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Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Meltdown haiku anthology


Hailstone is an events-based group started in 2000 that holds ginko (i.e., haiku walks), rengakai (collaborative poetry-creating sessions), seminars, etc. The Hailstone Haiku Circle is based in Kyoto, and operates mainly by way of its Wordpress blog, Icebox.

However, since 2001, the Hailstone Haiku Circle has also been publishing a biennial anthology of the best of its work.

Meltdown English-language haiku anthology from Hailstone Haiku Circle.

The seventh anthology, Meltdown, came out at the end of last year. Meltdown features almost 500 haiku, arranged by theme, as well as a short 4-part renku cycle—a renku being a collaborative poem to which guests each add a stanza.

'Renku' is a relatively modern word for certain types of 'haikai-no-renga.' The renga tradition has its its roots in the imperial court.The pinnacle of the art is considered to have been attained in the 17th century by the poet Matsuo Basho, who established the single-stanza haiku as an individualistic, reflective form of literary art.

Renga saw vicissitudes in the seriousness of its content. A period of humorous or baser renga would follow on from one of serious 'high art' renga. Basho expressed both elegance and down-to-earth wit in his works.

The haiku in Meltdown are in English, helping bring the enchantment of the literary snapshots that are haiku to English-speakers everywhere.

The cover of Meltdown features a woodblock print crafted by Richard Steiner. The anthology is edited by Stephen Henry Gill.

The Meltdown haiku and renku anthology can be ordered from overseas for $20 a copy, or $38 for two.

Go to the Hailstone website to order your copies.

© JapanVisitor.com

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yanagibashi Bridge in Taito Ward Tokyo

柳橋 台東区

Yanagibashi Bridge photographed from the Chuo ward end, Tokyo.

Taito ward is, geographically, Tokyo's smallest ward, and lies about 3km slightly north-east of the Imperial Palace. Bordering it to the east is the Sumida River, flowing roughly north-south. Across the Sumida River is Sumida ward, most famous for its sumo district of Ryogoku, and for the Tokyo Sky Tree.

Another river, the Kanda River, defines Taito ward's southern border. The Kanda flows into the Sumida River at Taito ward's south-eastern corner. That district of Taito ward is called Yanagibashi, or "Willow Bridge."

The bridge across the Kanda River at that point has a long history, having first been built in 1698 as the Rivermouth Exit Bridge (Kawaguchi Deguchi no Hashi). The military government, or Bakufu, that ruled Japan at that time had a spear depository in the area, meaning the bridge was also known as the Spear Depository Bridge (Yanokura-bashi) or the Spear Fortress Bridge (Yanoki-bashi).

Distant Yanagibashi Bridge, photographed from the Taito ward end, Tokyo.

The bridge only became known under its present name, Yanagibashi, or "Willow Bridge," from the second decade of the 18th century. This may have been a corruption of Yanoki-bashi, and/or it may have been because of the willows that grew by the river near the bridge.

Then at the end of the nineteenth century, 1895, the old wooden bridge was replaced with an iron bridge. This was replaced again in the twentieth century, 1929, with the current iron bridge.

Crossing Yanagibashi Bridge at night, Taito ward, Tokyo.

In the Edo era, the banks of the Kanda River were lined with inns for sailors and bar-cum-restaurants, making for a very lively district. Then following the Meiji Restoration when the regime changed from the military Bakufu to modern Western-style government, the Yanagibashi district became famous as a pleasure quarter. It was immortalized most famously by the poet, Masaoka Shiki, (1867-1902) in his poem:
Spring evening, Yanagibashi, a woman turns my head
(Haru no yo ya, onna migaeru Yanagibashi)
The Meiji period ukiyoe painter and printmaker, Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), also featured bustling, carefree Yanagibashi in many of his works.

The Yanagibashi district of Taito ward, named after the bridge, is now a sleepy hollow by night, and the only bustle is the coming and going by day of trucks and other delivery vehicles to and from the many wholesalers that populate the area. However, the antique yet stylish old green bridge, especially with its orange lights at nighttime, still invokes something of the magic that Yanagibashi was once known for.

Yanagibashi Bridge photographed from the Taito ward end, Tokyo.

The pictures here are of Yanagibashi Bridge by night, its industrial steel construction softened by the gracious curves of its design.

