On December 29, 2012, I happened to visit Senshu Park(千秋公園)in Akita City, taking a stroll there and remembering its history.

I also took some photos there, inspired to compose haiku later.

Senshu park is located in the remains of Kubota Castle(久保田城).

In 1602,  Satake Yoshinobu (佐竹義宣)(1570~1633) was moved from the Mito area to Akita after the Battle of Sekigahara(関ヶ原の戦).  They built Kubota Castle in 1604.

One of the office buildings called 御物頭御番所 is the only original structure remaining there, and there is a recreated castle keep which functions as a museum for the history of the area.

  Here I would like to show you around Senshu Park through some photos and my haiku.

 

Here is a photo of some part of the moat.

  

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久保田城凍れる堀の静まりぬ

 

Kubota Castle –

the moat turns frozen

into silence

 

 

Here is a photo of the entrance to Senshu Park.

  

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「詩の国」や雪のきらめく城下町

 

The Land of Poetry

snow shines in

the castle town

 

秋田は江戸時代教育や文化の分野が盛んであったと言われています。美しく素晴らしい自然を持つ風土により多くの漢詩人を輩出しました。象徴する作品として秋田人士による漢詩文が約一万編あります。天下の水準を遙かに傑出した作品が少なくありません。

 

Akita is said to have flourished in the fields of education and culture in the Edo period (1603~1867), when the beauties and wonders of nature in Akita produced a lot of poets of Chinese poetry. Akita poets composed about 10,000 numbers of Chinese poetry, some of which were looked upon as better works of poetry by far.

 

 Here is a photo of snowy stone steps from the outer keep to the inner keep of the castle.

  

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雪の坂至るところは矢留城

 

the snowy slope

leading there –

Armistice Castle

 

 

Kubota Castle has been called “矢留城”, which meansArmistice Castle.

This is because they did not construct any stone walls(石垣) nor the main keep(天守閣), which is usually called the central tower.

  

Here is a photo of the slope to the inner keep.

  

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松が枝に白雪映ゆる矢留城

 

snow shining

white in pine branches –

Armistice Castle

 

 

Here is a photo of the inner keep, and the statue of Satake Yoshitaka(佐竹義堯)(1825~1884), the 12th lord of the Kubota domain, who was the last lord.

 

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久保田城千代の松が枝雪に映ゆ

 

Kubota Castle –

everlasting pines brighten

in snow

 

 

陽光や輝く雪の松の枝

 

the sunbeam –

snowy pines brighten

branch to branch

 

 

Here is a photo of part of Senshu Park and Akita City, and Mount Taihei(太平山), which are seen from the inner keep of the castle.

 

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「詩の国」や白銀の景あらはれる

 

The Land of Poetry

the landscape presents its show

with silvery snow

 

 

Here is a photo of zelkova trees and a recreated castle keep which functions as a museum for the history of the area. There are a great number of various kinds of old or giant trees growing in the park instead of stone walls or the main keep.

 

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欅の木ともに矢留の雪見かな

 

snow viewing

with zelkova trees

Armistice Castle

 

 

矢留城雪に輝く欅かな

 

Armistice Castle –

Zelkova trees brighten

in snow

 

 

Here is a photo of the lake called 胡月池, which is in the center of a traditional type of garden.

 

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客迎ふ石灯籠や雪帽子

 

stone lantern

welcomes visitors –

snow hat

 

 

冬の池音一つなく冴え渡る

 

winter pond

makes no sound –

cooling all over

 

 

Here is the last photo of the moat near one of the gates to the outer keep.

 

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冬の堀雁住む宿となりにけり

 

sweet home

for wild geese –

winter moat

 

 

久保田城冬越す雁や堀住まひ

 

Kubota Castle –

wild geese wintering in

the moat

 

 

Lastly, you can check out photos and haiku at the blog below.

http://akitahaiku.blogspot.com/

 

 

The next posting ‘Haiku by Ashok Bhargavaappears on March 2.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

On January 25, 2013, I received an e-mail from Brian Birdsell(McSherry) after a long absence.

Hidenori –

It has been a long time since we last corresponded! Hope all is well in Akita and the world of haiku! Last year I moved up to Hirosaki to start working at Hirosaki University. The snow relentlessly falls here – good for a skier like myself, but endless shoveling.

Brian Birdsell

http://tsugarupress.com/

Here is a photo of some students at Hirosaki University, who are enjoying winter life.

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Here are haiku about winter by Brian Birdsell(McSherry) with my Japanese translations too.

