Archive for September, 2013

Arashiyama Flood Rensaku

Posted in Autumn, News, Rensaku on September 17, 2013 by Tito


A rensaku is a longer poem by a single author comprising haiku-like stanzas, each containing a different poetic image. I was down at the Oi (Katsura) Riverside this morning seeing what could be done to help…

Her kitchen now coated
With dark river mud –
The anguish behind her smile

Tamba timber flotsam
Crumpled about the piers
Of Moon Crossing Bridge

For hours
It stood against the flood –
A Kyoto lamp post lowered

Here are the buckets
Here is the mud
Here comes Rob* …
And off we go!

Brother and sister
Bail mud from the shop –
Flash visit from the mayor

The mulligatawny river
Now slinking past
The ornate tearooms
It has fouled

* Rob Mangold, director of the disaster relief charity, IDRO , with whom I got stuck in for a while. The Saturday 21 Sep. PTO workday will be partly or entirely devoted to helping the clean-up by the river at Ogurayama’s foot if there is still something we can do. Otherwise, it will be path maintenance on the hill above. Dep. Saga-Arashiyama JR at 9:45.




Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2014

Posted in Haibun, News with tags , , on September 8, 2013 by Tito

This is Japan’s only international haibun contest. Entry is free and prizes include publication in a haibun book next year. This year, we have a new office and officer, and one new judge, Hisashi Miyazaki, who is warmly welcomed as one of Japan’s only active haibun practitioners.

Ideally, there will be one Grand Prix, a number of An Prizes (‘Cottage’ Prizes, highly commended), and some Honourable Mentions, too. The authors of entries chosen for the first two of these categories will receive prizes, and all decorated works will warrant a certificate from the organizers. In the spring, the results will be displayed here on the Hailstone Icebox and elsewhere. Check back in April or May 2014? You can read last year’s winning pieces on a separate page (‘Genjuan Winning Haibun’).

Entries to : Ms. Eiko Mori, 2-11-23-206 Jokoji, Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo-ken 660-0811, Japan (to arrive between 1 Oct. 2013 and 31 Jan. 2014)

Each entry should total 15 to 40 lines (at 1 line = 80 spaces), with title and at least one haiku (no formal restrictions). Print on one side of A4, if possible, with your name and address, tel. no., and email address typed along the bottom. The judges will not get to know your identity until judging is over and the Genjuan Contest office already knows the results.

Judges: Nobuyuki Yuasa, Stephen Henry Gill, Hisashi Miyazaki.

Full details via the page link (top right) ‘幻住庵 Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2014 Guidelines’.  Please do take part!


Posted in Haibun with tags , on September 3, 2013 by David Stormer Chigusa

I lived in Osaka for 11 years starting in the early 1990s. Osaka gripped me then with its earthiness and immediacy, unlike the brittleness and coolness of Tokyo that I accept now as adjuncts to other things I have come to value, like diversity, flux and layeredness.

Osaka was where people just came up in bars, clubs and restaurants and talked to you – and where you inevitably got very drunk with them, weekend after weekend.

One of my favorite haunts during my first four years in Osaka was the Doyamacho area, a few hundred meters east of Umeda station.

Too close
for echoes, those old
Doyamacho bars

It was at a bar in Doyamacho, I don’t remember which one, that I met my good friend Punch (real name, Fumio) and his friend Wani (“Crocodile” – real name unknown). Both were involved in “design,” which seemed to mean imparting or creating aesthetic advice or decorations on a freelance basis via kone (i.e., “connections,” patronage). Punch was a tough mix of waifish and wizened, lean, sharp-witted, with small black bright eyes, quick with his tongue, and always laughing. Wani was tall, lumbering, lantern-jawed and retiring. Both were about 15 years older than I, giving them something of the status of mentors—people who, although I hardly ever met up with them in daylight, looked out a little for me, or at least let me know what they thought I ought to know.

Stumbling off
with a good-for-nothing
to peals of “baaka!”*

*”fool,” “idiot”

Time passed, and the last I ever saw of Punch was when we parted one morning near where I lived. Life had been tough on him and he had always maintained his buoyancy, but the price of it was beginning to show. I was living in a gaijin house, and, after a night on the town, this time he seemed to have nowhere to go. Yet, as we walked from Tennoji station to my place, he wouldn’t calm down, but maintained what had become a manic monologue. At the last moment I had to withdraw my offer to put him up that night and say “I don’t know” to his “What am I going to do then?”

It was perhaps a couple of years after that that I got word from an acquaintance that my old friend Punch was no more. I was invited. He lay there as if sleeping.

Much time has passed
Dare I stand by my friend
In reverence?

Genjuan 2014

Posted in Haibun, News with tags on September 3, 2013 by Tito

The announcement of the Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2014 will be made on this site (and elsewhere) shortly. There will be at least one additional judge this year and a new office address. Submissions will be accepted from Oct. 1 onwards. Entry will remain free.

Please watch this space for full details before sending in your work or asking specific questions. Thank you for your patience.