A taste of Japan – through photos, haiku and food

Reminiscing, I decided to repost this haiku-photo collaboration from 2010. Sad to say that Ruriko, the owner of Sawa at the time, died of cancer a few years ago.

Note: Yokan (or iyokan?) is a winter citrus fruit. Also, I feel compelled to point out that my haiku has progressed since this time, and this older haiku has some problems, though I still like the yokan haiku and the collaboration with Jean-Pierre’s photos.

wild ink

Recently, Jean-Pierre Antonio, a friend who has lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years, asked me to write some haiku to accompany a series of photographs he took in Tokyo and Kyoto this past December. Usually my haiku is inspired by personal experience, and I wasn’t sure if I’d have any success trying to write in response to someone else’s photographs, but Jean-Pierre’s multiple images of  bright winter yokan fruit, calligraphic wisteria vines, and mysterious crows immediately evoked a strong feeling of place and mood, and the first haiku quickly took shape. Writing something to go with Jean-Pierre’s photos of young people engrossed in manga-reading and close-up sections of ancient fabric took a little more thought. To write about the fabric, I had to, in a sense, reach back across time to imagine what was going through the minds of the long-ago fabric artists…

The result of our collaboration is currently…

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