Dear O-Henro ... Haijin, visitors and travelers,
We are almost at the end of this first part of our Shikoku Pilgrimage. We are still in Kochi Prefecture and are on our way to Shimanto, a modern city in the southwestern part of Shikoku. The city lays on the banks of Shimanto River.
residents walk on their path
It's very common to the Japanese culture that city's have their own symbols. Shimanto has them also Shimanto has the following symbols: Willow, Wisteria, Common Kingfisher and Ayu (this is a kind of fish). I love to tell a little bit more about the Ayu, because it brought a haiku written by Basho into my mind.
Japanese anglers also catch it using a traditional method, cormorant fishing (鵜飼 ukai). On the Nagara River where Japanese Cormorants (Phalacrocorax capillatus) are used by the fishermen, the fishing season draws visitors from all over the world. The Japanese Cormorants, known in Japanese as umi-u (ウミウ, "sea-cormorant"), are domesticated birds trained for this purpose. The birds catch the ayu, store it in their crop, and deliver it to the fishermen.
but soon after, comes sadness
the cormorant boats
a choir of thousand birds
welcoming the sun