Archive for the Travel Category

The Last of My Wandering Journeys: Part II – Minakami

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Travel with tags on May 10, 2019 by sosui

.. My train arrived at Minakami Station on time. I had two hours before the next train left, so I decided to look at the town. Minakami is a hot spring resort, and I saw many hotels around the station, but no people. I wanted to look at the River Toné, but there was no sign directing me to the riverside trail. So, I decided to walk to the bridge situated to the north of the station. The Toné, now the size of an ordinary river, was rushing past with sparkling waters.
.. When I got back to the station, I found a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the suspension bridge known for its Yosano Akiko poem monuments. On arrival there, I was surprised by the beauty of this place. Here, the River Toné makes a sudden bend, forming rapids as it flows on through a little gorge. From the suspension bridge, I was able to see Mt. Tanigawa and other mountains forming a range. For a moment, I thought I spied snow at the top, but soon realized it was white clouds covering the summits like a cap. I was disappointed by the monuments, though, disliking their childish designs, but one monument, standing below the bridge on a rock right by the river, did impress me. The poem inscribed on the black marble slab was so fine that I am tempted to quote it here.
………. Craggy rocks rear up,
………. Trying to block the river:
………. How useless they are!
………. The stream runs like an arrow,
………. The youthful Toné!
The poem proved a very accurate description of the scene before me.
.. I found one huge granite boulder beside the bridge and a single pine tree growing from it.
………. High, the autumn sky
………. Above a pine, whose trunk stands
………. Unshaken in the wind.

To be continued …


Tokyo Meeting

Posted in Haiku, Travel with tags , on April 15, 2019 by David Stormer Chigusa

In spite of my Icebox truancy, Tito kindly invited me to take part in a meeting in Ueno, almost two weeks ago, of the Meguro International Haiku Circle. And then, in spite of my arriving late, the poets kindly asked me to contribute some of my haiku.

Here are the three I read out, composed last month on a trip to Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Gold pagoda
Roofs outreached by limbs of
A yellow tree

Not a Buddha
But a man, arms folded
At a bus stop

I played ball with
The children, and parting
Was no sorrow

Then, nearing home that evening, inspired by the poetry I’d heard and the acquaintances I’d made, the following came to me while walking by the river

Dark Sumida
From where these loud slaps on
The rolling hull?

The Last of My Wandering Journeys: Part I – The Toné River

Posted in Autumn, Haibun, Travel on April 13, 2019 by sosui

.. We had a lot of rain this summer. When autumn came, I was seized with a burning desire to go on a wandering journey. Already eighty-six, with weakening legs, I knew it was going to be the last of my journeys. From the very outset, however, I fully enjoyed this journey, for I had to plan it rather carefully. Wanting to go to remote places I had not seen before, I chose Lake Okutadami in Niigata Prefecture, Ozemiike Pond in Fukushima Prefecture, and Ryuoukyo Gorge and Kinugawa Spa in Tochigi Prefecture. I found out that it would be possible to visit all these places in three days by using local trains and country buses. Timing would be a bit tricky, though, as two typhoons were in the offing! Once the first one had passed, I decided to leave immediately, for there would surely be at least two fine days, perhaps three, before the next typhoon arrived. I had to hurry, though, because one of the buses I wanted to use would stop its service in less than ten days.
………. The typhoon gone by,
………. I watched my dreams revolving
………. Round my little room.
.. So, at Takasaki Station, I got on a local train on the Joetsu Line. Unfortunately, it was one of those rather uncomfortable commuter trains. The main attraction of this line was a long tunnel that lies on the border of Gunma and Niigata Prefectures and I had been wanting to travel through this for the first time in my life. With Takasaki soon behind me, I enjoyed the changing views of Mt. Haruna from the train window. I live at the foot of this mountain, but what I saw from the train window was an entirely different shape. Mt. Haruna has multiple peaks, so that as we move in relation to it, we never see the same mountain form.
.. Soon after the train left Shibukawa Station, I had a spectacular view of the River Toné. As its nickname Bando Taro (First Son of the East Country) indicates, it is one of the largest rivers in Japan. When it came into view, it was near flood level after the typhoon and was collecting the water of a major branch, too, thus almost doubling its size. T. S. Eliot once called the Mississippi “a brown god”. The River Toné was an angry brown god that day.
………. Trees and grasses bow
………. As an angry god cavorts
………. Headlong through the vale.
.. I continued to feel anxious, as I knew the train service could well be suspended before I had finished my journey. My experience told me, though, that the headwaters of the river might already be abating in this fine weather. And, sure enough, the River Toné became less and less brown as I travelled north.

