Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bashô On the Road

Although, it goes back a full year to February 2008, this is an interesting article with fantastic photographs on Bashô in National Geographic. Click on the above photo to see the full gallery of pictures.

Here's the fine article by the writer Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and other novels, who followed in the footsteps of Basho's 1200 mile journey, with accompanying photos by Michael Yamashita.

With all the various Bashô translations that I've looked at here in The Hut, I never fail to be amazed and delighted when I stumble across another fresh interpretation. The following, from the Norman article, perfectly captures Bashô's ennui and spiritual doubts.

Tired of cherry,
Tired of this whole world,
I sit facing muddy sake
and black rice.
Matsuo Bashô

Don't miss Norman's last line in the article. Worth it's weight in haiku ...




Greg said...

great article. i like that last line. thanks for the link!

long journey
reading Basho
on the train

John Grochalski said...


thanks a million for this. something interesting to do today while at the REF desk answering questions about MS Word and Resume writing!

Charles Gramlich said...

Great photos. How wonderful to think of walking that same trail. Reading Issa or Basho makes me realize how fast I tear through life and how I should enjoy it more.

Ed Baker said...

gee, I prefer to visualize in my own Crazy Mind!

now, I wonder if they stopped at the souvenir (see this link)
shop and bought a bottle of
Basho-sake, and a coffee mug with an image of [..] on it?

not to be a "wet blanket",

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Greg, glad you liked it - the photos were excellent.

Jay, now if we could only do at the reference desk what you are so demurely pictured doing in your photo ... seriously like your webpage and ally's too ...

Charles, it is funny how something as short as a haiku can manage to stretch out time.

Fast Ed, you are of course right - now, where the hell is my Issa t.p.?


Ally Malinenko said...


What a fantastic article. Thanks so much for posting it. I would love to take that journey...especially with nothing but a backpack. Sometimes there are so many places I want to see, I am struck dumb.