Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Haiku, Haiku, It's Off to Work I Go...

Okay, time for a bit of poetry.

Mr. N, the chief Japanese language/literature teacher for grade 9, gave our students an assignment to write at least one haiku talking about the recent school trip. The whole thing was to be treated like a contest, with Mr. N choosing what he thought were the best poems for display. Naturally, I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I asked him if I could participate, too. In a one-hour fit of creative inspiration (read "trying to do anything but real work between classes") I rattled off several haiku plus one tanka. I then showed the lot to Mr. N.

He moaned with despair. But then (to my surprise) he said it was because I'd clearly won the contest, and he took it rather personally. He then went on to select three of the poems (actually two "definitely" and one "maybe") that he thought were particularly good in that they agreed most with traditional Japanese sensitivities. If you don't mind, I'd like to share them with you as a sort of finale to the 2006 School Trip series.

These are the two Mr. N ranked best:

念仏を
聴きながら僕
秋捜す

Nembutsu o
Kikinagara, boku
Aki sagasu


(Translation: Listening to the Nembutsu (Buddhist chant), I search for Autumn.)

薩摩芋
線香桧
京都の香

Satsumaimo,
Senko, hinoki,
Kyoto no ka


(Translation: Sweet potatoes, incense, cypress, the smells of Kyoto.)

This is the one that got "Honorable Mention":

この庭に
一本の木が
赤くなる

Kono niwa ni
Ippon no ki ga
Akaku naru


(Translation: In the garden, one tree turns red.)

Ah...that was satisfying...

And now, with that, we close the chapter on the 2006 school trip.

5 Comments:

  • Actually, I like the one about the red tree in the garden. So simple and yet so much - that is haiku.

    You make me want to write some more.

    By Anonymous Olivia at Work, at 9:51 PM  

  • Well, then, by all means START WRITING!!!!!

    But not if it'll get you fired...

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 10:17 PM  

  • Namegata-gun
    Ibaraki, Kashima,
    Itako-machi

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 8:08 AM  

  • Now THAT deserves some applause!

    (Maybe I'd better not tell him that Itako-machi changed to Itako-shi a few years ago. Oh, well...we'll call it "retro"!)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:34 PM  

  • No worries Snabby, I'm still impressed
    The machi to shi thing is political shi....bai anyway.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 6:32 PM  

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