Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Thought on Haiku Part 2

I've taken one haiku class/workshop in Japan a few years ago, and I can’t remember exactly, but it was like this.  The format of the meeting was that we all wrote on a few strips of paper one haiku each, and the instructor gathered and mixed them up.  I don't remember how many, but we also wrote at home and brought them in.  Anyway, the instructor also did the same and mixed all up and gave five or six strips to each student. We had more than 20 people in the class.  Then we wrote those haikus we received on a sheet of paper.  If we saw our own, we just returned it to the instructor.  Anyway, I don't remember how many we received and wrote on a sheet of paper, but we did that a few times.  

The rest I don't remember, but it was quite democratic process to select good ones.  We don't know which ku belong to the instructor or senior students until the end.  A few times, mine was selected out of blue.  The instructor asked who wrote it, and I just raised my hand.  I was so glad needless to say.

Anyway, I'll go back to Japan and take the same haiku class, and this time, I'll pay attention and learn and write about what I learned in English and take photos if I need to and report it on my blog and FB.  I've read Basho's books and a few other books by Takahama Kyoshi, but I'll reread them again.  Oh, just one I recently reread was Kyoshi's books "The road to Haiku."

Kathabela asked me if that book was available a few times, and I always answered I don't know, so I just checked Amazon.  I searched Takahama Kyoshi and found only Japanese books.  Because the language and culture are different, it must be hard to translate, and as soon as Japanese talk of the tradition, non-Japanese would not accept it as saying "why cannot be done in other ways?"  Anyway, Japanese haiku is based on the tradition, and without the tradition, haiku was not created.  So I feel in the middle.   I nods to Americans here, and I go to Japan, and I nod there, too.  But I’m sure I’ll learn and discover something interesting, not just conflicts.

Also, there are always exceptions, but exceptions are exceptions.  Mostly we don't strive to write those kinds.  They just happen sometimes.  That’s my opinion.


kristieinbc said...

Maybe if you go back and take that class again you could write a "Haiku for the non-Japanese" book yourself. You would be the perfect candidate since you are a writer and live in both cultures. :-)

keiko amano said...


That's possible for you if you learn Japanese, and someone else like you are better teachers. I haven't read English books on haiku, but apparently some are available. I'll add the name of those recommended books later on.

I don't know if my readers are aware, but the area of my writing focus has no name, but like Ocha, it is vast like universe.

Kathabela said...

Yes, I would love to know the details of the haiku paper strip class when you are there again! Also maybe you could write a translation of the book you like so much, or a summary of the points in it that impress you. You could say how they apply or not to English language haiku, and why? Ah this sounds like a lot of work! So much to share. I am so happy you came to our haiku meeting and wore your "red bean kimono"!

keiko amano said...


I make sure I update one of my only two American haikus! Red bean kimono coat sounds much better. My problem in that haiku is now solved. Just for that, it was worth for me to have made a bus ride to Pasadena.

Translation is hard work and time consuming because I tend to think too much. That's the work for professional translators. They are trained not to think much but to translate what they see in front of them. I tend to find what is wrong in each sentence, so long ago, I took a translation test given by American Translators Association, I failed out of my poor English maybe (at the time, it was much worse), but also because I found an obvious logic problem in programming related sentences, and I just couldn't translate them, so I wrote my reason.

Yes, I'll write whatever interest me out of each book. Like you, I am interested in exceptions which I do not recommend to people, but of my interest. A new post is coming up!

Rebb said...

Keiko, The haiku class/workshop sounds interesting and fun. I look forward to when you blog about your experiences and observations.

keiko amano said...


I'm getting busier, and I look forward to write more about Haiku. But to do that, it is only good if I'm writing haiku. So, I'll be much busier.

Rebb, why don't you join us in writing haiku. It is on FB. Please let me know.

Rebb said...

Keiko, Thank you for the invite, but I don't FB. I am inspired though and am writing more small pieces as they come to me.