Saturday, August 25, 2007

matsushima cruise 1

photo by yobu yaguchi

Friday, August 17, 2007


No matter how often it has been said, it is nonetheless true that the scenery at Matsushima is the finest in Japan, in no way inferior to Tung-T`ing or the Western Lake in China. The sea flows in from the southeast forming a bay seven miles across, and the incoming tide surges in massively, just as in Che-chiang. There are countless islands. Some rise up and point at the sky; the low-lying ones crawl into the waves. There are islands piled double or even stacked three high. To the left the islands stand apart; to the right they are linked together. Some look as if they carried little islands on their backs, others as if they held the islands in their arms, evoking a mother`s love of her children. The green of the pines is of a wonderful darkness, and their branches are constantly bent by winds from the sea, so that their crookedness seems to belong to the nature of the trees. The scene has the mysterious charm of the face of a beautiful woman. I wonder if Matsushima was created by the God of the Mountains in the Age of the Gods? What man could capture in a painting or a poem the wonder of this masterpiece of nature?

--Oku no Hosomichi, Matsuo Basho, tr. Donald Keene

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Stayed with Yobu and Mami Yaguchi and the kids in Sendai. Yobu drove me up to Matsushima. We had lunch (oysters and beef tongue) at a small restaurant just outside the Zuiganji Temple, then spent several pleasant hours exploring the temple and the museum. The temple was founded in 828 as Enpukuji, a Tendai temple. In the 13th century it became a Rinzai Zen temple.

As we came out of the main temple building in the late afternoon, a bright half moon was visible in the blue sky. A solitary crow flapped among the ancient cedars.

photos by Yobu Yaguchi

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Sapporo -- Aomori -- Sendai

新幹線 の うえ に
烏 が とんで きて
真っ白い雪 に くろい 烏
そら から とんで きて
戦争 の 鳥 か
どんどん とんで きて
平和 の 鳥 か
どんどん とんで きて
おおき な とり は
雪 の うえ に
躍って きて
あの やたがらす は
躍って きて
祖先たち の からす が
おどり おどり
祖先 の とり は

--Ross Bender