Archive for Tohoku Quake tribute

Haiku-based Works at ’Grief & Anima’ Exhibition

Posted in Spring with tags on March 13, 2015 by Tito

The ‘Grief & Anima’ Exhibition at Kyoto’s Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is open every day 9-5 till Mar. 14th. Tito (Stephen Gill) is showing some stone arrangements (ike’ishi 生け石) with a haiku booklet entitled ‘Gradation to Serenity’ 平静へのグラデーション. The haiku are all taken from Hailstone’s most recent anthology, ‘Meltdown’. The Exhibition coincides with the fourth anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku Quake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster, and the show has been curated with a mind to evincing prayer for full recovery. The Shrine’s famous plums (Japanese apricots) are in full bloom. If in Kansai, please drop by!


The saury are back,
sea-urchin and abalone
survived —
this long-awaited day

  1. 2012、岩手県、俳句 Hitomi Suzuki 鈴木ひとみ

The Narrow Road to the Disaster Zone

Posted in News, Radio, Winter with tags , , on March 9, 2012 by Tito


SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 16:30 (G.M.T.), repeated SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 23:30 (G.M.T.),





In Japan, this becomes March 12 (Mon.), 01:30 and March 18 (Sun.), 08:30. このたび、BBC英国放送のラジオ4局で、Stephen GillとJulian Mayが作ったラジオ番組が、日本時間の 3月12日の 朝01:30 と 3月18日の 朝08:30に放送されます! ライブで聞くならばここ Listen live here: or listen during the week at your own convenience on the i-player here: 12日から一週間くらいの間は、 . Go to the A-Z strip and see if the programme is there under N for ‘Narrow’ (or type ‘Narrow Road’ in the search box at top right). Nで始まる番組、もしくは ‘Narrow’とか‘Narrow Road’ を右上のsearch box に入れて検索して結構です。 The 28-minute feature should be available on that site for listening for at least one week; maybe more.

番組内容:私の最近の震災地への旅です。The programme is about a recent visit to Tochigi, Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures in the north of Japan, tracing part of haiku poet Basho’s Oku no Hosomichi 奥の細道 route as much as possible, but presenting a contemporary, hopefully somewhat poetic, account of the present situation there. Fingers crossed that it works and that the wonderful people we met up there shine, even via their voice-overs! The BBC describe the programme thus… BBC のこの番組についての英語説明… .

I hope you can find the time to listen and that you might enjoy it. ラジオ番組を楽しんでいただければ幸いです。どうぞよろしくお願いします。

震災地で募金を大事に賢く使ってサポート活動をしているボランティア・グループへ募金をなさりたい場合:It’s Not Just Mud をお勧めします。少しの間だけでしたが、私もINJMのボランティアに参加しました。

Kikakuza Haibun Contest ’09-11 anthology available

Posted in Haibun, Japanese Classic, News with tags , , on September 28, 2011 by Tito

 An anthology of decorated haibun from the three years that the Kikakuza International Haibun Contest has been held is now available to anyone attending Hailstone events and seminars this autumn. Price ¥1,000. If you live abroad and would like one sent, kindly make contact via the comments button below or on the Publications page at this site (via link at top right). Or you may contact either of the compilers direct. There may be a small postage charge added. All contestants have already been sent their own copy of the book. It contains 33 contemporary haibun (from 11 countries) + 4 classical haibun translations, judges’ comments, and a Tohoku Earthquake solo shisan renku by Sosui.

 The Contest is to continue this autumn and winter under the new name of the Genjuan International Haibun Contest with rules and deadline unchanged. Full details are given on the page entitled ‘Genjuan Haibun Contest Guidelines’ (see link at top right). The famous haibun Basho wrote while residing at the Genju Cottage in Shiga (幻住庵記) in 1690 is translated into English in this publication.

from the Icebox inbox – 20

Posted in Haiku, Submissions with tags on April 19, 2011 by Tito

Cherry blossoms
in mourning
having vanished

….. Kyoko Nozaki

Not a single poem
But just pain in my heart’s core
This spring disaster.

….. Sosui

a butterfly
lost in the black clouds …

….. Keith A. Simmonds

three weeks adrift –
the dog is brought to her owner
in new spring light

….. Mayumi Shigeta

* For one further Tohoku Quake haiku, please see Apr. 3 posting ‘Feeling’ (below).


Posted in Ginko-no-renga, Spring with tags , , on March 18, 2011 by Tito

We had a renga meet scheduled for the 12th, and went ahead with it in spite of the calamity that had befallen the country 400 miles to the northeast less than 24 hours before. We walked and wrote of what we saw in Kyoto, but this seemed to merge with what we already carried in our heads of the horror and grief. We had planned to begin the renga with a verse by Buson about the lengthening day and a pheasant fluttering down onto a bridge. In view of the awful situation, the sabaki used another one. Someone has just written – in an email asking after our group (who are all, we think, safe) – that ‘poetry is prayer’. You may remember, in Basho’s ‘Road to the Deep North’, that his companion Sora wrote at Matsushima (on the coast near Sendai) 鶴に身を借れ ‘borrow the wings of a crane!’ If only everyone on that coast could have done so.

Such as it is, then, with some trepidation, we here share the linked-verse we created, hoping that we might have captured in it somewhere a glimmer of beauty or truth.


The day grows longer –
echoes are heard
in a corner of Kyoto….. (Buson)

Between two gardens
abandoned tiles

Calm corridor –
one step, one prayer
white plum blooming beyond

Struck dumb
by the presence of stones

Again and again
from far across the still pond
one black wave

The silent hills look on
bathed in watery sun

An old lady working
in the woodland field
gives a glance to passers-by

Cold front
shivering dog

Which is the house
their friends lived in?
the couple disputes

Swinging from a branch
a bagworm’s cloak of sticks

Water drips
from a bamboo pipe –
an unknown tune

Two days of rain
two days of melancholy

A polished floor
inside the shuttered room
reflecting nothing

Painted on paper doors
cranes still frolic

The reddish haze
of thousands of buds
against the dim sky

Wayside Buddha
bidden farewell

Our little world –
from it, we search for meaning
in the spring stars


sabaki: Tito with Keiko
hosts: Itsuyo/Yoko
renjuin: Michael Lambe, Keiko Yurugi, John Dougill, Tito, Kazue Gill, Masako Fujie, Anne Vadgama, Yae Kitajima, Itsuyo Higashinaka, Mari Kawaguchi, Akito Mori

venue: Iwakura, including Jisso-in Temple, Kyoto, 12.3.11, the day after the Great Tohoku Quake