinbun Akita branch and Mainichi shinbun Akita branch. (As of Oct. 20, 2009)
From now on, Tsutomu Nimure shows his tanka poems in Japanese as well as in English to us.
On the way at night
when a half moon was sinking
in the west slowly
the exciting cheering voice
of a soccer game was heard.
In a calm chapel
hymns, sung by an angel choir,
were still echoing,
and blessing new bride and groom
who married fore the altar.
A pair of but’flies
which is a good example
of intimate friends,
flew around a wild flower
lightly, softly, joyfully
Holding their hands hard,
the Oga Peninsula
are quite harmoniously
helping each other firmly.
Each of the students,
who takes an interview,
shows his character
in answering a question
instantly or leisurely.
A book opened,
new lessons are prepared
for by the teacher,
who has refreshing feelings
before a new semester.
Owing to rainfall,
blossoms at their best scattered
and it was noticed
a cherry-blossom carpet
occupied a wet sidewalk.
Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the collection of photo flowers presented by Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania.
The next posting ‘Haiku by Gabi Greve for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ appears tomorrow on May 23, the last day of our Haiku Festival.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On April 10,2010, I received an e-mail from Brian Birdsell (McSherry).
He says in his mail as follows:
I received your email from a friend of mine in Akita. I currently live in Morioka and have lived here for the past 6 years. I teach English at a private high school. I have a background in linguistics and literature. I have written two previous collections of poems, though rather unsuccessfully and I am currently putting together a collection of short poems. I have entitled it “Fair Equinox” and divided into 4 seasonal sections. Attached it the “winter poems”.
All the best,
Brian Birdsell (McSherry)
On May 18, 2010, the second e-mail came, saying as follows:
Thank you Mr. Hidenori Hiruta for your interest in my writing and adding it to the Akita haiku website. I also just recently finished the spring section to this collection and have attached it to this email. I also attached a photo (I will try to get some more photos to you later this week) and provided below a brief intro.
Thanks again for everything!
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 I present 15 haiku of spring to you with my Japanese translations.
Opening the shade –
my pencil gets whittled down
into a seed
Fell asleep in the garden –
seeing my mistake
covered with snow
Suddenly I find
the 16 stone-carved buddhas …
by their feet –
snow falls on the poem
on the rock
Not yet –
only a plastic bag blows
on the cheery tree
Spring thaw –
the beauty of the mountains
flows into the valley
in a vase
and yet outside –
the trees are still bare
Rain drops hang
on the vacant trees –
first buds of the year
from Iwayama orchard –
before the flowers
The mountain pass
a wall of snow
falling in the sun
On the patio
a forgotten tulip blooms
near a rusty spade
A pulse –
the tip of maples red
the buds shrink away –
on the tree tips
the swans begin to migrate –
Down the narrow lane
a scent trails a young lady –
plum blossoms open
Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the two photo flowers. One of them is presented by Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania. And the other by me, Hidenori Hiruta.
The next posting ‘Tanka by Tsutomu Nimure for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ appears tomorrow on May 22.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On April 20, 2010, Aju Mukhopadhyay, a poet and author, in Pondicherry, India, sent us a comment on the posting ‘International Haiku Spring Festival 2010 ( Akita, Northern Honshu, Japan)’.
He said in his comment as follows:
This is a very nice site which ably shows many areas of Japanese short verse culture.
I would contribute sometimes, if invited.
With best wishes,
That evening I sent him an e-mail of invitation as follows:
Dear Aju Mukhopadhyay san,
Thank you very much for your nice suggestion!
We sincerely hope that you will contribute your short forms of poetry to our festival from May 12 to 23.
Please send your haiku, senryu, or tanka to me.
Our readers will be pleased to read your poetry, from 10 to 15 pieces of work.
And they will be delighted to know about you through your short self-introduction or some photos of yourself or your favorite places.
We will sincerely appreciate your work of poetry.
We will look forward to your poetry coming.
Now I would like to introduce him to you through his brief biodata
Aju Mukhopadhyay, the poet and author, is a bilingual writer of fiction and essays too. He has written 12 books in Bangla and 14 in English. He has received several poetry awards besides other honours. His works have been recognized by various international institutions including the Sahitya Akademi of India. Besides poetry, essays and fictions, he is a regular contributor of Haiku, Tanka and related works to various magazines and e-zines in India and elsewhere. Conservation of Nature and Environment is the watchword of his life.
