Tokyo Kills Me: week of May 12, 2017

Snapshots from commuter life in The Big Mikan.

See this week’s pics at
https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/tokyo-001-8ff14eaa99b4

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Sakura Cherry Blossoms 2016

A selection of sakura “cherry blossom” haiku from the Japanese poet Issa…

Sakura Cherry Blossoms
Sakura Cherry Blossoms

.さすが花ちるにみれんはなかりけり
sasuga hana chiru ni miren wa nakari keri

when cherry blossoms
scatter…
no regrets

 

.先生なくなりてはただの桜哉
sensei nakunarite wa tada no sakura kana

the master being dead
just ordinary…
cherry blossoms

.散る桜心の鬼も出て遊べ
chiru sakura kokoro no oni mo dete asobe

cherry blossoms fall–
come out and play
devil in me!

.末世末代でもさくらさくら哉
masse matsudai demo sakura sakura kana

a corrupt world
in its latter days…
but cherry blossoms!

.騒がしき世をし祓つて遅桜
sawagashiki yo wo oshi haratte oso-zakura

the cure for
this raucous world…
late cherry blossoms

.又人の立ふさがるや初桜
mata hito wo tachi-fusagaru ya hatsu sakura

again someone stands
blocking my view!
first cherry blossoms

.米袋空しくなれど桜哉
kome-bukuro munashiku naredo sakura kana

though my rice sack
is empty…
cherry blossoms!

.今からは桜一人よ窓の前
ima kara wa sakura hitori yo mado no mae

from now on
cherry blossom solitude!
my window

.姥捨し片山桜咲にけり
ubasuteshi kata yama-zakura saki ni keri

on Mount Ubasute
where the old were left to die…
cherry blossoms

.大かたは泥にひつつく桜哉
ôkata wa doro ni hittsuku sakura kana

most end up
stuck in mud…
cherry blossoms

.花の雨ことしも罪を作りけり
hana no ame kotoshi mo tsumi wo tsukuri keri

rain of cherry blossoms–
this year, too
I’ve sinned

.死下手と又も見られん桜花
shinibeta to mata mo miraren sakura-bana

that they’re no good at dying
again can be seen…
cherry blossoms

.ちる桜けふもむちやくちやくらしけり
chiru sakura kyô mo mucha-kucha kurashi keri

cherry blossoms scatter–
another day
of life’s chaos

.死支度致せ致せと桜哉
shinijitaku itase itase to sakura kana

“Get ready, get ready
for death!”
cherry blossoms

.年よりの目にさへ桜々哉
toshiyori no me ni sae sakura sakura to

even to these old eyes–
cherry blossoms!
cherry blossoms!

.よるとしや桜のさくも小うるさき
yorutoshi ya sakura no saku mo ko urusaki

growing old–
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying

.山桜花きちがひの爺哉
yama-zakura hana kichigai no jijii kana

he’s a mountain
cherry blossom-crazed
old man

.未練なく散も桜はさくら哉
miren naku chiru mo sakura wa sakura kana

without regret
they fall and scatter…
cherry blossoms

.花さくや今廿念前ならば
hana saku ya ima ni jû nen mae naraba

cherry blossoms!
if I were twenty years
younger…

.花さくや京の美人の頬かぶり
hana saku ya kyô no bijin no hohokaburi

cherry blossoms–
the pretty women of Kyoto
cheeks wrapped in scarves

.花見るも銭をとらるる都哉
hana miru mo zeni wo toraruru miyako kana

even viewing the cherry blossoms
costs money…
Kyoto

.天狗衆の留主のうち咲く山ざくら
tengushu no rusu [no] uchi saku yama-zakura

mountain goblins
are out in droves…
cherry blossoms!

translations from David G. Lanoue, “the HaikuGuy”, RosaMary Professor of English, Xavier University of Louisiana; President Haiku Society of America

http://haikuguy.com/issa/search.php?keywords=cherry+blossom

 

Kafunsho: Allergy Season in Tokyo – and the rest of Japan

I may well have a lot to say on this subject – later. For now, I just wanna let you know I found an interesting website, Tenki.jp, a weather site which also has a page to map and grade pollen levels across Japan, and report on allergy conditions generally. I’m still deciphering what some of the pictographs mean, but the site looks quite useful.

And, FYI, Tokyo is still apparently in the red, still experiencing worst-case scenario conditions for another day…

Tokyo Snow Fallout

The morning after…

Ebisu at Dawn
Ebisu at Dawn

Well, Tokyo’s first snow storm of the season has passed, and already the melt has set in. Other parts of the country, such as Hokkaido and the Tohoku region, have more snow in the immediate forecast; here in The Big Sushi, however, temperatures should be back in the double digits by tomorrow – that’s Wednesday, Tokyo time.

Back to yesterday’s blizzard… I have to say, it may not be the worst snow storm I’ve seen in my 13+ years in Tokyo (the heavy snowfall on February 9, 2014 set a 45-year record), but it was the worst commuting mess I’ve ever experienced. I left home as usual around 6am, which normally gets me to work by 7:15 or so. Yesterday, however, what with the treacherous walking conditions and the train delays, I finally arrived at 8:35 – almost 1 1/2 hours late. Even so, I was one of the first to make it in, and as others arrived late into the morning the horror stories only got worse: longer delay times, dangerously over-crowded trains and platforms with no safety barriers between passengers and the tracks below. R. tells me she had to wait 50 minutes outside (by then it was raining) just to get into the station. From there, the express train ride which normally takes 20 minutes took 1 1/2 hours. As the over-crowded train waited at local stations with its doors closed, passengers started to choke in the unventilated cars, causing further delays as train crews had to make extra stops to remove sick passengers – which resulted in further delays and even more sick passengers.

According to the talk at work this morning, Tokyo’s train operators decided to remove trains from service in the event of such a snow crisis as this one as a result of a commuter train crash back in February of 2014. problem is, apparently, they didn’t bother to tell anyone… So it goes.

 

Cool Story by Me! “The Day the Earth Moved” in new travel anthology

Adventures-of-a-Lifetime-Co

“The Day the Earth Moved,” my personal essay about the Great East Japan Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Crisis from a Tokyo expat’s perspective, will be included in Adventures of a Lifetime: Travel Tales from Around the World, an anthology from World Traveler Press. Publication date is December 15, 2014.