Monday, April 17, 2017

Carpe Diem #1192 white sake (ziro zake)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Haiku Kai this month we are into the classical kigo for spring and today we have a nice classical kigo, but first this.

As you all maybe remember ... several days ago I asked you to submit haiku or tanka for our new exclusive CDHK E-book "furu ike ya" (old pond) themed frogs using that famous haiku by Basho "frogpond" for your inspiration. I am happy to see how many haiku and tanka I have been send by a lot of you. I even got haiku from participants from the past and from new participants ... so I am really glad that this new CDHK E-book is showing progress. If you love to have your "frog-haiku" or "frog-tanka" published in this new and exclusive CDHK E-book than you can still submit your haiku or tanka until April 23rd at 10 PM (CET). Please send your haiku or tanka to our e-mail-address write "frog-haiku" in the subject line. I am looking forward to all of your beautiful submissions. Maybe you know someone around you who is new at haiku or tanka and maybe they want to participate too ... feel free to ask others to participate in this exclusive CDHK E-book.

Cover "furu ike ya" (Old Pond) (image ©)
 Okay ... back to our episode of today. Today I have a nice classical kigo for you. This kigo can be used in winter and spring, because "white sake" is made in winter and drunk in spirng. Sake is Japan's most famous alcoholic drink I think, because its often served all over the world at Japanes restaurants and bars.

Sake ... let me tell you a little bit more about sake:

The earliest reference to the use of alcohol in Japan is recorded in the Book of Wei in the Records of the Three Kingdoms. This 3rd-century Chinese text speaks of the Japanese drinking and dancing. Alcoholic beverages are mentioned several times in the Kojiki, Japan's first written history, which was compiled in 712. The probable origin of true sake (which is made from rice, water, and kōji mold (Aspergillus oryzae)is placed in the Nara period (710–794). In the Heian period, sake was used for religious ceremonies, court festivals, and drinking games. Sake production was a government monopoly for a long time, but in the 10th century, temples and shrines began to brew sake, and they became the main centers of production for the next 500 years. The Tamon-in Diary, written by abbots of Tamon-in (temple) from 1478 to 1618, records many details of brewing in the temple. The diary shows that pasteurization and the process of adding ingredients to the main fermentation mash in three stages were established practices by that time..

Sake (traditional brew)
Sake is traditionally drunk from small cups called choko or o-choko and poured into the choko from ceramic flasks called tokkuri. This is very common for hot sake, where the flask is heated in hot water and the small cups ensure that the sake does not get cold in the cup, but may also be used for chilled sake. Traditionally one does not pour one’s own drink, which is known as tejaku, but instead members of a party pour for each other, which is known as shaku. 

Traditionally sake was brewed only in the winter. While it can now be brewed year-round, there is still seasonality associated with sake, particularly artisanal ones. The most visible symbol of this is the sugitama, a globe of cedar leaves traditionally hung outside a brewery when the new sake is brewed. The leaves start green, but turn brown over time, reflecting the maturation of the sake. These are now hung outside many restaurants serving sake. The new year's sake is called shinshu ("new sake"), and when initially released in late winter or early spring, many brewers have a celebration, known as kurabiraki (warehouse opening). Traditionally sake was best transported in the cool spring, to avoid spoilage in the summer heat.

I found a nice haiku written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694):

sake nomeba itodo nerarenu yoru no yuki

the more I drink 
the more I can't sleep
night snow

© Basho

And here are a few other haiku in which "sake" is used:

moonlight steeped in spring rain; 
blossoms of wisdom–
all from one little cup

© Joro

it is cold, but 
we have sake 
and the hot spring

© Shiki

If I sell my rags
and buy some sake
will there still be loneliness?

© Santoka

Traditional Sake set
I ran into several haiku written on sake by Issa and I love to share them here too. All these (Issa) haiku are translated by David G. Lanoue.

plum in full bloom--
a house without sake
can't be found

plum blossom scent--
the edict board furnished
with sacred sake

a poor sake bottle
rolls along

in my sake cup
down the hatch!
the Milky Way

© Kobayashi Issa

All wonderful haiku I would say, so must be easy to create a classical haiku (or tanka) with this kigo. So here is my attempt:

in the light of the full moon
drinking sake with my haiku friends
under cherry blossoms

© Chèvrefeuille

is this a classical haiku? I think so ... look for yourself, even the first and third line can be interchanged. And that spiritual meaning? Well I think that's very clear in this one.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 22nd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode, parasol, later on. Have fun!

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