heisei 20 blues

the traditional-style japanese houses on my block seem to be quickly demolished as soon as they’re sold. reduced to lots big enough to squeeze two or three prefabs onto them. young familes are snapping them up.

in the unfriendly neighbor’s yard

the plum blossoms

have fallen

Early off

Winter has never been my season. In the order of Like, it’s springsummerfall, any weather, winter. The cold requires too many layers of cloth, natural and now man-made, both Western and Oriental (think: hara-maki).For males, mostly, there is the additional protection of facial hair. A full beard does add necessary and efficient protection against lower temperatures. (We can also store morsels there for snacks later.) But, alas, it does itch when the air temp gets higher. So, from about these days, the hairs begin to fall off, area-by-area. My new avatar shows Offness in two respects, the most important being the missing chin stuff. As April proceeds into Hot, the moustache will drop and I will upload a close view of my upper lip, perhaps. To celebrate this:

birds redo plumage,

cats shed everywhere,

bare chins view spring anew.

This year my cherry blossom viewing will be of the Japanese variety, but on the Potomac, not the Kamo. No singing and drinking parties beneath the boughs, either. If there were, the highest murder rate would only grow higher. Ducking drunken tunes is better than ducking sniper fire, true, but a job is a job, so off I go momentarily.

spring blossoms’ faint smell

mixed with gun smoke –

New World blend’s not a poem.

Easter hail

At her homestay’s end
We hurry to the station
Under Easter hail:
A childless man together
With a fatherless daughter.

(Kamome, with own German translation)

Aufenthaltsende –
Durch grellen Osterhagel
Gehn wir zum Bahnhof:
Ein vaterloses Maedchen
Mit einem kindlosen Mann.


……Monkeys on a rock
…………By the swirling river –
………………Screams from the boat.

Can you imagine the scene described in my recent haiku, composed at Ochiai by the Hozu Gorge? 保津峡の落合で最近に詠んだ句のイメージを想像できますか。There are several ways the poem could be interpreted. いくつかのとらえ方があると思う。Leave your interpretation as a comment, please. コメントとしてご自分の解釈を残してください(contributorではなくても出来ます)。Let’s see how many we get … どのぐらいの解釈が可能のでしょうか。

expat blues

the raw fish can be simply mouthwatering when it’s eaten in the right season. white rice and noodles are among the staple foods. certain rice wine, when it’s chilled in the summer, and warmed in the winter, can be heavenly. six years ago i got married here; started a family…

the pacific ocean between us

phone calls to my parents

fewer & fewer

Diary: Dec, 07 – Mar, 08

Dec, 07: Pokhara, Nepal.

under the shade of pipal

the ballad, “Lakshimi phiri-ri…”

the long stone-step path to the Himalayas

Jan, 08: Takatsuki, Osaka.

crows’ cries in the dusk cedar clump  a snowdrift below

Feb, 08: Okuma, Okinawa.

beach umbrella folded up under sunshine – north wind

Mar, 08: Shisendo Temple, Kyoto.

36 ancient Chinese poets

look down suspiciously on  poets

sketching the garden

Ox walk


‘ox walk’ is a literal translation of the Japanese ‘gyuho 牛歩’, which means ‘at a snail’s pace’. I seem to have taken quite a long time to get used to posting here! Instead of cowpats (see Tito’s posting ‘What’s a cirku?’ below) I offer you:

my footsteps

at an ‘ox walk’ pace …

the steps of spring

Longing for spring

This Ides of March warmth bids us to awake at last, accompanied by the nightingale’s mating song, to the Season Most Desired. Years back, remember? In April, Kyoto had snow. Amazingly beautiful, for its unusualness as well as for its briefness: melted away in hours. Loved it. This year, I will view the cherry blossoms as usual; but not in Kyoto by the banks of the mighty Kamo. Because of business in America’s capital, will be sipping Milwaukee’s finest beneath the boughs brought from Meiji (?) to Washington. (From Korea, if truth be known.) They had some very nice cherry saplings to give away.

Am reading a book now about when Japan was a colony of Paekche, in the 5th and 6th centuries. No haiku then, so here is one to make up for it:

horseriders we were;

fearing none, gave iron for land

and disdain.

Well, it’s a start. Not much reliable information from back then, tho we can guess that the natives were somewhat glad to have the visitors around, teaching how to throw pots, smelt gold, bang out brass. Poetry is everywhere.

15 degrees

How sweetly wonderful, dizzyingly so. This is Early Spring, and I feel like chanting something, like “Triple scoop, triple scoop, triple scoop” or related hymns. Soon, a cold beer will be truly delicious, not just a drink out of habit, or because there’s nothing else in the icebox. And I remember yesterday at Arashiyama:

in spring, finding

a fine view to sketch,

the chosen scene’s cat

adds herself

What’s a cirku?

A cirku is a haiku presented in a circular form, with gaps indicating lineation. You read the poem clockwise, usually beginning at about the one o’clock position. The reader is free, however, to start on any ‘line’. A true cirku will work, irrespective of which gap you begin reading it from. It is not easy to compose a good one! The example below was written in 2006 at Grassington, not far from where I was born. The Yorkshire Dales are the rolling grassy remnants of glaciated valleys. The town is in Upper Wharfedale and has a pretty, cobbled market square at its heart. That day, a Caribbean steel band was playing there. ‘cowpats’ are 牛のふん
Presenting a haiku with a complementary photo has been called both shahai and haisha (from shashin, the Japanese for ‘photo’), but I prefer the term haipho.
Click on the photo to read the cirku and enlarge!
Then click on ‘go back one page’ (top left of your screen) to return to the ICEBOX.