Snapshots from commuter life in The Big Mikan.
See this week’s pics at
See this week’s pics at
sasuga hana chiru ni miren wa nakari keri
when cherry blossoms
sensei nakunarite wa tada no sakura kana
the master being dead
chiru sakura kokoro no oni mo dete asobe
cherry blossoms fall–
come out and play
devil in me!
masse matsudai demo sakura sakura kana
a corrupt world
in its latter days…
but cherry blossoms!
sawagashiki yo wo oshi haratte oso-zakura
the cure for
this raucous world…
late cherry blossoms
mata hito wo tachi-fusagaru ya hatsu sakura
again someone stands
blocking my view!
first cherry blossoms
kome-bukuro munashiku naredo sakura kana
though my rice sack
ima kara wa sakura hitori yo mado no mae
from now on
cherry blossom solitude!
ubasuteshi kata yama-zakura saki ni keri
on Mount Ubasute
where the old were left to die…
ôkata wa doro ni hittsuku sakura kana
most end up
stuck in mud…
hana no ame kotoshi mo tsumi wo tsukuri keri
rain of cherry blossoms–
this year, too
shinibeta to mata mo miraren sakura-bana
that they’re no good at dying
again can be seen…
chiru sakura kyô mo mucha-kucha kurashi keri
cherry blossoms scatter–
of life’s chaos
shinijitaku itase itase to sakura kana
“Get ready, get ready
toshiyori no me ni sae sakura sakura to
even to these old eyes–
yorutoshi ya sakura no saku mo ko urusaki
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying
yama-zakura hana kichigai no jijii kana
he’s a mountain
miren naku chiru mo sakura wa sakura kana
they fall and scatter…
hana saku ya ima ni jû nen mae naraba
if I were twenty years
hana saku ya kyô no bijin no hohokaburi
the pretty women of Kyoto
cheeks wrapped in scarves
hana miru mo zeni wo toraruru miyako kana
even viewing the cherry blossoms
tengushu no rusu [no] uchi saku yama-zakura
are out in droves…
translations from David G. Lanoue, “the HaikuGuy”, RosaMary Professor of English, Xavier University of Louisiana; President Haiku Society of America
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…
Five years ago, Rex Murphy of the CBC’s National delivered the best ode I’ve heard to the national strengths of character revealed as Japan coped with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis on March 11, 2011:
Beer vending machines popped up frequently in rural Hokkaido, but after a voluntary ban in 2000 they became a lot less common n the city. Nowadays, I see them only in ryokan and mountain lodges. This one dispenses cans of Asahi beer to guests at Taisho Ike Hotel in Kamikochi.
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.
“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.