Friday, April 17, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Haiku Writing Workshop

Candy May Schijf and I composed a haiku during the workshop.
I like haiku. You can say so much, and more, in three lines and in very few words. Back in 2009, I wrote twelve haiku, one for each month to capture a moment. In my poetry workshop for kids, I always put in a unit on haiku writing. Imagine my delight to learn about a Haiku Writing Workshop in the IAFOR LibrAsia 2015!

It was the last session of the conference for Day 1. I was on cloud nine to have had my photo taken with haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. In our brief conversation before the start of her workshop, she told me that she is a poet, and that poets are bubbles. She smiled and excused herself as she had to prepare for her workshop. Just like that, she disappeared from my sight like a bubble. Upon entering the workshop venue, we discovered stuff on top of each chair. At close inspection, it was a crocheted bookmark and a one page handout for the writing workshop. The crocheted bookmarks were done by Ms. Yamashita's mother who is over 90 years old.

With haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. Bubble personified.
During the workshop, Ms. Yamashita and her co-facilitator, gave inputs on the basics of writing a haiku, a brief origin story about it and the form of a traditional Japanese haiku in 5-7-5 syllables. They showed samples of haiku by Issa, Basho as well as western ones. What followed next was an on-the-spot haiku writing workshop where feedback was given immediately to the brave souls who stood up and delivered. At the end of the workshop, I was lucky to get a book on a collection of haiku written by children from all over the world.

As in all art forms, writing must be practiced. It is something done everyday to sharpen one's skill, perceptions and feelings. So, I committed to writing 100 haiku. What I do is to select photos I have taken from my travels or from simple things I see around me. Like what Ms. Yamashita said in the workshop, a haiku is about moments. It is not about the passing of time. I started last April 6, 2015. I am on day eleven now. I post my haiku on Instagram. Check these hastags: #haiku / #humahaiku / #The100DayProject #iaforLibrAsia2015results.

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