  

Cold conversations –

the lips of the crow

                           rustle

with the steady wind

 

お寒い会話 ―

カラスの両唇

                           カサカサいう

吹き止まない風と共に

 

 

I begin to feel

the heat of my love breathing

as the stove burns out

 

感じ始める

愛のほてりが息づいているのを

ストーブが燃え尽きるとき

 

 

Midnight

                  snow falling

smudges the ink –

                    exactly

what I meant to write

 

真夜中

        雪が降っている

インクをつける ―

まさに書きたいと思うこと

 

 

Completely covered

with snow

                 I climb the traverse

the last signpost gone

 

完全に覆われた

雪で

                              トラバースに登る

最後の標識がなくなっている

 

 

My morning commute –

on bike

                   my shadow shivers

on the icy path

 

朝の通勤 ―

自転車で

                         影が震える

氷った道の上で

 

 

Steam swirls up –

neck deep in an outdoor bath

I greet the night snow

 

蒸気が渦巻きながら立ち込む ―

首を露天の風呂深く沈める

夜の雪に会釈する

 

 

Ceaseless north I walk

shadowless

                        without footprints –

hunted by a storm

 

止むことなく北へ歩く

影もなく

                               足跡もなく ―

嵐に追われて

 

 

In the dark morning

frost on the carps tongue –

                           the pond

now frozen over

 

暗い朝

鯉の舌に霜 ―

                                        池

凍っているあたり中

 

 

The snow covered gate

swings all night

                       yet not a soul

only my writing

 

雪に覆われた門

夜通し揺れ動く

                            まだ一人もいない

ただ私が書いているだけ

 

 

Swirling in the cold

                             snow

and the voice of a swan

having lost a quill.

 

寒さの中で渦巻いている

                                      雪

そして白鳥の声

羽柄を失ってしまった

 

 

How high the snow is!

in the sun’s reflection

a farmer smiles

 

なんて雪が高いんだろう!

太陽の反射光の中で

農夫が微笑む

 

 

An erroneous life –

the fake flowers in the vase

have lost their petals

 

誤った人生 ―

花瓶の中のにせの花が

花びらをなくしてしまった

 

 

Brush, ink, and some snow

I write the same poem over

                                         and over –

morning slush

 

筆、墨、そしていくらかの雪

同じ詩を書く

                                                 何度も何度も ―

朝の雪解け

 

 

Walking with my breath

too cold even for the snow –

the duck hides its beak.

 

息をハアハアついて歩く

雪にとってさえ余りにも寒い ―

あひるがくちばしを隠す

 

 

All night awake,

                                        as

the wind bends through my window

a wood thrush sings out

 

夜通し目を覚ましている、

風が窓を通って曲がり

モリツグミが大声で歌う時

 

 

The next posting ‘Haiku by Hidenori Hiruta (3)appears on February 23.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

On July 2, 2010, Brian Birdsell(McSherry) sent me an e-mail, contributing a collection of haiku about winter.

According to his self-introduction,

Brian McSherry has lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Prague, Italy and currently lives in Iwate, 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.

 

On January 25, 2013, I received an e-mail from Brian Birdsell(McSherry) after a long absence.

Hidenori –

It has been a long time since we last corresponded! Hope all is well in Akita and the world of haiku! Last year I moved up to Hirosaki to start working at Hirosaki University. The snow relentlessly falls here – good for a skier like myself, but endless shoveling.

Brian Birdsell

http://tsugarupress.com/

Here is a photo of volunteer students at Hirosaki University.

 

 201211~1

 

 

Here are haiku about winter by Brian Birdsell(McSherry) with my Japanese translations too.

 

Winter

 

To know winter is

when everyone else withdraws

you become alive

 

冬を知っていることは

他のみんなが引き下がるとき

あなたは生きるということです

 

 

Piles of books amass

on my shelves

                     if only

they too were like leaves

 

たくさんの本が積まれている

本棚の上に

                     ただ

本も葉のようであればいいなあ

 

 

The rosemary pot

blows over

                   scattering off

little drops of fall

 

ローズマリーの鉢が

静まる

                         まき散らしながら

秋の小さな滴を

 

 

The river sounds

                           just

enough on the stone’s back –

that

             I slip on the moon

 

川の音が聞こえる

                 ちょうど

岩の背後に十分に ―

私は月に見とれて滑って転ぶ

 

 

Winter swans convene –

fresh white sheets blowing

on a clothesline

 

冬の白鳥が集まる ―

新しい白のシーツが吹かれて動いている

物干し網の上で 

 

 

Fiery sunset –

the last maple leaf falling

time to gain some weight

 

火のような夕焼け ―

最後のモミジの葉が散っている

いくらかの重みを得る時

 

 

at Yakumo Shrine (八雲神社)

A neglected shrine –

on the edge of town

                           only

the moon visits it

 

放置されいる神社 ―

町外れに

                         ただ

月だけが訪れる

 

 

December rain

how sad the skis are

                      ignored

in the corridor

 

12月の雨

スキーにはなんて不運なことか

                                       無視されて

廊下に

 

