Friday, September 27, 2013

Carpe Diem #308, Sake (salmon)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to tell you something, through lack of time I will post the next episode of Carpe Diem's Oku no Hosomichi later this weekend and not today, but today of course I do publish our new daily prompt. Today we share haiku on Sake (Salmon), at first I thought "Sake? That's a Japanese drink and has nothing to do with Salmon", but it turned out that Sake has more meanings. First Sake is ricewine, but it's also the name for Salmon, if the Salmon is still in the water. If Sake (Salmon) is on a plate as a dish then you write still Sake, but you have to pronounce it as Shake.

There are several Ainu legends about the Salmon and I love to share one of those legends with you, but first this; the Ainu (Japanese: アイヌ?), also called Aynu, Aino (アイノ), and in historical texts Ezo (蝦夷), are an indigenous people in Japan (Hokkaidō) and Russia (Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands). 

Credits: Ainu

And then now a Ainu Legend (thanks to Gabi Greve):

Why you should always use a willow stick to kill salmon, this revered fish

Among freshwater fish the salmon and salmon-trout hold the highest place. This is what one would expect, inasmuch as these are the largest and most useful fishes to enter the rivers. The true salmon is called shibe, and this word means either "the great thing" or "the chief food." It is also known as kamui chep besides, and that means "divine food" or "divine fish," and it is reported to have originally come down from Paradise....
When the Ainu go salmon fishing they always provide a thick willow stick about two feet long with which to strike the salmon's head and kill it. This stick is called isapa-kik-ni, "the head-striking wood" .... The Ainu say that the salmon do not like being killed with a stone or any wood other than good sound willow, but they are very fond of being killed with a willow stick. Indeed, they are said to hold the isapa-kik-ni in great esteem. If anything else is used, the fish will go away in disgust.

Enough to think about I think. So I hope you will be inspired and please share your haiku on Sake (Salmon) with us all.

My attempt:

salmon swims up the stream
searching for a place to breed -
willow leaves fall

Credits: Sake (Salmon)

This prompt will stay on 'till September 29th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new episode later on around 7.00 PM (CET). That new episode will be: Bashoo (Bananaplant). !! Sake (Salmon) is now open for your submissions !!


  1. Love how you combine the falling willow leaves with salmons....

  2. I loved the last line... wonderful haiku.

  3. Another informative and fascinating post ~ you do have a wealth of knowledge ~ last line is great of your haiku ~ Happy Weekend ~ carol ^_^

  4. A wonderful haiku Kristjaan. Marvellous link to the willow.

  5. Thank you for the legend of the willow spears. I found that very inspiring.