Archive for Journey

Of Michio, Toshi and the Village of Mizuo

Posted in Autumn, Event report, News with tags , , on November 2, 2014 by Tito

Mountain valley —
chancing upon
the Shangri-La
of a spring in citron-trees

……. (Michio Sano)

The full moon
over the harvested rice fields —
villagers sleep

……. (Toshi Ida)

There were two Hailstone journeys undertaken recently which passed, under high blue skies, through the mountain village of Mizuo (水尾lit. ‘Water Ridge’) that nestles beneath a shoulder of Mt. Atago. As Michio’s 1998 haiqua (above) intimates, Mizuo is famous for its citrons and is often referred to as 柚子の里 Yuzu no SatoKC4F0040

The first journey, on October 19, was a most solemn occasion: a break on the way to visit the late Toshi Ida’s house in Chitose-cho (千歳町, 30 mins beyond) and offer prayers before his funeral altar. Toshi was a founding member of Hailstone Haiku Circle and close friend of so many of us. We soaked up the autumn sun in Mizuo, where chestnut tiger butterflies still flew around. Arriving eventually in Chitose-cho, the Hailstone delegation of the day – Keiko, Ursula and Tito – were graciously welcomed by Toshi’s wife, Michiko. Later we met their son, and were shown around Toshi’s study and the vegetable patch now immortalized in his collection, Plain Living, Happy Singing. Secrets were revealed, hugs were given and tears were shed.

October field —
mantes, too
their sickles pressed together
praying for a poet’s soul

……. (Keiko Yurugi)

It’s autumn —
yet the bells he used
for warning bears
now hung on the wall

…….  (Tito)

Homage:
a yellow rose,
his home-grown mikan, goya and
book of verse

……. (Ursula Maierl)

The second journey, held on October 26 in association with People Together for Mt. Ogura, was a happy hike along the Rice Buyers’ Way (米買の道 Komekai no Michi) from Mizuo to Ochiai, and then up over Rokucho Pass 六丁峠, skirting Mt. Ogura, and finally dropping down into Adashino. The 9 participants began by visiting the 9th Century Emperor Seiwa’s Shrine in Mizuo.

Spilled rubies —
fallen pomegranate
from the neighbour’s tree

……. (Richard Donovan)

The trail climbed out of Mizuo through woods in early autumn colours. After cresting Koujin Pass at about 400m, we descended to a mossy spot by a stream.WIN_20141026_102432a- Sunbeams pierced tall cypress trees whose distant tops were slightly moving against the sky. There we ate our packed lunches.

Water striders
gliding on a stream …
illusion of drizzle

……. (Kyoko Nozaki)

Twinkling diamonds
stud a tiny mushroom —
morning dew

……. (Mayumi Kawaharada)

To what tune
does the spider spin
this disc that snares the light?

……. (Michael Lambe)

At Ochiai, we saw the poem monument for Basho’s Kiyotaki ya haiku about green pine needles. After watching boats shooting the rapids on the Hozu River, we climbed up past the now almost-cleared rubbish tips of Mt. Ogura. KC4F0036

In Adashino, participants were offered the chance by a local PTO supporter, Mrs. Matsuyama, to pick their own citrons from a thorny tree standing by the NPO’s rubbish collection tools storehouse just outside Nenbutsuji Temple.

That evening, belated news happened to come through from the wife of another founding member of Hailstone, Michio Sano (of Yao in Osaka). He had passed away, aged 86, on January 15 this year!

Full circle:
a citron now floating in the bath,
a new devouring grief

……. (Tito)

Michio, how much we learned from you! How deep and elegant was your haiku oeuvre. In Shangri-La eternal, please now rest in peace. 合掌

Jumping from
the harvest bonfire —
a sooty frog

……. (Michio Sano, from Seasons of the Gods, 2007) KC4F0058

Mount Tsubakuro Autumn Haike

Posted in Autumn, Event report with tags , on September 29, 2014 by Tito

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Hailstone Haiku Circle’s annual Autumn Haike (haiku-writing hike) was this year held in northern Nagano Prefecture, 13-16 September. Eleven people took part. Mt. Tsubakuro (2,763m) is a long but very rewarding climb. The adventure, however, was not without challenge, even a little pain. Let’s allow the haiku we wrote to tell the story of it.