To be continued …

The Shimanto River Line

Posted in Haipho, Spring, Travel with tags on March 31, 2019 by Nori

a limpid stream runs
beside the unprofitable railway –
swelling of buds

Renga: ‘As Close to Triglav’

Posted in Renga, Travel with tags on September 29, 2018 by Branko

P1150717 triglav houses medium

Evening, 9 Sept. 2018, Radovljica, Slovenia; a linked verse co-edited by Stephen Gill (Tito), Dimitar Anakiev (Kamesan) & Branko Manojlovic; based partly on a long journey made between summer and autumn. Footnotes are appended.


As close to Triglav1
as we could be …
a cloud or two apart


Autumn begins: my
two guests were looking for a church
but they found me


In the mountain breeze
a campanula2 has turned
deep gentian blue


To my pen as I write
atop the peak —


Very long ginko3
jotting down poetry
using a goldenrod4


Sun-ignited clouds
weighing into
the Julian Alps5


Lying on its side
on a carpet of grass,
a foal in bliss


Snails, cats and me —
in the kiwi garden today
friends from Kyoto


The slower path:
deep in forest
spindle6 berries


A sea wind
blowing through the belfry,
the bells almost tone


It’s getting colder —
next to a Communist shrine
the Crucifixion


Here Soča7 ran red
with soldiers’ blood …
kids throwing stones


The pale weeping tree
planted above
my white dog’s8 grave


Hard for me to grasp
the vanishing of a world:
yerba buena9


Imagine the bulging eyes
that first spied these
viridian lakes10


Wavering beneath me
through sun-dappled shallows,
faces of mosaic saints


My big moustache
too wild it got this morning —
the street is so steep


Through the hushed arteries
of ancient Piran11
to its very heart


A pair of flip-flops
left at the base of the olive —
a story awaits


Those xenophobic
mosquitoes: bite after bite
for fugitives


In Lika valley12
dark-eyed Syrians — a wary
herd of deer



1 Mt. Triglav, highest mountain in Slovenia (and former Yugoslavia), 2864m, visible at rear left in the photo
2  campanula, bellflower
3 ginko, haiku composition stroll
4 goldenrod, tall yellow-flowered genus, solidago, mostly from N. America
5 Julian Alps, easternmost range in the Alps, stretching from Italy into Slovenia
6 spindle, pink-berried shrub genus, euonymous
7 Soča, river flowing to the Adriatic from the Julian Alps, scene of First World War fighting between Italy and Austro-Hungarian Empire
8 white dog, a spaniel from upland Nepal named Gabbitas, buried in England
9 yerba buena, spearmint
10 viridian lakes, Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
11 Piran, old port town in Slovenian Istria
12 Lika, region of central Croatia, bordering northern Bosnia-Herzegovina

P1150613 poets on Talež medium

Stopping outside

Posted in Haiqua, New Year, Travel with tags on January 7, 2018 by Tito

Stopping outside
A house of quiet embroidery …
Dog’s muzzle
To my hand.

(Banpho, Vietnam, 30.12.17)

We wish our readers a Happy New Year of the Dog. For you all, may its muzzle softly lick!

Sri Lanka – stolen flowers, dancing & worms

Posted in Haibun, Travel with tags , on May 25, 2016 by David Stormer Chigusa

We went to Sri Lanka last week for four days for a friend’s wedding. Everyone received a gift from the bride and groom, then the DJ got going – and so did the most dance-addled wedding crowd I’d ever had the gleeful privilege to be a part of.

Slights like
this smaller gift –
then dancing

We were taken around some of the sights on the island for a couple of days after the wedding, one of which was Danbulla Temple. We were all given a flower at the entrance to take up to the temple. Mine didn’t even make it halfway.

A flower for Buddha
Devoured in bliss
By a monkey


Leaving, there was a brief, ostensibly routine, yet all-the-same extraordinary, pat-down at the airport that left me glazy and strangely elated.

Touched like that
at security
woke warm worms

No other words for it. (But, for a little context, may I add that friends were there, one of whom – from Brazil – is into gardening, for which he breeds worms: minhoca [mee-nyo-ka] in Portuguese.)