Some time opened up a couple weeks ago and I rang the parents-in-law hoping to spend some time with them. As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for. They were finishing up window cleaning and floor waxing and planned to head to Iga for a visit to the Matsuo Basho (松尾芭蕉) museum. We spent the entire afternoon and evening together. It was exhausting but enjoyable and educational.
For those who are unaware, Basho is the king of haiku (俳句). For those who don’t know, haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. To shorten the explanation for today’s post I’ll approximate by saying they consist of three lines containing 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively. Creating a poem in this short form requires concise use of words and extensive vocabulary.
Some of the most interesting items in the museum were books in which Basho and other members of his circle of friends would take turns writing haiku. They would scratch down something interesting and pass the book on to another member. Since all the members were highly-skilled, I imagine there was a lot of motivation to excel. They liked to travel around, which would seem to be reflected in the free order of turn-taking.
I want to write more about our wonderful trip, but it can wait for a few days.