Archive for May, 2012

Wakanoura Ginkō 和歌浦吟行 & Annular Eclipse 金環日食観察

Posted in Event report, Haiku, Haiqua, Japanese Classic, Spring on May 29, 2012 by Richard Donovan

20th May 2012. A bus from JR Wakayama Station takes 12 Hailstone poets to 不老橋 Furō Bridge opposite 塩竈神社 Shiogama Shrine, whose ancient sanctum is carved out of the striated cliffs and topped with a gnarled pine tree that seems an extension of the rock itself. 

Low spring tide
at Shiogama Shrine –
still the schist flows
…………………..Kittredge Stephenson

There, we watch the priest bless first an infant; then, a dog.

In a cave decorated by past waves,
all wish happiness for the newborn.
………………………………………Hiroko Okamoto 

We visit 玉津島神社 Tamatsushima Shrine, one of the three patron shrines of 和歌 waka and repository of a designated natural monument – an ancient tree (another pine?) writhing in fantastic tortured shapes. Here, we observe a wedding; the bride in traditional white bonnet, white gown.  One hundred steps above the shrine, the view from 奠供山 Mt. Tengu, which Emperor Shōmu climbed with the poet, 山辺赤人 Yamabe no Akahito, early in the eighth century, unscrolls Wakanoura Bay before us.

若の浦に潮満ち来れば潟(かた)を無(な)み 葦辺(あしべ)をさして鶴(たづ)鳴き渡る (山辺赤人 CE. 724)
As the tide flows in / To Wakanoura Bay, / Sandbars are lost beneath the waves … / Cranes fly crying / Towards the reedy shore. (trans. SG)

We then cross 三断橋 Sandankyō Bridge to the tiered pagoda 海禅院 Kaizen’in on 妹背山 Imoseyama islet … 

…. the mudflat
…. all to herself –
…. clamdigger
……………………. – Gerald 

A convivial lunch is washed down with drinks of fresh ginger; and we are soon walking again, along あしべ通り Ashibe St. beside a tidal canal (punctuated by derelict wooden fishing boats) towards Wakanoura port, where we turn off through 御手洗池公園 Mitarai-ike Park. Beyond are the steep, nobly weathered green stone steps leading up to 和歌浦天満宮 Wakaura-Tenmangū, one of the nation’s three chief Tenmangū shrines, each dedicated to 菅原道真 Sugawara no Michizane, a Heian scholar and diplomat later deified as 天神 Tenjin, God of Learning. Wakanoura is the port from where he left on exile.
老(ろう)を積む身は浮き船に誘(さそ)はれて 遠ざかり行く和歌の浦波 (菅原道真 CE. 901)
My weary old body has been bidden / To depart aboard this bobbing ship: / I can now but watch the waves / Beating against the Waka’ura shore / As it recedes into the distance. (trans. SG) 

………………..  plum blossoms long gone,
………………..  but two black butterflies
………………… vie above Tenmangū –
………………… Michizane’s spirit soaring?
…………………………………………..Richard Donovan 

We head west, following the coastline,  past near-deserted docks, around a pristine cove of clear water, through a booming tunnel, past a beach crowded with locals enjoying their Sunday barbecues … all the time, haunted by the district’s strange green stone.

toward the sand bar
kissing rocks form an arch –
Wakanoura
…………………………..Akira Kibi

…………………………………. Deserted hotels
…………………………………. In green vines –
…………………………………. The sound of waves
……………………………………………………Mayumi Kawaharada

All too soon it is time for the daytrippers amongst us to catch their return bus. Those who remain press on for 番所庭園 Bandoko Gardens, a ‘nose’ (番所の鼻) of lush green sticking out into the Pacific Ocean. 

………………………………………………….. Finding the open quiet
………………………………………………….. At the end of today’s trail –
………………………………………………….. My friend’s deep sigh.
…………………………………………………………………………………….Tito 

Flanked by four islets, the tiny peninsula is an oasis of calm, a world apart from the busy industrial portland coming into view away to the north.

…. Across the Bay of Saika
…. candy-striped towers
…. belching smoggy floss
…………………….Michael Lambe

………………………………………………….. fishing-boat rumble fades …
………………………………………………….. again, the softly breaking waves
………………………………………………….. at Bandoko Cliffs
…………………………………………………………………………………Richard Donovan

Checking in at Manpa Hotel, the first rain begins to fall. What weather will the day of the eclipse bring us, we wonder. Haiku written during the day are later shared, grinned and beared.