Next I present 11 haiku of his with my Japanese interpretation.
a face with
brows and lashes-
quivers in the waves
stands on one leg-
the deer runs alone:
none is after
lashed the beach, fumbling beyond;
full moon gloats in sky
wild wind rages
fire spreads by leaps and bounds-
beach shelters the refugees
with a serious look-
a round leaf
twirling in space for long-
fall it must
routinely but presently
pause to begin
いつものように しかし 目下
ちょっと止まる そして 始める
so near yet so far-
the sea we know
cat trying to catch
the water down the slope;
dead it falls-
so long a part of the tree;
© Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2010
Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the photo of Lake Tazawa （田沢湖）in Akita (秋田), Northern Honshu, Japan.
The next posting ‘Haiku by Teddy Wojnicki for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010 ’ appears tomorrow on May 20.
― Hidenori Hiruta
First of all, I would like to introduce a haiku friend of mine, William Sorlien, in Minnesota, USA.
Here is a photo of Mississippi ginko walk, downtown St. Paul, September 2009
William Sorlien (Willie) is a construction tradesman residing in Minnesota, USA, which adjoins the cold northern border with Canada, near the center of the continent. His hometown, Saint Paul, is the northernmost port of the Mississippi River.
He began the practice of haiku only three years ago, yet hopes to continue the journey as long as he can hold a pen.
Willie also enjoys writing tanka, and haibun, and has been writing renku with other international writers for over a year now.
He considers each word he writes to be a learning experience and a method of self improvement through haiku friendship with authors throughout the world.
He has three blogs as follows:
He kindly contributed his haiku and three photos to our Haiku festival.
Here is a photo of autumn sunset at Phalen Lake, 2009
I present some of his haiku with my Japanese interpretations.
a hazy moon
floats in the cup
Nigorizake shuhai ni ukabu oborozuki
brick by brick
these walls we build
Renga tsumi kabe o tsukureri haru sugiru
under the porchlight
dad calls us all in
Yudachi ya pouchi no shita no chichi no koe
a fine garden
in the traffic circle
once more around (first published in World Haiku Review)
Routarii sutekina niwa ya mata mawaru
the green glass tortoise
in morning dew
Shunshu ya garasu no ryoku ki asa no tsuyu
hanging up her beret
she slips into autumn
Kui mota zu beree o kakete aki ni iru
through the open window
prickly milk thistle
Aita mado midori no shikki ni nogeshi kana
the rusty gates
Sabita mon sotto toorinukeru areta niwa
in the tea tree’s grove
Nimousaku chabatake no naka kawzu naku
of my old black hat
snow on tea leaves
first strong gusts
the hawk as still life
trapped between panes of glass
Here is a photo of the path around Lake Phalen in winter, 2010
The next posting ‘Haiku by Aju Mukhopadhyay for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ appears tomorrow on May 19.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On January 25, 2010, I received an e-mail from Dennis M. Holmes through Face Book:
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.
Dennis M. Holmes (my haigou, “chibi”)
Our friendship renewed then.
He really loves Japan and Haiku.
Here is a photo of Dennis taken during his stay in Japan.
Dennis kindly contributed his work of renku to our festival, saying in his e-mail as follows:
Dear Hidenori san,
I am sending a juunichiou renku that was composed at the beginning of the year. Perhaps, as part of the Akita anniversary in May there could be interest in renku compositions? If you find any errors in our translations, please let me know, thank you.
I wish you success in haiku and poetry.
庭かまど(celebratory cooking pit) Jûnichô
Authors: Kosei Meiken , Dennis M. Holmes (chibi), and Master Basho.
Date: Started January 9th 2010 end January 23rd 2010 evenings in Tokorozawa, Japan and mornings in St. Simons Island, Georgia USA
nigiwau tami ya
by the Emperor’s* good graces
a cooking pit
for the New Year’s celebration
*The Emperor Nintoku was very successful and well-loved. This famous Basho hokku made in Sakamoto was a reference to Nintoku’s poetry. We chose this as our hokku, too.
