Winter Concern and Nintendo ~ Two Original Haiku

Before Xmas when we had that winter storm. Watching the snow, I wrote:

winter storm
I hope my car
will be ok

"Heavy Snow" by Nishijima Katsuyuki

I don’t know what the official count was, but it was around 10cm here in eastern Aichi, 20cm in some spots. That may not sound like a lot (and it isn't), but we don’t normally get much snow in this area. Most years it might snow once or twice, but that will only give us a centimeter or two which will quickly melt by the next day. So getting up to 20cm was quite unusual.

My kids loved it. Like most kids, they love snow. They ran and played the next day and tried to make snowmen. I was more concerned about my car. I don't have snow tires and since we normally don't get snow here the city isn't equipped to clear the roads. Coming from Indiana where we normally get several feet (ie units of 30 cm) every year, I know how to drive on snow quite well, but... I am also aware that many people in this area do not.

And as expected the next day, I witnessed several accidents just in my immediate area. People who had slid off the road or run into things and so on.

Snow by itself is a kigo (season word) for late winter and that would be the implied season word here. There is also blizzard and several related kigo, and that might also work, with "winter storm" implying that.

While I was watching it come down, my oldest was playing his Nintendo Switch.

my son
yelling at his switch
snowing outside

My youngest is more calm when he plays. He actually doesn't play often. He prefers legos or other toys that you build. But my oldest, he loves video games and frustration is the name of the game with him apparently. These games are pretty frustrating, so I can understand his feeling. And that is why I don't play them 😃 I understand, however, that the games are an addiction that is hard to overcome.

Again we might say snow is the kigo of that one. I don't really care much about using an official kigo—official kigo would be one that is listed in a saijiki, or kigo encyclopedia —but I do like the idea of suggesting the season if possible. It helps play the haiku in the here and now. As I've mentioned before, Bashō always advised that haiku should be about right now instead of some imagined (or remembered) past or future event. I try to usually follow that guideline.

Mindfulness has become a buzz word in the West these past several years, so much so that it may start to sound distasteful to some of you, but I think that is a quality of the best haiku. They put you in the moment. There is only now and only what you are observing now.

Anyway, the snow is gone now. It melted a few days later and we've had relatively warm days since. So it goes. We'll see if we get any more this year, but I don't expect it. Already the ume blossoms are starting to bud and may start to bloom before long. Spring is right around the corner!

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Hi there! David LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

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