……… stuck in holiday traffic:
……… our gaze alone
……… visits the distant hills
……………
(Richard)

Over yellow fields
And marigold flowers
Mountains on jagged mountains
…… (Lisa)

……… In rice-fields of Azumino
……… He loses the way, apologizes —
……… No one minds
……………
(Tito)

Hemlocks in mist —
the tapping of the trekking poles
up the steep footpath
(Branko)

……… fresh spring water
……… icy in our flasks:
……… I sprint up the slope
……………
(Richard)

to a slow climber
red signals of the foggy trail –
crimson rowan-berries
(Hisashi)

……… Let me make a painting …
……… Of autumn leaves
……… Reaching through
……… The top of a cloud
……………
(Tito)

山頂はもうすぐだよと薄雪草
Hearing
“Just a short way to the summit!”
Seeing
Flowers of edelweiss
(Miki)

……… 目をみはる真白き空にブロッケン
……… Staring through
……… the white sky to …
……… a brocken-spectre me!
……………
(Sachiko)

わが影が光輪を背負い雲海に
my image carrying
a halo on my back …
over the sea of clouds
(Sei’ichi)

……… 夕焼けを背に黒々と槍穂高
……… sunset behind
……… the jet-black, crenellated skyline
……… of the Yari-Hotaka range
……………
(Sei’ichi)

hurrying to dinner
along the ridge trail:
a star falls
(Hisashi)

……… 山小屋に流るる星の糸あまた
……… Again and again
……… The threads of shooting stars –
……… Over the mountain lodge
…………… (Miki)

A waft of sweetness —
A man in a forest
Deodorizes himself
(Tito)

……… 岩水の小さきささやき苔の花
……… Quiet whisper
……… Of mountain water …
……… Flowers of moss
…………… (Miki)

from the open-air bath
watching the ridge we descended:
pale morning moon
(Hisashi)

……… Gently rowing
……… above pebbles and river grass –
……… Kurosawa’s dream
…………… (Branko)

A clear autumn day
at Zenkoji Temple…
I stroke an arhat’s knee
(Senji)

For a haibun by Hisashi, Eight-faced Great King, about this mountain but written a few years before, please go to the “Longer Haibun” page (via link at top right).

Turning up the heat

Posted in Haibun, Japanese Classic, Summer with tags , on August 8, 2014 by Tito

The youngest man to have become a disciple of Bashō was surely Izumiya no Kumenosuke. At the age of 14, Bashō conferred upon him the haiku name, Tōyō. The poet had been soothing his aches and pains at the Izumiya Inn in the little hot-spring town of Yamanaka towards the end of his Narrow Road journey of 1689 and had found young Kumenosuke to be the new keeper. Kumenosuke had convened a haikai session there in Bashō’s honour.

Although we are currently in the heat of August, and the last thing I would think of is a hot spring, my wife happened to book us in to stay in Yamanaka last Sunday night. The following morning, at the Bashō no Yakata (Bashō Mansion, which stands by the site of the Inn), its windows open wide  …

The transpicuous house–
a squally wind ruffling
…… a summer garden

……………. (Tito)

… for the grand sum of ¥350, I bought a very slender volume, entitled 山中蕉門:桃妖俳句集 (Haiku by the Yamanaka Bashō-school Poet,  Tōyō).

Every night since then, back in stifling Kyoto, before turning my head against the pillow and closing my eyes, I have enjoyed reading a few haiku by this most poetical of inn-keepers, around whom a lively haiku circle had grown in the mid Edo period.  I doff my hat to whomever it was that researched and made this tiny white booklet of lightness and air. No one at all is credited.

