Monday, April 18, 2011

短冊! (in which we try to write summer haiku)

Today in shuuji we chose our summer haiku and began practicing! It's a big step because although we've been working on 連綿体 (connected writing) and 変体仮名 (old phonetic uses of kanji) we haven't actually written poems with 小筆 (small brush). Here's mine, by TAKAHAMA Kyoshi (1874–1959):
kiri no hana / hikage o nazu ni / itarazaru
Ie, the paulownia has begun to flower but doesn't yet offer shade. Here's how we're doing it:
桐: kanji
の: hentaigana from 乃 (連綿体)
花: a new sousho form of hana
日: between gyousho and sousho
か: standard hiragana (連綿体)
げ: hentaigana from 希 (and a doozie, like this but with a super long tail) (連綿体)
を: hiragana, small and quiet
なずに: hiragana, with hentaigana 二 (連綿体)
い: hentaigana from 移 ()
た: hentaigana from 多 (kinda like this, but different)
ら: hentaigana from 羅 ()
ざ: hentaigana from 佐 ()
る: very small and subtle, I think hentaigana from 留
難しかったですが、非常に楽しかったです。 I have a long way to go before I can write it presentably, but hopefully with practice. Also have found this great archive of haiku, organized by poet and then by season. 習字を一緒に練習している友達の場合には。。。。 My friend who studies shuuji with me is doing one by Bashou about persimmons: 木の下に柿の花散る夕かな. Ki no shita ni / kaki no hana saru / yuube ka na. In the evening, persimmon blossoms spread beneath the trees.

Here in Philadelphia the cherry trees are in full bloom and very beautiful. Last Sunday was Sakura Sunday, our annual 花見. Throngs of people as always, and much fun. The Tamagawa taiko and dance troupe was visiting Philadelphia and performed—凄く上手だと思いますよ。 Amazing. I also was fortunate enough to see them at West Chester earlier this month.

Also bought three new calligraphy pieces at 櫻祭り: 春暁 (shungyou?) "daybreak in spring"; 春爛漫 (shunranman?) "glorious spring / spring is bustin' out all over"; and one in gyousho that starts with 桜 but otherwise for now remains shrouded in mystery. They're all written by the same person, who we were told lives in Japan. I can make out only some parts of the inkan.

Addendum: It's possible the piece that starts with sakura says 桜椋乱 (oomuran?)—the cherry trees and the muku trees are rioting / at war.

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