I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn poetry from Basho

Since moving closer to the mountains this past year I've become acutely more aware of the seasons and how the landscape changes from one to the next. And as we drift further into colder mornings and rouging landscapes, I feel as if I'm also morphing with the trees into a different state of being. Maybe it's just a bit of nostalgia, knowing this will be my last fall season in Japan, but for whatever it's worth, I've started, pretty much for the first time in my life, reading Basho's haiku. Like Hokusai, he's probably the most internationally known for his trade--a true vagabond and scrivener of the earth and its shades, its shapes.




Deep autumn—

my neighbor,

how does he live, I wonder?

The autumn breeze
blows something uncanny
over Ise's gaveyards

The first one I got from the following site on Classical Japanese Poetry. The second I read on a Japanese site of Basho's complete works and attempted to translate myself. I don't know how it stands up to other translations, I honestly haven't cared to compare it thus far. I think it stands though as an interpretation, which as most things inspired go, carries a hue of subjectivity. If nothing else it's inspired me to visit Ise again (the city of Japan's highest temple, the temple of Amakudari Oomikami, from whom the Emperor supposedly generated). I hope it inspires others as well.


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