Writers In Kyoto

English-language authors in Japan’s old imperial capital

Category: Featured Writings (page 1 of 5)

To-ji (Snyder)

This Sunday is May 21st, which means that the popular flea market known as Kobo-san will be held at To-ji.  It’s a busy bustling and packed affair, quite different from the To-ji which Gary Snyder depicts in his poem below.  In a 2011 visit to Japan, at the age of 82, he recalled the Kyoto …Read More

WiK Competition 2017 Runner-up (Leow)

Yamaguchi-san by Florentyna Leow, Malaysian student in Kyoto That’s a nice haori you’re wearing. Are you on an errand now? Taking photos? Come in. I’ll make you some matcha. I’m all alone anyway. Well, come on in. Sit here. I’m 104 years old, you know. 104. The doctor paid me a visit, right before you passed …Read More

WiK Competition 2017 Runner-up (Poulton)

Palm-in-the-Hand Story: The Blue General by Mark Cody Poulton, Victoria, Canada After my mother-in-law died, my wife and daughter were sorting through her things. When they opened her wallet, a funky smell filled the room. My wife pulled out something papery inside—the skin of a snake. It was good luck, I learned, to keep a …Read More

WiK Writing Competition results 2017

Winning entry –  ’The Joys of Silence and Bewilderment’ by Jane Kramer, American living in California (Posting on 3 websites, inclusion in WiK Anthology, Kyoto craft) Runner up – ‘Yamaguchi san’ by Florentyna Leow, Malaysian living in Kyoto (Posting on WiK website, Kyoto craft, and also winner of local prize, free meal at Tadg’s.} Runner …Read More

Poems and Photos by James Woodham

The Beach in Winter Yaki soba/tako yaki sign spins outside the closed shop. Pine tree leans, dropped needles rusted. Sparrows flung from a tree. Ducks disappear between waves. The fishing boat moves deeper. ******************* Beachcombing A leaf, red stalk and veins and on it still – gold glinting now – the shower remains. **************** Reds, …Read More

Cats and Dogs in Basho

         CATS AND DOGS IN BASHO Selection, Translation and Commentary by Jeff Robbins Words of Basho in this font, bold     Last January David Duff posted his loving discussion of cats on this site which included no poetry about our feline friends. Here, to complement David’s article, are five Basho haiku and six renku links about cats, …Read More

Hearn on Pontocho

In the past twenty years Pontocho has changed out of all recognition.  Now it is packed with tourists, English menus are everywhere, and there are shops which cater even to budget travellers. Needless to say, a hundred years ago things were quite different, as Lafcadio Hearn here makes plain when he came on a visit …Read More

WiK Competition 2016 (Newton/Samarit/Rose)

As the deadline for the 2017 WiK Writing Competition approaches (March 1), we’re posting some of the best ‘also ran’ entries from the 2016 competition in the hope that they may stimulate others into creativity…. Richard Newton – 2016 Bainiku John and Supa Dupa Bainiku John’s wife died when she ventured too close to the …Read More

Passages into Kyoto’s past (Steiner)

Richard Steiner has an eye for characteristic Kyoto scenes, as his woodblocks display, but here he turns to a verbal rather than visual medium to explore one of Kyoto’s special hidden secrets – and these pockets of forgotten time truly are hidden. ***************** One would not expect there could be something yet remaining in Kyoto …Read More

Kyoto tengu

John Dougill writes… Lafcadio Hearn had a taste for the macabre, as is well-known from his Kwaidan (1903) collection of strange stories.  In Ghostly Japan (1899) contains one such story which is set in Kyoto.  Fittingly enough, it concerns a tengu, for the creatures were much associated with the city, particularly the northern area around …Read More

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