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The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan

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4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The problem came to a head one day as I was driving through Tokyo. While waiting for the light to change, I saw the following public service announcement on the side of a bus: Omoiyari hitonikurumani konomachini (Sympathy / toward people, toward cars / toward this town). Seventeen syllables. Five-seven-five format. It must be a haiku, I thought. But when I reached the offi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Stone Bridge Press
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Davin
Feb 19, 2008 Davin rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanisme
An interesting book on haiku framed with bits of memoir. I always assumed there was more to haiku than just counting syllables, but since my exposure was limited to 3rd grade creative writing, I haven't had a whole lot to base this assumption on. The book does a good job of talking about form, structure, history and intent but what is most fascinating about it is her picture of haiku in contemporary life. The author stumbled into a haiku writing group while living in Japan, and the book is as mu ...more
Peter
Jan 17, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The January Fountain Bookstore bookgroup book.

Non-fiction. Gentle poetic account of an American diplomat learning to write haiku while living in Japan. Nice counterpoint to my other explorations of Japanese culture and media (samurai films, manga, etc).

Nice moments so far of the Japanese poetic sensibility, and learning the hiaku art of being completely "in the moment" in order to absorb and capture an impression or experience.

Azwa Ahmad
Jan 23, 2014 Azwa Ahmad rated it liked it
If you're not Japanese or you don't understand Japanese language, then haiku could potentially come as a proxy to inconsequential and inscrutable short poems with meanings that could hardly be deciphered. One could not possibly be able to appreciate the poetic brilliance , exquisiteness and intricacies of haiku without first understanding the language. Japanese language, invariably is the prerequisite of haiku.

Haiku is the shortened/ revolutionised version of renga, a longer poetic form that co
...more
Wally
Nov 23, 2010 Wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, poetics
I really liked this easy memoir of an American diplomat living and working for a couple years in Japan. At the beginning, she has no interest in writing haiku, but a chance meeting here leads to an introduction there, which grows into a teacher/student relationship later still. The haiku she shares are often written by Japanese masters, but also common people who have touched a chord that resonates long after you put the book down. Discussion of haiku mechanics, and writing in English, are woven ...more
Black Cat
Aug 11, 2015 Black Cat rated it really liked it
A very gentle read, and fascinating. Inspiring!
Sandra
Apr 07, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it
A clear description of the meaning of haiku in its modern forms, both in Japan and English-speaking world. Friedman has had the advantage of learning to write haiku in Japanese and grappling with the aspects of language differences that affect the form in English. However, as she learns in the context of her life, a diplomat living with her family in Tokyo, the key is to observe the immediate world and our feelings in the moment, to describe things as they are. And as her teacher Kuroda Momoko s ...more
Joanna
Sep 29, 2013 Joanna rated it really liked it
Shelves: haiku
Such an enjoyable book - an exploration of haiku, writing, culture and being willing to open yourself up to different ways of doing things, and seeing the world.

The book made me want to read and write more haiku, and long for a place where I might stumble across a haiku writing group!

A lovely read if you're interested in haiku, Japanese culture, or bringing more poetry into your life - or just reading a gentle, thoughtful memoir.
Marylouise
Aug 12, 2013 Marylouise rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This was a nice book. It gave me new insights into the philosophy behind haiku and I really enjoyed learning about the mechanics of the Japanese group she belonged to. And the members of the group. I enjoyed the smooth way she threaded her family life, her work as a diplomat and her new found interest in haiku together. But still, I would like to have known more about that life.
Sheryl Nantus
Nov 01, 2010 Sheryl Nantus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent autobiography about living and working in Japan and discovering more about haiku. The only complaint I'd have about it is that it's a wee bit too short and could use more depth about the characters, but as an addition to reading haiku and studying the process of writing haiku and poetry it's a good fit.

Alohadudenyc
Mar 17, 2009 Alohadudenyc rated it it was amazing
i stumbled upon this book in a little shop in nyc. read it. fell in love with the author and haiku all over again!

an incredible story of self-discovery using a traditional art form.
Lynne
Dec 17, 2011 Lynne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2011-2012
I enjoyed this insight into Japanese culture and approach to haiku by an American Foreign Service Officer living in Tokyo.
Sasha Kasoff
Oct 24, 2014 Sasha Kasoff rated it it was amazing
Wonderful introduction to a deeper understanding of Haiku. I may use it as a text when I teach someday
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Abigail Friedman is Senior Advisor to The Asia Foundation. In that capacity, she directs the Foundation's cooperation with Japan in Asia, brings her negotiating and conflict resolution expertise to programming on the root causes of conflict in Asia, and advises on conflict-affected and fragile regions, including Afghanistan.

Ms. Friedman brings to the Foundation over twenty years of experience as a
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“I had never thought of haiku, or any kind of poetry for that matter, as a social activity.” 2 likes
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