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Linda Inoki

For Linda Inoki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Tracing the trees in a long national love affair

Mar 25, 2012

Tracing the trees in a long national love affair

When five shell-pink buds open together on a particular tree in the precincts of Yasukuni Shrine in central Tokyo, the city explodes with the joy of spring. The cherry-blossom season has officially begun! But the crowded picnics beneath the graceful Somei-Yoshino trees are only ...

| Dec 17, 2008

Ichigo (Strawberry)

Curly locks! Curly locks! Wilt thou be mine? Thou shall’t not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine, But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam, And feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream! “Mother Goose” nursery rhyme Japanese greenhouses are full of ...

| Dec 3, 2008

Hiiragi-nanten (Mahonia)

Like a kitten’s claw, Or a stubbly jaw, Like a barley sheaf, Or Mahonia leaf — Memories prick. And my skin Grows thin — Grows thick! “Bittersweet” by Linda Inoki This handsome oriental shrub grows in a similar fashion to the nanten (Nandina domestica, ...

| Nov 19, 2008

Isogiku ("Silver and gold" chrysanthemum)

Leaving the house Ten paces — And the vast autumn sea! By Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), quoted in “Haiku” by R. H. Blyth (Hokuseido Press) Japanese gardeners produce so many spectacular chrysanthemums in autumn that it is easy to overlook this simple wild species. However, ...

| Nov 5, 2008

Shibugaki (Persimmon)

The retreat of my disciple Kyorai is in the suburbs of Kyoto, among the bamboo thickets of Shimo Saga, not far from either Mount Arashiyama or the OigawaRiver. It is an ideal place for meditation, for it is hushed in silence. Such is the ...

| Oct 15, 2008

Akebi (Chocolate vine)

“I wonder if you know what this is?” It was a large branch covered with purple-white cocoons; the sort of cocoons from which Godzillas hatch. “This is akebi,” the woman said. “Are those cocoons?” “No, they’re only berries.” “They look as if they’ve got ...

Balloon vine

| Oct 1, 2008

Balloon vine

Whither does he make his way?Only where the autumn winds blow The little pilgrim! By Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated by Lewis Mackenzie in “Autumn Wind Haiku” (Kodansha International) In Japanese culture, the autumn wind speaks of mortality, but in the natural world it is ...

Fig

| Sep 17, 2008

Fig

Across the sea a land there is,Where, if fate will, men may have bliss, For it is fair as any land: There hath the reaper a full hand, While in the orchard hangs aloft The purple fig, a-growing soft. From “The Earthly Paradise” by ...

Blackberry

| Sep 3, 2008

Blackberry

He roves, half-indolent and self-employed, To rob the little birds, Of hips and pendant haws, And sloes, dim-covered as with dewy veils And rambling bramble-berries, pulpy and sweet,Arching their prickly trails Half o’er the narrow lane. From “Autumn” by the English poet John Clare ...

Calabash or Gourd

| Aug 20, 2008

Calabash or Gourd

The neighborhood was a poor one, chiefly of small houses. Some were leaning precariously and there were “evening faces” at the sagging eaves. “A hapless sort of flower,” said Genji. “Pick one off for me, would you?” The man went inside the raised gate ...