Kyokujitu no tama
Resided in first snow,
the deity of the rising sun
Sorega Kotoshi no
The first dream
In the New Year
Mushi tomaru tabi
the flowers of the village sway
as each insect settle
At a department store
the bad smell of perfume
causes a customer’s sneeze
Mizugi uriba de
Kitsui no wo kau
Buying smaller swim suits
While on sale
In the Pacific Ocean,
fig shaped enemas,
Hososa de sasou
Attracting a life-guard
At Iwashimizu Hachimanguu shrine,
a crescent moon
softly closes the eye
Tisshu kubari ga
sumoggu ni naku
A tissue hawker
cries in the smog
Nawa wo kitakaze
The North wind
Plucks the Yukitsuri
*Yukitsuri (雪つり) is a technique for preserving trees and shrubs from heavy snow. Trees are given extra support by bamboo poles with ropes attached to limbs; whereas, shrubs are often tied tightly around the circumference.
Kubomi no mizu ga
pothole water up to
the boot’s laces
The photos of Senshu Park (千秋公園) in Akita (秋田), Northern Honshu, Japan are posted in order to decorate our on line Haiku festival.
The next posting ‘Haiku by William Sorlien for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ appears tomorrow on May 18.
― Hidenori Hiruta
On July 15, 2009, I received two comments from John McDonald in Edinburgh, UK.
He was the first haiku poet to send us comments, saying “Good Luck” and encouraged us to continue posting haiku or articles on haiku.
John also presented me with his haiku book, whose title is ‘THE THROU-GAUN CHIEL’.
He has a web-page of Scots haiku http://zenspeug.blogspot.com which he tries to update daily, and from which most of the enclosed have been taken.
In April, 2010, John kindly made a booklet of haiku for me in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the opening of Akita International Haiku Network.
Its title is ‘Seasons in Akita （秋田の四季）’ , in which he translated my haiku into Scots.
The haiku of mine are written in English as well as in Japanese and they are posted at the blog: http://akitahaiku.blogspot.com/, some of which appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network by David McMurray.
John says in his e-mail as follows:
Dear Hidenori San,
I expect to send your little booklet tomorrow. I’ve called it Seasons In Akita (not – the seasons in Akita) because it does not follow the usual layout of seasons etc. it is simply recording the haiku you have written taking an example from each season so I hope you like it please let me know if everything is ok ;if so, I will put two copies into the scottish poetry library and one into the national library of scotland (as I do with all my booklets). Hope you are all well in Akita
John McDonald also contributed kindly another book of his, whose title is ‘FUME O PEAT REEK’ ,or ‘fragrance of peat smoke’ in English to me for our festival.
I present some of his haiku to you with my Japanese translations.
The peerie moose ―
a thirl i ma sloom
the little mouse ―
a hole in my sleep
Konezumi no hikkaku oto ni me o samasu
brakfast o gowans:
breakfast of daisies:
Usa chan no choushoku hinagiku medamayaki
her cot fauldit
on the strand ―
the souchin chingle
her coat folded
on the shore ―
the sighing shingle
Tameiki no hamabe no koishi kouto nomi
thair gowden craigs
their golden throats
Haru no asa suisen no nodo konjiki ni
in the daurk
the bed shaks ―
her guid freen’s wun awa
in the dark
the bed shakes ―
her best friend has died
Yami no naka beddo yureugoki tomo ga yuku
zen gairden ―
ma sheddae switters
ower the chingle
zen garden ―
my shadow ripples
over the shingle
Zen no niwa kage sarasara to ishi no ue
heelds ower’s flooers ―
they gove up at’m
leans over his flowers ―
they gaze up at him
Yorikakakru niwa no nushi miru hanabana ya
she rugs a reid threid
throuch her flooerin
she draws a red thread
through her embroidery
Yuuyake ni akai ito hiku shishuu kana
thrabs on the lozen
ayont: the muin
pulses on the pane
beyond: the moon
Madowaku de myaku utsu ga no hate tsuki kakaru
Heitachi no kage yokogireri kare no me ni
fleets on the burn
…plowp o a troot
floats on the stream
…plop of a trout
Sakurabana nagare tadayou masu no oto
waukrife nicht ―
intae the derkness
sleepless night ―
into the darkness
Nemurenu yo ishi o nagetari kurayami ni
voar sinsheen ―
bummer waukens me
dunnerin at the winnock
spring sunshine ―
bee wakens me
banging at the window
Shunkou ni hachi mezamasu ya mado o utsu
on the funtain-nude’s erse
on the fountain-nude’s bottom
Gekkouyoku izumi no soko no katatsumuri
abuin the wa
above the wall
Bara no kao kusukusu warau kabe no ue
fawin intae the scug
o the speengie rose ―
the speengie’s petals
falling into the shade
of the peony ―
the peony’s petals
Shakunage no kage ni chiriyuku kaben kana
Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the photo flower presented by Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania.