鼻からたばこ吹きけり雲の峰 (桃妖)
Exhaling tobacco smoke
through his nose–
…… cumulonimbus

……………. (Tōyō)

 

Peripatetic

Posted in Book, Haiku, News with tags on June 4, 2014 by Tito

An e-book featuring 18 extremely varied walks in or around Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto has just been launched on Amazon. It is edited by Michael Lambe and Ted Taylor, both of whom contributed sparkling haiku to Hailstone’s most recent anthology, Meltdown.  Although haiku do not feature especially strongly, the two contributions by John Dougill (‘Kamogawa Musing’) and Stephen Henry Gill (‘Blue Sky’) – both haiku poets – inevitably include haibun, haiku, haiqua, waka, etc. Richard Steiner – another Hailstone contributor – supplied a colour illustration of the Daimonji bonfires. The cover picture is by Sarah Brayer.

The idea of the book was to have its contributors stroll through a neighbourhood they knew well, showing readers/visitors something of the multi-layered fascination of living in Kyoto, but to do it in a personal, even offbeat way. One piece in fact describes a protest march; at least two others are hikes. Not all are foreign residents, but the majority are. The book is in English and contains helpful photos and maps. It’s not all about temples and gardens, though: chained dogs, homeless people and convenience stores are also introduced! Michael explains in his Foreword, “Walking will expand your limited ideas of self to embrace your local community. Walking will help you to slow down and enjoy this moment now, wherever you happen to be”.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KFM2J0C/

It costs just $7.97 to download. Snap it up now and enjoy reading it on your Kindle/i-Phone/desk-top or whatever! Take the book with you one day and try out one of the suggested walks for yourself. Has it changed at all? How far will you get, I wonder, before you diverge into your very own ‘Kyoto Walk’?

Two of the haiku you will find therein (the ‘high’ and the ‘low’ of it):

…….. Ascending, soaring
…….. Beyond the blue horizon
…….. The lone hawk.
…….……..…………... (John Dougill)

….…….……..……...…. Emerald river –
..…….……..……...…… By a toe-sized tadpole
….…….……..……...…. Bathing my aching feet.
…….…….……..……...………………………... (Tito)

Roaring Trade Wind

Posted in Haiku with tags , on March 16, 2014 by Nori

Sooo windy a day,
I could boil the broccoli
from Big Island

風強しImage
ヒロのブロッコリ
茹でにけり

Lake Yogo haiku

Posted in Haiku, Japanese Classic with tags , on October 21, 2013 by Tito

I had brought a haiku by the mendicant poet, Rotsū (1651-1739), on the autumn haike (see posting below) to share at Lake Yogo, but forgot to do so.

.. 鳥どもも寝入っているか余呉の湖
toridomo mo neitteiru ka Yogo no umi

 In its stillness
…… even the waterfowl
……… seem to be sound asleep —
………… the Lake of Yogo

How little has changed! Many of the wild ducks were indeed asleep as we walked by.
Rotsū accompanied Basho on the final leg of his Oku no Hosomichi journey using the Hokkokudo Road 北国道 between Tsuruga and Ogaki, passing Lake Yogo on the way. From the peak of Shizugatake we caught sight of that mountain road running along the neighbouring valley to the northeast. The last stretch of Basho’s ‘Narrow Road’ had been framed, briefly, beneath a rainbow!

asleep/awake

Posted in Haiqua, Tanka with tags on March 29, 2013 by Tito

At midday
Before making an appearance
Asking for us first
To sleep in the forest –
The baby orangutan.

 …. (Tuaran, Sabah, 22.3.13)

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Night granite slopes –
More rain on the peak
Washes down on us
A rebel waterfall.

…. (Sayat-Sayat, Mt. Kinabalu, 24.3.13)

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