© JapanVisitor.com

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each

Dear Friends of Haiku,

We have a book, One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each, with much of any profit we eventually make going to charity - the charitable act of cleaning up Japan's Hill of Poetry! Our NPO needs funds for this.

One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura

The 100 contemporary poems comprise 68 haiku and 32 tanka, of which 40 were originally composed in English and 60 in Japanese. All are translated into the other language, with bilingual notes furnished about the literary history, natural history, and environmental issues to which they may allude.

Mount Ogura is situated in the Sagano area of rural Kyoto, and was where Priest Saigyo built his first hermitage, where Fujiwara Teika compiled his Hyakunin Isshu (100 classical poems collection that became the karuta card game), and where Basho wrote his Saga Nikki.

For the past six or seven years, a few of us have been taking groups of haiku poets, local people, students, resident foreigners, etc. up the mountain to clear the tons of rubbish illegally tipped there, and to help with conservation of pine and bamboo forest.

It is a gem of a hill - with views on all sides, some into a gorge - but it needs love. It took 6 years before the editors felt they had enough good poems from which to select. We are there now - the book has been launched - and I (as one of the editors) am wondering to whom to send a review copy.

The 136-page book is unique in its mix of both Japanese and English, haiku and tanka, and in its local literary/environmental thrust. We would like the poems to get a good airing and the haiku/tanka community to enjoy them - some by respected poets (a few well-known), others by locals who until the day they went to Mt. Ogura had probably never written a poem in their lives.

If you, or your journal/site editor would like a copy, ostensibly for review, please shout! If you would like to order one personally, that would be appreciated, of course, and to that end the prices are given below. We will have to see how the stock goes with our free allocation. The full-color covers by Yoshio Kawagoe (two scissor-cut works of Saga and of some rubbish cleared!) are viewable on our Icebox site at quite near the top (or on the Publications page accessed at top right).

Stephen (Tito)

Following the monk
with a key as long as a wand ...
autumn leaves

Prices for anyone wishing to order copies
Ordering from abroad: US$ cash double-wrapped inside your order and another blank sheet in an envelope to Hisashi Miyazaki, 54-16 Hamuro-cho, Takatsuki-shi, Osaka-fu 569-1147, Japan. Prices incl. p & p and have been specially discounted for foreign orders. Pounds sterling also accepted. Please do your own conversion. Hisashi is very efficient and will send you the book(s) by return. hmyzk1307@iris.eonet.ne.jp

1 copy $ 15, 2 copies $ 32, 3 copies $ 49, 4 copies $ 64, 6 copies $ 90, 8 copies $ 116, 10 copies $ 140.

If ordering within Japan, use genkin-kakitome 現金書留 available at your local post office (this cash-secure envelope costs about ¥500). Put your order letter and the exact cash necessary for your book order in the envelope and address it to Mari Kawaguchi, 6-62C-907, Senriyama-nishi, Suita-shi, Osaka-fu〒565-0851 大阪府吹田市千里山西6-62C-907河口万理様 mjk-marik@aria.ocn.ne.jp tel. 06-6821-6074. Prices incl. p & p. Mari is also a longterm member of the Hailstone Haiku Circle. Please trust her.
1 copy ¥1,690, 2 copies ¥2,840, 3 copies ¥4,140, 4 copies ¥4,950, 6 copies ¥7,050, 8 copies ¥9,190, 10 copies ¥10,690.

© JapanVisitor.com

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chuya Nakahara


The most famous son of Yuda Onsen, a resort town next to Yamaguchi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, is the poet Chuya Nakahara.

Chuya Nakahara Memorial Museum

Born in 1907, his talent for poetry was apparent from an early age as he was publishing poems while still an elementary school pupil.

Yuda Onsen manhole cover

At the age of 16 he discovered Dadaism and soon after the French symbolist poet Rimbaud, and abandoned traditional forms of poetry.

Yuda Onsen manhole cover

He died at the age of 30 of menengitis, though not without leaving his mark on modern Japanese poetry, though he is remembered as much for his bohemian lifestyle, and his hat, as he is for his poetry.

He is not so well known outside of Japan.

There is an excellent website on him nakaharachuya.com.

In Yuda Onsen he is remembered by the obligatory "Memorial Museum" which houses objects from his life and a library of his manuscripts.

Tel: 083 932 6430

He, or rather his hat, is also memorialized in a series of manhole covers in the street near the museum.

Yuda Onsen manhole cover

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