A Hundred Gourds 5:2 March 2016

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page 15  

Eiko Yachimoto – Japan

Deja-Vu in the shade

At home on the tatami mats, I am listening to the incessant cries of cicada. Travel broadened my mind but I doubt if Germany ever recognized my presence there. At least I can write a haibun. . .

* * * * *

An old gentleman I met for the first time picked us up in front of the hotel and we drove to his home. After charming dinner with Franken wine, his wife walked us through the neighborhood dachas up to one of those rock gates of Rothenburg. In the darkness that finally wrapped the quietness, we parted. My daughter led me through narrow cobblestone streets, taking turns quite a few times. We must have been witnessed disappearing into Tilman Riemenshneider, the hotel in the central district.

the thirteenth moon—
going back to their house
a woman and her cat

Forty years worked its trick. My old school friend has become a part of Rothenburg.

* * * * *

“People had to pay tax money to both church and their lord. Their bishop being their prince also, they paid the double amount to the same man”, said our guide yesterday in His residence in Wurzburg. We saw the gorgeous mirrors and luxurious interior decoration room after room. The next morning we attacked a steep hill on the other side of the Main. "He" needed to hide in Fortress in the storm of Farmers’ Protest!

Fortress Marienberg—
the shortest to downtown
summer kids in line

* * * * *

who dreamed of
Avant-Garde Capitalism
deja-vu in the shade

At the top of my daughter’s must list was a visit to “Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen.” There were some hours before their official tour in English would start. Hence to Margaratenhöhe. Nearing the noontime, a farmers’ market was about to close. Summer flowers and colorful produce were being carried back to mini-trucks parked in a plaza with a Roman-style fountain. “What does Edeka mean?” I wondered. These five letters turned out to be the name of supermarket chain, but it didn’t look so on the facade of the impressive architecture across the plaza from the café we were resting in. All of a sudden a canny sense of freedom grabbed me and led me into a nostalgic mesmerization.

evening breeze—
the little girl in me
picked white clover

A post-war girl who grew up where someone’s old dream still lingered through summer grass, wrote the haiku above several years ago. Later I learned that Margaratenhöhe was the fruit of collaboration led by a man with the name Krupp. It involved architects, engineers, landcape planners, designers and artists all searching for utopia welfare for Miners in the Ruhr. The project was completed just before the World Depression. . . After many an immense social turmoil, a special atmosphere reflecting the will to conquer class divisions seems to have survived in a subtle way.

* * * * *

cemetery in Bochum—
a brown rabbit spotted
with a time lag

In 1967, a younger brother was scheduled to return to his home country after 40 plus years in Japan. His engineer brother had planned a trip around Germany for them two and sent the plan to Japan. The meticulous plan was destined to be cancelled by the sudden death of the planner himself. I wanted to pay a visit to his graveyard on behalf of the younger brother, who survived till 1975 and was buried in Tokyo. I could have met him, the old and frail priest, in my student days. I, however, did not pay any attention to retired priests on the campus. It is only ten years ago that I started to love reading his books written in his charming Japanese. Well over 3000 Japanese were said to have been guided one by one by him into Christianity. He never mentioned in any little way about this.

Four of us spent nearly one hour looking for his brother’s gravestone. At some point we stopped being a group and looked for the name Heuvers individually spreading out into all directions.

We could not find the gravestone. His soul may have greeted, to each of us one by one, bowing those long ears. . .

* * * * *

nieces busy commenting
on travel photos

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