Uji ‘I Wish’ Kukai – Hanami – Ginko

At last, after coronavirus cancellations and a rain postponement the previous week, a real opportunity to celebrate our new book! 3 April 2021 – Hailstone held a hanami kukai (haiku evaluation meet) in Uji, on a large groundsheet on Nakanoshima Island under some of its still-blossoming cherry trees. Participants read aloud and commented on their favourite 3 haiku from the ‘I Wish‘ anthology (published last December). Afterwards, a ginko (composition stroll) was held on the north bank of the river, visiting Uji Shrine, the Heian Period Ujikami Shrine, and the rocky approach to Koshoji Temple.

Kukai Winning Haiku (3 votes):

…… Like a Kabuki actor
…… an old persimmon tree
…… posing alone
……………. Hitomi Suzuki

Runner-up (2 votes):

…… This colour
…… squeezed from sky and earth,
…… a tinted leaf falls
……………. Miki Kotera

Congratulations to both poets. Your haiku were selected as favourites from a field of 218 in the book!

That very week, Masahiro Nakagawa had sent in this haiku:

…… ‘I Wish’ —
…… I finish reading it
…… as cherry petals fall

The cover of the book, by Richard Steiner, also portrays streaming cherry petals. Now, here we were celebrating its publication and enjoyment on the last possible day for a hanami this year.

…… Lips get eloquent
…… at the outdoor haiku gathering …
…… wandering cherry petals
……………. Akihiko Hayashi

………………………….. Mistletoe
………………………….. on a blooming cherry —
………………………….. a wish to be transformed?
………………………………………… Kyoko Norma Nozaki

…… Through cherry blossoms
…… blushes of sunlight visit
…… our picnic lunch
……………. Akira Kibi

………………………….. “One more night”
………………………….. whispered to the station cherry –-
………………………….. rainclouds in the west
………………………………………… Tito

4 responses to “Uji ‘I Wish’ Kukai – Hanami – Ginko

  1. I am pleased to hear that you were able to hold your hana kukai in Uji. I wish I could have joined, but my age and Covid-19 prevent any sort of such dream. However, the home I am staying at is surrounded by plum and cherry trees, So it was possible for me to hold my solo hana kukai. Allow me to share the following three poems:

    月おぼろ花の白波おちこちに

    A hazy spring moon —
    White waves of cherry blossoms
    Dancing here and there.

    花を縫い飛び交う鳥の歓喜かな

    Birds fly back and forth
    Threading through cherry blossoms —
    Their great joyfulness.

    花の下ヴィオラ弾く児の像に会う

    Under a cherry
    I met a bronze of a boy
    Playing a viol.

    • From Gerald/
      Sosui, your second poem brought back memories of experiencing my first cherry blossom season in Japan. I went to Shinjuku Park in Tokyo and saw hanami parties as well as a variety of cherry blossoms, including the rare ukonzakura. However, what caught my attention the most was a gang of crows flying from tree to tree making a noisy racket. They seemed to be having a great time too among themselves.

  2. From Gerald/

    What depth and excitement in the Hitomi’s poem. I can imagine being in the Kabuki theater waiting for an actor to do their mie pose – Ah, an old persimmon tree! And the way Miki captures a natural process is quite lovely. Two nice poems.

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