The next posting ‘Haiku by Dennis M. Holmes for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ (6) ’ appears tomorrow on May 17.
― Hidenori Hiruta
Let me introduce Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania.
Our friendship started when I received an e-mail on April 7, 2010.
I am a younger collaborator of Mrs. Marioara Tirenescu and I am the translator of your haiku in Romanian. I took the liberty to translate them by using synonyms for the words you used, in order to be able to keep the 5-7-5 rule. I hope this is not a problem for you. I will just give you an example. In the winter haiku “The winter sun/breaks ―/Mt. Taihei”, I translated the verb “to break” as “falls into pieces” (but in Romanian has the same meaning). If this is ok with you, I will publish the haiku in Romanian, English and Japanese on my personal blog, mentioning your name and blog, and on different Romanian sites. However, if this is not ok, I will give you the Romanian translation (as it sounds in English) and ask for your approval.
Thank you and please excuse me for the trouble.
Patricia Lidia, and Marioara Tirenescu mentioned in the e-mail above, kindly translated my haiku into Romanian and introduced them at their blogs.
My haiku are the ones at my blog: http://akitahaiku.blogspot.com/, some of which appeared in the Asahi Haikuist Network by David McMurray.
Patricia made a special page for my work at her blog:
Maria Tirenescu also made special pages for my work at her blog:
She writes haiku as well as tanka, which we can enjoy in her blog above.
On April 15, 2010, Patricia Lidia kindly contributed her haiku as well as some photos for our festival.
On top of a hill,
dissipating its perfume,
Holding hands in park
on the old paths –
traces in the snow
Budding branch –
the army of turbans
sits in the garden
My footsteps on the road –
the scent of cherry blossoms
hides me gently
presented by Hidenori Hiruta
The bell rings –
winter is falling once again
over the living souls
Snowing divine –
whispers of angels
on the road side –
a new beginning
over the white field –
rest at dawn
Thank you, onde again,
Secondly, I show you how Patricia and I have been sharing and exchanging haiku and ideas as follows:
A new world
under the sun –
My comment is:
The image of ‘passing dragonflies’ is rather common in autumn in Japan. So it’s difficult to be associated with ‘A new world under the sun’.
Patricia’s answer is:
In the ‘A new world under the sun’ i was thinking about the fact that dragonflies, in Romania, live about one week and appear only during a month (in July). However, my first thought was of the grub of Ephemeride Polingenia (a species of insect that only lives in Danube) that has a life span of 1 day, but I did not find the translation of its name in English, but in Romanian it is called “rusalia”. Maybe a better evocation is:
A new world
under the sun –
Traces of steps
at sunset –
My comment is :
A little ambiguous, because it is difficult to see what traces of steps are.
What makes steps? Maybe frozen bumblebee does?
But the word ‘frozen’ means not to move and not to make any steps.
Patricia’s answer is:
You are right with your comment. I was thinking like this: the bumblebee was caught by the snow and its traces are left in the snow, but in the end it has frozen. However, I have missed to integrate the work “snow”. I think it works better like this:
Traces of steps
at sunset –
Last of all, I post some more haiku of Patricia’s.
dancing to the ground –
Lively beetles –
on the garden wires
traces of dew
A grasshopper is silent
on a clover leaf –
my thought leaps.
The blooming apple
flirts with a butterfly –
what a lovely romance!
Summer night –
crickets take symphonies
under clear moon.
Summer rain –
chattering they walk
Smell of lilies –
Ladybugs standing –
on the easel.
Last of all, let me decorate our on line festival with the photo flowers presented by Patricia Lidia, a haiku poet, in Romania.
The next posting ‘Haiku by John McDonald for Int’l Haiku Spring Festival 2010’ appears tomorrow on May 16.
― Hidenori Hiruta