Robert Yellin's Japanese Pottery Blog

Greetings from Kyoto, We've just moved our gallery into a magnificent old Sukiya style home located very near the Silver Pavilion; a stunning area and setting for the inspired ceramic art we share with the world. Please visit us if ever in Kyoto or online at and

Monday, February 13, 2006

Left Out Haiku

A few years ago, or was it a bit more, I sat down in my kitchen with a 'wa-puro' (word processor) to type a book that was published in Japanese (translated from the original English) under the title 'Yakimono Sanka' by Kogei Publishing. It was well received in Japan and I sort of became known as the 'gaijin shuki king' by fellow collectors. Many folks asked when the book would come out in English (or part two in Japanese) and it finally did two years ago titled 'Ode to Japanese Pottery-Sake Cups and Flasks' published by Coherence, Tokyo. It is a book more of my passion--and believing that everything is connected--than of scholarly research. I wanted it to be a book of poetic musings matched with rich photographs (the sketch here is by Bizen's Hoshi Masayuki). When the English version was published I couldn't believe my oversight that I left out a key 'interlude' of haiku, and so I will print them here. They should have been printed on about page 130 and go like this: 1. The deep blue sea/splashes in my four mat room/Iga sake cup! 2.Ki-Seto wine cup/stars appear in daytime sky/Chuma highway calls. 3.Distant mountain range/appears on the horizon/on my Bizen jar. 4. Fuji's pure white snow/melted on clay body/Hagi sake cup! 5. Bringing busy mind/into the present moment/Shigaraki cup. 6. Straw wrapped vessels/miracles burn within kiln/Bizen sunrise. 7. Liquid harvest/settles in my humble clay cup/Momoyama dreams....
Just a small 'intermission' between pages and of course the Japanese version was more in tune with the traditional Haiku way. Haiku are great fun to write--and offer a small refelctive window on the soul--and any subject is fair game, even frogs jumping into ponds. Observe the 'small things' each day to really understand what matters most.....


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