Thursday, May 29, 2014

What I'm Writing @LucyBurdette





Castle in Matsue



LUCY BURDETTE: I'm at the early, early stage of a new book. So early, that every word feels tentative. But mostly, I've been on vacation, so I haven't been writing anything. I had good intentions for making progress on that book, but the trip was too busy and all-consuming. We were so fortunate to take a tour of Japan, a place I've wanted to visit forever.


Torii for Itsukushima Shinto shrine


Each day, as I reviewed my photos, I wondered how I could ever summarize the things I'd seen and experienced to show how amazing the country is. Other folks on the trip were keeping detailed journals, which made me feel guilty, though not guilty enough to do anything about it. Then I began to scribble down a few notes, and the notes evolved into--Haiku, of course! (Thanks to the tutelage last year of our pal SJ Rozan.)

Rohuon-ji Temple


So here you have it--a quick trip through Japan in photos and Haiku...

Chieko-San
Many of the places we visited were off the beaten track. As our ship docked or sailed away, locals in costumes with bands and banners would come to celebrate our arrival or departure with dancing and gifts and singing. "That is your waving committee," our Japanese tour guide, Chieko-san would explain while laughing loudly. 









 

WELCOME

Dragons swerve and clack
Ladies in pink kimonos
Waving committee






Everywhere we went there were gorgeous shrines, mostly Buddhist and Shinto. There doesn't seem to be much conflict between the religions--in fact people seem to turn to more than one, as needed. But the hopefulness and yearnings for guidance are heartfelt...

 



















YEARNINGS

Shrines welcome guests who
Stack stones, tie papers, rub snouts
Wishes left behind

Sea Urchins in the market


 













It turns out that I am not such a fan of Japanese food. I tried to be a good and adventurous foodie--I really did! But after a while, I had to groan when another bento box appeared at our lunch table.












LUNCH

Spiny sea creatures
Armor bristles: Stay away!
Soon to be sushi
















MORE LUNCH (by John Brady)


Bento box is served
tastes colors textures so odd
Sad so much untouched




Atomic Bomb Dome




One of the most moving stops on the trip was a visit to Hiroshima. It was absolutely pouring, which seemed appropriate for the day. The city has been completely rebuilt, as if the tragedy hadn't happened. But the memorial and the museum aroused the kind of sad and horrified feelings I had when at the Holocaust museum or the 9/11 site.

Hiroshima


Sheets of silver rain
Devastation's grim mem'ry
Smart enough to learn?





 

If you'd like to read about my lesson on making sushi or see lots of cool food pictures from the Kyoto market, visit my post at Mystery lovers kitchen. And thanks for indulging my modern day slide show! Meanwhile, I'm back to chapter one--no excuses...

25 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Oh, what an exciting trip . . . and such beautiful pictures. It certainly sounds as if you had a wonderful time . . . .
Now I'm off to check out the "cool food pictures" . . . .

Ellen Kozak said...

I'm envious-- I've always wanted to visit Japan (for longer than my 45 minutes running through the Narita airport). And I love Japanese food-- but not sure I would eat fish there, now that the Fukushima plant has made all the Pacific fish radioactive.

Strange country of contrasts-- serene and stylized in its art and poetry and flower design, and yet so ferocious (the invasion of the Philippines, the rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the perfidy of Pearl Harbor). It's the only country that ever suffered a nuclear attack, and is anti atomic weapons as a result, yet is the source of a worse peacetime atomic catastrophe than Chernoble.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Thanks for your pictures and haikus - might be as close as I ever get to Japan. have a safe trip and remember that storing memories is part of writing, so you have been working hard.

~ Jim

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Yes, it was an amazing trip Joan--even more so as I think back over it...

Ellen, you sound as if you've studied Japan quite thoroughly! I did not know a lot before I went, but learned so much.

Jim--thanks for the sweet encouragement:)

Ellen Kozak said...

Lucy, there is a banker's box full of notes, and another full of books, for the novel that keeps growing much larger than I ever intended it to be....

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Thank you for sharing your photos — so beautiful.

Hubby and I went to Japan (Tokyo) in 2004 and fell in love with all things Japanese...

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Ellen, get busy--we'd like to read that book!