 

In opposing ways

I move

     you move

         the sparrow

flies beyond our sight

 

反対のように

私は動く

   あなたが動く

          雀は

見えない方に

 

 

Riverside willows

droop

      touching the winter ice –

frozen tears    perhaps

 

川べりの柳

しだれている

      冬の氷に触れる ―

凍てついた涙        おそらく

 

 

Writing with charcoal

through the night

       until my hand

turns to ash

 

チャコールで書いている

夜通し

       手が

灰になるまで

 

 

The morning sun cuts

into the bedroom –

            how cold

the nights have become

 

朝の太陽が切り進む

寝室の中へ ―

        なんて寒く

夜がなっていくことか

 

 

End of the year wind

on my veranda

yet some leaves remain

 

年末の風

私のベランダの上に

まだ葉がいくつか残っている

 

 

Tired old men drunk

and unsatisfied

           darkness –

shards of broken glass

 

疲れた老人たちが酔っ払っている

そして満ち足りていない

           夜

割れたグラスの破片 

 

 

Iwate Mountain

emerges

     first snow fall coats

the old lava field

 

岩手山

現れる

      初の降雪が覆う

古い溶岩の野原を

 

 

Making snow lanterns

the light jumps out –

             winter

fireflies

 

雪灯篭を作る

光が飛び出る ―

冬の蛍

 

image_hirosaki01

 

 

The next posting ‘Haiku by Brian McSherry (6)appears on February 16.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta

 

 

On January 13, 2013, to my great delight, I received such a nice e-mail from Brinda Buljore in Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture, Japan.

It says as follows.

 Hiruta san,

 I dedicate this to you and your beautiful site.  Much appreciation for your work and showing us how to love and appreciate Haiku & above…

I will appreciate to know if you do accept online submissions as well, please?

With my sincerest regards,

 

Brinda Buljore

 

Brinda kindly contributed to us 12 Japanese haiku with English translations.

You can check them out at the following website.

http://www.cc.matsuyama-u.ac.jp/~shiki/kim/shikiwinter.html

 

Brinda is a facebook friend of mine.

You will be able to make friends with Brinda through her facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/brinda.buljore

 

Brinda Buljore is most attracted to Japanese Culture and Literature. So, ink painting and Calligraphy as well as reading and writing Haiku are her favourite hobbies at the moment.

 

Here are 12 haiku titled ‘Winter & New Year’s’.

 

 

二つ三つ石ころげたる枯野かな

 

futatsu mitsu

ishi korogetaru

karenokana

 

Translation

 

two or three rocks

strewn about

dried up field

 

0500kareno 

 

 

寒椿黒き佛に手向けばや

 

kantsubaki

kuroki hotoke ni

tamukebaya

 

Translation

 

winter camellia

I wish I could offer it

to the sooty Buddha

 

 

松山の城を見おろす寒さかな

 

Matsuyama no

shiro o miorosu

samusakana

 

Translation

 

coldness

looking down from above

Matsuyama Castle

 

 

薪をわるいもうと一人冬籠

 

maki o waru

imouto hitori

fuyugomori

 

Translation

 

splitting wood

my sister alone –

wintering

 

 

冬木立のうしろに赤き入り日かな

 

fuyukodachi no

ushiro ni akaki

irihikana

 

Translation

 

behind the stand

of winter trees

a red sunset

 

 970817Yuhhi

 

 

 

門前のすぐに坂なり冬木立

 

monzen no

sugu ni saka nari

fuyu-kodachi

 

Translation

 

just outside the gate

the road slopes downward

winter trees

 

 

寒けれど酒もあり温泉もある処

 

samukeredo

sake mo ari

yu mo aru tokoro

 

Translation

 

It is cold, but

we have sake

and the hot spring

 

 

梅提げて新年の御慶申しけり

 

ume sagete

shinnen no gyokei

moushikeri

 

Translation

 

New Year’s greetings

with a plum branch

in hand

 

 

空近くあまりまばゆき初日哉

 

sora chikaku

amari mabayuki

hatsuhi kana

 

Translation

 

the sky draws near

such a bright sunrise

New Year’s Day

 

 

元日の人通りとはなりにけり

 

ganjitsu no

hitodori towa

narinikeri

 

Translation

 

New Year’s Day

has come –

quiet street

 

 

一年は正月に一生は今にあり

 

ichinen wa

shogatsu ni issho

wa

ima ni ari

 

Translation

 

The year begins

on New Year’s day

our life is Now

 

 

星消えてあとは五色の冬霞

 

hoshi kiete

ato wa goshiki no

hatsugasumi

 

Translation

 

the stars vanished

and then –

five-colored New Year’s

mist

 

  

The next posting ‘Haiku by Brian McSherry (5)appears on February 9.

 

― Hidenori Hiruta