The 21st dawns fine, with but a few small veils of light cloud, soon melting off. We move to our various stations, sun-viewing sheets in hand. Two of the remaining party climb a nearby hill;  others mount a giant rock at the seashore.

By 7:30 am, the moon is upon us, the light on the sea now an amber early evening cast. 

………………………………………………….. Eclipse
………………………………………………….. Through new cherry leaves …
………………………………………………….. My scimitared shirt.
…………………………………………………………………………..Tito

a golden carp leaps out
just to see it …
eclipse of the sun
……………………Jiko

Falling Bamboo Leaves

Posted in Haiku, Spring on May 25, 2012 by Tito

A set-topic (兼題) composition exercise – held yesterday evening at Stillhollow Pond (長谷池) in Senri Chuo, Osaka – brought some good images from many of the participants. Late spring is also known in Japan as ‘bamboo autumn’ (竹の秋), and this was one of the two topics set. Here are a few of the haiku received (a couple of them, very slightly ‘tweaked’):

Twilight
moment of stillness …
falling bamboo leaves ………………….. (Akito Mori)

A path covered
with fallen bamboo leaves –
to where does it lead? ………………….. (Eiko Mori)

new to me –
yellow irises
by Stillhollow Pond ………………….. (Lake Morishima)

evening stroll
through fallen bamboo leaves –
mosquito welcome ………………….. (Hisashi Miyazaki)

Sogenchi Pond & Sazare Rock

Posted in Event report, Spring on May 12, 2012 by Tito

April 5th. Five Hailstones joined a group of Australian and New Zealand haiku and tanka poets (coordinated by Eucalypt‘s Beverley George) for a temple lunch and a stroll around Muso Soseki’s 14th Century Sogenchi 曹源池 Water Garden at Tenryuji Zen Temple in Sagano. Earlier, Tito had given the visitors a lecture on the literary history of the area at Kyorai’s house, Rakushisha 落柿舎.

…. the faint clatter
…. of the weaver’s loom . . .
…. Saga lane
……………………. (Beverley George)

April 15th. Four Hailstones joined volunteers of the NPO, People Together for Mt. Ogura, for a hike to Ondo Hill 音戸山 in Sagano, where we found the Sazare Rock, famed for the anonymous waka written about it (Kokinshu 343), on which the words for Japan’s national anthem were based: わが君はちよにやちよにさざれ石の巌となりて苔のむすまで That His Majesty’s reign / May continue for a thousand, / Even eight thousand generations; / For as long as it took the Sazare Rock to form / And for moss to find a home. As many of the pine-trees around it have died, the sun now shines directly on much of the huge Rock, and moss was hard to find in its crannies! Later, we helped PTO with bundling up faggots of brushwood for traditional  Saga-style fencing. ‘From the Icebox inbox – 25’ (two posts below) includes a haiku written on the day by JikoAlso, this, from Akira Kibi:

…. blossoming cherries
…. to the speedwell in the field …
…. spring has come

click on any photo to enlarge  

Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2012 Results

Posted in Haibun, News with tags , on May 2, 2012 by sosui

幻住庵 Genjuan Haibun Contest
Decorated Works 2012

Grand Prix:
Jackdaws by D J Peel (Takenoko), U.K.

An (Cottage) Prizes:
The Blue Jacaranda by Kala Ramesh, India
Crime and Punishment by Cara Holman, U.S.A.
Yeh Go I by James Norton, Ireland

Honourable Mentions:
Kite in August by Carol Pearce, U.S.A.
Gandolph and Merlin by Pearl Elizabeth Dell May, U.K.
The Unstrung Guitar by Patricia Prime, New Zealand
Timeline by Roberta Beary, U.S.A.
Mind Unfound by Sonam Chhoki, Bhutan

.. We received a total of 96 entries from 14 different countries. We are very pleased with this result and should like to thank all the contributors for their warm support. The general level of the works was high enough, but it was difficult for the judges to single out a piece for the Grand Prix. Also, it was equally difficult for the judges to limit the number of Honourable Mentions to five since so many works followed close on their heels. Our hearty congratulations go to the authors of the decorated works.
.. Some works ran over onto a second page, and others were too short. We also received a copy of previously published work, and one entrant wrote his name at the top of the page! All such minor violations of the rules present us with problems. We have slightly revised the guidelines for next year’s Contest, outlined via the page link at top right of this screen. The main change is that in 2113, instead of a length stipulation of anything up to 30 lines, we have made it 20-40 lines. We hope thereby to encourage rather longer haibun. The top four haibun from 2012 will be reproduced on this site shortly, under a special page link, for anyone to read.