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Japan in a Nutshell by Professor Solomon

By Professor Solomon

The unknown Japan. the normal Japan. the true Japan. In this erudite but pleasing paintings, Professor Solomon explores a Japan of which few people are acutely aware. For a journey of a different culture--a attention-grabbing examine its different methods and wonders--join him.

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Final Journey But again the road beckoned.  His des­ tination was the southern tip of Japan.  Friends and students gathered at his bed­ side. They requested a jisei—the death poem of a sage, in which he sums up his view of the world.  Each of his poems for the past decade, he insisted, had been composed as if it were the last.  Calling for his attendant, he dictated: Fallen ill while on a rambling tour In dreams still roving—on a lonely moor.  Built when Kamakura was the capital, it has sat in mute contemplation for the last seven centuries—except on one occasion.

A bystander, rather than a participant.  He was able to smile now upon the rigors of fame and the bustle of the city.  I wish I had never written a poem—never written a poem! Several days later he expired. Hundreds of mourners followed his body in a procession to Lake Biwa. And in a cemetery overlooking the water, Basho was buried. Is that a cuckoo, caroling from afar Or just a pedlar, whose cries the quiet mar? Final Journey But again the road beckoned.  His des­ tination was the southern tip of Japan.

I got off the horse and staggered along, made dizzy by the height.  But it occurred to me that we are all just like him: wandering the world in a storm, oblivious to unseen dan­ gers. Watching us from heaven, the Buddha must be as apprehensive for our fate as I was for that of the servant. 64 They were rewarded with a magnificent view of the moon. It was late autumn when Basho arrived back at his hut. His satchel was battered, but filled with poems. He set out in the spring of 1689, accompanied by Sora.

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