Thanks Susan--would like to have spent more time in Tokyo. We watched LOST IN TRANSLATION this week with Bill Murray and Scarlet Johanssen. (sp?) Lots of fun to recognize things we'd noticed...

Jack Getze said...

Love the photos. Asia and Japan in particular seem like such a beautiful place. So much love of flowers and gardening, vistas and walks. Maybe someday I'll get a chance. Thanks for sharing.

Kaye Barley said...

What a lovely piece this is about a beautiful place - Thank You! I'm afraid I would feel the same way about the food as I'm really not very adventuresome with what I'll eat. Love the haikus!

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Thanks Jack--and Kaye!

The gardens were lovely. Japanese people are so serious about them that the most famous do not allow visitors to step foot in them. You look from behind a glass wall in a museum, or a walkway outside!

Karen in Ohio said...

Thanks for the glimpses of your trip, Roberta. A dear friend--also named Roberta, coincidentally--has been lobbying for me to join her on a quilting tour of Japan next year, and your post has spurred me to send an email to the tour organizer.

Japan has always intrigued me, ever since I read the James Clavell books, starting with Shogun. A small but mighty country, is it not?

I'm not very good at journaling on trips, either, but don't think haikus are in my future. I console myself with the fact that I am always too busy living the trip to step to the side and write about it. :-)

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Oh my gosh Karen, that sounds like a wonderful way to see the country! Would you be visiting other quilters and artisans? I vote for you to go!

Deb Romano said...

Roberta, thanks for sharing the photos and haiku! I've been fascinated with Japan ever since I was a child and read about an American family living in Japan because the father's job had taken them there. In high school I did a report on how Japan rebuilt after World War II. I was impressed with how much had been accomplished in barely 20 years.

Karen, if you go, you MUST share the details with us!

Karen in Ohio said...

Yes, we would visit artisans, as well as the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, which runs for 10 days and draws as many as 30,000 people each day. Five cities in 13 days, too.

It's pricey, though, so I'm a little scared. But I'd be happy to share details, if I go. It's really a dream trip for a sewing goddess like me, you know. :-)

Mary Sutton said...

Beautiful pictures, Lucy. I'll never make it to Japan (most likely), so thanks for sharing.

And good job on the haikus - I have always been terrible with poetry, especially haiku, so I am in awe!

FChurch said...

Japan seems like a land where enchantment still lingers--you can see it in the landscapes, the temples, even the people--in spite of Japan's history. Your photos suggest the serenity, the exotic, the possibilities of mystery--and I don't mean 'our' kind of mysteries here.

I agree with Jim--your mind and should I say soul are being recharged by your experiences in Japan--and all of that will almost certainly affect your writing.

Mark Baker said...

Love the pictures. Sounds like a fun, well deserved trip.

Kathy Reel said...

What gorgeous photographs of Japan, Roberta! You make it all sound so wonderful, too. The haikus were a nice touch. I'm sure your brain cells were firing up even on vacation and something from this trip will show up in your writing. I hope you purchased some lovely items there to take a piece of Japan back to Key West.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words. I don't know that the trip was "deserved" but for sure gratefully received!

I was thinking last night about whether a fictional Japanese restaurant might show up in Key West--though I suspect Hayley is a much more dedicated and adventurous foodie than I am:).

Lisa Alber said...

I love your haikus, Roberta! And the images. I suspect I'd have a little trouble with the cuisine too. I like regular old sushi just fine, but I'd bypass the poisonous fish and urchin still in the spines and the rest of it.

Reine said...

<3

California rolls.
Without the crunchy fish eggs.
Not really sushi.

Denise Ann said...

You did a wonderful job of capturing so much of the glory that is Japan. I have been once, and it was truly a transforming journey -- so much is very different, and yet people are -- yeah, right -- people.

So happy you had this opportunity.

Uniqueness displayed
Subway jammed with different
Hair, body, skin, smile.


Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Love your Haikus Reine and Denise--thank you--perfect!!

After SJ's tutelage, we're a poetry machine on JRW!

Carole said...

Haikus work magic
Photographs show smiles, silks, rain
Wonderful posting

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

thank you so much carole for the lovely return verse!!!