Thursday, November 27, 2008

Issa Nice Thing

For some reason I really enjoy old haiku's. Particularly with the kana, romanji and English translation all together. Throw in a little cultural insight from time to time and I'm in heaven.

What fun to have stumbled across "The Daily Issa."

Paraphrasing Wikipedia, Issa Kobayashi lived from 1723 to 1828 and in that time wrote 20K haiku.

Here's a sample of what The Daily Issa provides...

New Year's gate greetings--
on each side of the road
tracks of sandals

kado rei ya kata kawa-zutsu wa zo^ri michi


by Issa, 1821

Shinji Ogawa notes that zo^ri are expensive sandals--appropriate footwear for this auspicious day. Though Issa doesn't literally mention "snow," Shinji pictures sandal-shaped footprints in the snow on each side of the road. Though at first I imagined the phrase "sandal road" (zo^ri michi) refers to the clomping sound of sandals, Shinji points out that zo^ri, made of soft materials, don't clomp. Since this is a New Year's haiku situated in the mountains of Issa's home province of Shinano (today's Nagano Prefecture), it is more likely that "sandal road" refers to footprints in snow.
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A very simple daily treat.

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