Three steps

As my hometown is Matsuyama, Ehime, I’d like to introduce a wonderful haiku by Fukio Shiba (1903-1930), who was born in the western Ehime countryside. One of his greatest works – and my personal favorite – is

…. あなたなる 夜雨の葛の あなたかな

…. Anata naru yozame no kuzu no anata kana

…. In a far-off place

…. Wet arrowroot in the dark

…. And you.

It’s difficult to translate; very surrealistic.

From the end of July I worked for a time at a plant in Kagawa Prefecture in an industrial area at the foot of Seto Ohashi Bridge.  It belongs to the same Inland Sea coast as my hometown, Matsuyama, but is completely different in character. I worked to liaise between German and Italian technicians and local Japanese mechanics – the one, with broken English; the other, with strong Japanese dialect!

…..Gigantic steam machine –

…..In heavy work shoes, my ankles

…..Click with every step.

And now, I’m based in Hawaii.

…. Back to summer –

…. Icing

…. For my first Halloween.

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8 Responses to “Three steps”

  1. I wish you well in your new life out in Hawaii. By ‘Icing’, do you mean applying ice to your head or neck or somewhere? The Kagawa technical liaison work bit was interesting, though I cut the letter-like intro about attending the Hailstone Buson Walk. It wasn’t in my view ‘haibun’. You MUST give us the Japanese kanji for the Shiba haiku, as well as an attempt at English translation, please. Hisashi or I will help if you give us those two things. Without English, it does not merit mention on the Icebox. Yoroshiku!

  2. Thank you for your proofreading and suggestion. I agree that the first intro was unnecessary if I can say it’s a haibun but a diary. I’ve never made haibun even in Japanese. Please be patient. Your ten minutes work is two hours work for me.

    Fukio Shiba (芝 不器男)’s masterpice;

    あなたなる 夜雨の葛の あなたかな

    He made this when he was in Sendai as a Tohoku University student,
    longing for the sight of home where his family often held Kukai together.
    Anata means ‘you’, ‘distant direction’ or it might be ‘the person you love’.

    In a too far-off place
    Kudzu in rain at night
    Longing for you

    Did Fukio long for his home or/and his kind sister in law?

  3. And I meant by ‘icing’ regarding the Halloween event (that I happened to encounter) as an icing on the cake to my Hawai’i life.

  4. My last interpretation for ‘Anatanaru… ‘ haiku might be a common, secular one.
    What made me impress when I visited Fukio Shiba’s memorial house
    was the fact that he revised this haiku again and again until he got this.
    I felt I could sense some transparency for each grain of letter particularly by such process.

    My second interpretation is;

    Far-off place
    Wet arrowroot in the dark
    Out in the space

    I prefer this.

  5. Hisashi Miyazaki Says:

    Aloha!不器男の有名な句ですね。仰る通り、2つの「あなた」には、両方ともyouと距離とがかかっている。この句は嫂の梅子へのラブレターらしい。御翻訳句はどちらも素敵ですし、私はラブレターを書いたことがありませんからわかりませんが、ラブレターと思われる方(前訳)がいいのかも、あるいはハガキに書かれた句だそうですから密かなる恋(後訳)がいいのかも。いずれにするかは、作者のいない所では翻訳者権利発揮の場ですぞ。Alohaoe!

  6. Hisashi Miyazaki Kameさん フォローアップありがとうございます。
    先日暇にまかせてバスに乗りオアフ島の北端まで往復してきました。
    ホノルルとは違ったゆったりした空気と時間が流れています。
    折り返し地点、北端で休憩をとろうと降り立つと、

    Turtle Bay Resort true hawai’i
    is the hotel
    One more slow step

  7. Nobuyuki Yuasa Says:

    What big three steps in your life you describe in your haibun! I was reminded of my first visit to Hawaii about fifty years ago. My plane left Haneda late at night. I had my breakfast at Wake Island, where I saw wrecks of Japanese warships on the shore. I flew all day over the ocean and reached Honolulu in the evening. I was welcomed by a lady who gave me a lei and a kiss on my cheek. I must admit that it was a sort of cultural shock. Your haibun, certainly, deascribes big three steps in your life, but what is their relationship? Your favourite haiku you quote at the beginning sounds a bit isolated from the rest. It would be nice if you could find some kind of string that binds all your steps together.

  8. I live in a condominium which is about 40 years old. I heard that hotels in Waikiki were mostly built about 40 years ago. It means you know Hawaii ten years before the major tourism was organized. I appreciate your adventure.

    Actually it’s difficult to link my big three steps with a meaninfgul string.
    Those three were in May, August and October. And everytime I was just lazy to submit immediately. I can say my life has changed a lot in half a year and at least these three steps show the time and place I was.

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