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I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan't be gone long. - You come too.
I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan't be gone long. - You come too.
If you're traveling in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
Bob Dylan, Girl from the North Country
Most of Japan is very, very hot in summer. Tokyo is hot. Kyoto is even hotter. But there is one place that is always cool and comfortable in summer. Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the northern island of Japan. It is a centre for agriculture, especially Hokkaido potatoes and all dairy products. Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido. Sapporo ramen is very popular.
Morihei Ueshiba the founder of aikido went to Hokkaido in 1912 when he was twenty-nine. It was there he met Sokaku Takeda and began his studies of Daito-ryu Jujutsu.
Many Japanese schoolchildren know the English phrase: Boys, be ambitious! It was originally said by the American educator William Smith Clark. He established Sapporo Agricultural College which eventually became Hokkaido University. One of the early students at the college was Inazo Nitobe. He wrote Bushido: the Soul of Japan...More
A daimiō's wife, as befitted the wife of a warrior and the daughter of long generations of brave men, never shrank from facing danger and death when necessary; and considered the taking of her own life an honorable and easy escape from being captured by her enemy.
Alice Mabel Bacon, Japanese Girls and Women
losing my way
is part of the journey
from Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women
The Japanese women's soccer team just won the World Cup. It was an improbable win. Astonishing even. They beat several strong teams and won the final against the USA in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a tie.
The team's nickname is Nadeshiko. Nadeshiko or dianthus superbus is a wild pink flower. Yamato nadeshiko can also mean the archetype of a Japanese woman, beautiful and resilient like the flower. It might be said with a sense of nostalgia.
Samurai women used the naginata, the long slashing spear or halberd or glaive, or a short tanto or kaiken dagger. This week in Japan there was news about one period drama starting and one period drama finishing. The new drama is on the public broadcasting network NHK. It's about Yae Niijima, a strong and determined woman samurai. The samurai drama that will end in December after more than forty years is Mito Komon. Kaoru Yumi is one of the regular members of the cast. Her ofuro
Orange Sky by halfrain used under creative commons licence
The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea
timeless wind of the sea
sea wind of the night
Rainer Maria Rilke, Song of the Sea
deep quiet rules the waters
Johann Wofgang von Goethe, Meeresstille
Remembering legends of undersea, drowned cities.
What voyagers, oh what heroes, flamed like pyres
With helmets plumed have set forth from some island
And them the seas engulfed. Their eyes
Distorted to the cruel waves desires,
Glitter with coins through the tide scarcely scanned,
While, far above, that harp assumes their sighs.
Stephen Spender, Seascape
In heaven the only thing they talk about is the sea.
Martin, Knockin' on Heaven's Door
This week there is a national holiday in Japan. Sea Day. It is nice to get away to the sea but Tokyo is a port and you can go to the sea even in Tokyo. Japan is an island nation so as for all island nations the sea has a special importance. By the way in French the sea is la mer and mother is la mère. The words sound the same and mer is part of mère so the sea is contained within mother. In Japanese the character for sea is 海 kai or umi. The lower right part is mother 母 bo or haha so mother is contained within sea. Perhaps this is all coincidence but anyway the sea is closely linked to the idea of fertility. Many people live from the sea. And t
as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
e.e. cummings, as freedom is a breakfastfood
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair -
(They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!")
T S Eliot, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Barber walked in, started saying grace, Oh Lord, for these haircuts
we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful. Dominus possum
pax probiscus, post mortem, et tu brute, puella carborundum. He was
sorta half-Baptist, half-Catholic - kind of a Cathtist. He started cuttin'
my hair and preachin' at the same time. I mean he's a wild man, scissors
and razors a'flyin' around my head, he's talkin' about the liquor and wild
women and music and sex and the evils of dancing and the music business
in general. Then he looked down at me and he said, What do you do for a
living? Now, I'm not ashamed of what I do for a livin'. Workin' bars and casinos,
around liquor and wild women, I just play my piano, sing my little songs.
I looked him right in the eye and I said, I run this church for loggers.
Ray Stevens, The Haircut Song
It's time for summer haircuts. Young boys get a bozu haircut with electric hair clippers called barikan. It's almost like
In every landscape, the point of astonishment is the meeting of the sky and the earth, and that is seen from the first hillock as well as from the top of the Alleghanies. The stars at night stoop down over the brownest, homeliest common, with all the spiritual magnificence which they shed on the Campagna, or on the marble deserts of Egypt.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays
I remember meeting you in a dark dream
of April, you or some girl,
the necklace of wishes alive and breathing around your throat
John Ashbery, Hop o' My Thumb
the bamboo leaves rustle
traditional Tanabata children's song
Maybe I'm dreaming. My eyes are open, which means maybe I'm awake dreaming that I'm asleep. Or, or more likely, I'm asleep dreaming that I'm awake wondering if I'm dreaming.
Philippe in Ladyhawke
It is Tanabata in Japan this week. Or at least in some parts of Japan. Usually Tanabata is celebrated on 7 July, or in Sendai and some other parts of Japan on 7 August. The Sendai Tanabata is the largest festival. Tanabata is the star festival. It's the next day in the series 1/1, 3/3, 5/5. Children write wishes and hang them.
The original story about the princess and the cowherd came from China. The separated lovers can meet only once a year. In western culture we have had this idea of lovers separated by a spell or a curse or the will of a god since the Greek myths. In films we have it too. In Ladyhawke La