James WoodhamJames Woodham spent his first few years in Japan in a six-mat room in the grounds of a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, studying Japanese and writing poetry while working as little as possible. After a further ten years in the hills to the north, he moved to the wide open spaces of Shiga to bring up his kids. He is looking forward to retiring from a full time job at a Buddhist high school and spending his days writing and translating novels.

 Rainy Season

Emerging from sleep
on the Hankyu train,
platform a warm dream –

to find oneself
inside a poem!

Under grey cloud
a spirit-lifting wind –
the imminence of rain.

Drink can gleams in a hedge,
the squeal of bicycle brakes,
leaves in the wind.

Ankle bracelet on a leg –
that golden skin,
fine down of hairs.

Following the ghosts
of beautiful girls
down under Umeda.


voices of birds
coming through the rain
the garden listens



Photo by John Dougill