The past three months

.. The rainy season continued until the beginning of August this year.

………………………… though the rain stopped
………………………… the wind roars at night:
………………………… lingering rain front

.. During that long rainy season, I received sad news. One of my cousins had passed away. When I was a little girl, he was kind enough to take care of me, playing chess and Hanafuda. The memory stays with me, emerging today into this deep foggy morning.


………. dense fog
………. even the castle mountain
………. loses its frame
 

.. Then the severely hot summer came in. But no matter how hot it was, the spread of COVID-19 did not ease.  

………………………… meaningless
………………………… as a symbol of the winter,
………………………… facemasks

.. Everyone faithfully wore those masks, feeling almost choked in the middle of the summer.  

………. a dry fallen leaf
………. stuck in the scorching asphalt,
………. patience with pride

.. Recently, a huge typhoon passed by. It has made us feel that we may now have taken a step back down the stairs. 

………………………… one degree Celsius
………………………… I can tell the difference
………………………… late summer room

 

 

Hiroshima-Matsuyama Tour

Five Hailstone poets (UM, BM, SMc, AS and T) received an invitation from Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture to take a pilot tour (with Japan Tourist Bureau) to Hiroshima and Matsuyama on 19-21 March, escorted by another Hailstone (NK), who is its coordinator and a resident of the latter city. One of the fixers (KT), also added a haiku. The following report was compiled by T with a little help from me.
Flower-inducing rain 催花雨 saika-u, was letting up as we arrived at our first destination, Miyajima. The great red sacred gate was backed by hills of swirling mist. Composition began in earnest, but …
…………… The Miyajima deer—
…………… it ate my haiku!
…………… …………… (Ursula)
After ourselves swallowing a few grilled oysters, a launch took us back across the Inland Sea and up a river in Hiroshima to a pier near our hotel.
…………… …………… A-bomb dome
…………… …………… Bending iron rod
…………… …………… Bending spring willow
…………… ………………………… (Nori)
Hiroshima is situated on a river delta and is famous for its Peace Museum and its lemons. The next day, after eating lemon-flavoured French toast with our morning coffee, once again we headed off to the Inland Sea, this time under a clear blue sky.
…………… Early spring morning—
…………… Hiroshima’s broad fan
…………… Chills the bay
…………… …………… (Albie)
…………… …………… …………… From the Lemon Coast
…………… …………… …………… To the Orange Shore—
…………… …………… …………… A launch’s wake
…………… …………… …………… …………… (Tito)
Matsuyama is famous for its mikan oranges, for its castle and its contribution to the evolution of haiku poetry. It was the birthplace of Shiki Masaoka, and the pilot tour is designed to bring foreigners with an interest in literature to visit the distant town. On disembarking, we made our way up to the donjon through cherry buds beginning to burst.
…………… …………… Feet dangling
…………… …………… on a chair lift: small boy
…………… …………… once again
…………… …………… …………… (Branko)

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That afternoon, for one blissful hour, most poets soaked in a bath at nearby Dogo Hot-spring, a real treat. In the evening, we were joined by some local haiku poets in a specially created ‘haiku bar’. We had a merry time of airing verse already composed and receiving high-spirited feedback!
…………… …………… …………… Dogo Hot-spring –
……………. …………… ………….. from the taiko* rhythm
…………… …………… …………… vivid colors spark
…………… …………… …………… …………… (Kiki)
On our third and final day, we were greeted by another blue sky. Our first engagement, a tea ceremony introduction, was followed by a visit to The Shiki Museum. Shiki was seen to be a poetic prodigy, whose life ended far too early.
We were then asked to attend a meeting with officials from the city tourist board and the national tourist agency and give them detailed feedback on our experience up to that point. This was accomplished in a constructive but not uncritical way, which we all hope might help improve the envisaged product for JTB.
Finally, we attended the prize-giving of the Matsuyama International Photo Haiku Contest in the hall at The Shiki Museum. Copious inquetes were dutifully filled in, but some of us still managed to enjoy the judge’s comments made by Itsuki Natsui.
…………… …………… Low energy, late afternoon
…………… …………… Shiki’s sad life—
…………… …………… A waft of jinchoge**
…………… …………… …………… (Sally)
* large Japanese drum
** daphne

Buttercup tree

Image

Though it was a little too late to enjoy it in full bloom, I did see deep yellow flowers looking like cups filled with melted butter or ghee.
.
バターカップの木
口紅に使われるらし
陽に溶けて

Buttercup tree
Which I hear is used for lipstick –
Melting in the sun

Manoa

Morning dew …
Its clear, transparent drops:
If only I could run
Without stepping on them
With my white shoes.

朝露の透き通る球できるれば踏まで走らん白シューズ

I ate Manoa lettuce full of dewdrops for my breakfast.

West and East

West and East

. Soaked in the dusk
. Sunset in the West
. Turning over the East is
. A gray sky with no light
. Where its edge cut,
. A white building

にしひがし

暮れなずむ西に入り陽東には
光なき雲切る白きビル

My friend’s haiku

I went to my former apartment to have a talk with some residents there. It felt like old alumni meeting up.

During our four hours of chat, one person asked me to translate her haiku. They are important to her because she made these when she was recovering from illness. She wanted to see how they sounded in English. So I tried some translations, but I’d appreciate others’ feedback.

月燃えて地に光の矢放ちけり
Down to the globe
The blazing moon shoots
Arrows of light

宵闇をきらきらと縫ふ翼の灯
Lights of the wing
Twinkles like a stitch
Dark evening sky

The first memorial service

My father passed away last August and my family had the first memorial service the day before yesterday. My mother, who is a poet, selected 66 tanka related to her husband, composed during those four last years when she had known about his disease, and compiled them into a handmade booklet. In Japan, it is customary to offer a gift to participants at the service. So the booklet was added to a box of sweets, without any special word.

I don’t write tanka or haiku that much. So I tried a little translation instead.

子育ての頃のごとくに看取りゐる夫ねむる間買い物に出づ

Just like I used to do / all those decades ago / when child-raising, / I go out to the grocery / leaving an invalid sleeping inside

ふるさとの球児ら躍動する映像夫見てゐき死の四日前

He was watching a broadcast / of the high-school baseball tournament, / his hometown players darting around: / this, only four short days / before his end