Saturday, January 31, 2015

in the thicket (haiku)

in the thicket
what do chipmunks dream
while vacationing?


Inspired by Yabu-iri (Servant’s Day or “thicket entering”) - an obscure season marker for spring or late New Year. 

“On or about the sixteenth of the first month, servants and apprentices were allowed to go home for a short visit. This would have meant that the holiday started with the full moon.”
So, in Issa’s haiku:

ending the Servant’s Holiday
on purpose ...
sliver moon

“The final slip of moon means the holiday is over, which tells us it lasted less than two weeks (Lanoue, 1991-2009: moon, 1803).  There also was a second servants’ holiday on the sixteenth of the sixth or seventh month, but yabu-iri in haiku was codified as an early spring kigo (or late New Year kigo).”  (Source)

Apprentices also had a “servant’s holiday”:

apprentice’s holiday:
a good-luck amulet
forgotten in the grass



If I recall correctly, “thicket-entering” is sort of like saying the servants were headed home “in the sticks” or “in the boonies” as we would say here in the U.S.    

Here are a slew of Issa haiku about the servants.


Neat fact of the day:  “chipmunk” comes from the Ojibwe word “ajidamoo” (one who descends trees headlong).  They don’t really hibernate – they enter a state of deep torpor.  I can hardly wait for our friendly neighborhood chipmunk “Boxcar Willie” to return from his “long winter’s nap”!



  1. What do they dream of ?
    Good question. I'm sure many of us have pondered this ...LOL

    1. Thanks Cressida :)
      Yes .... dogs and cats and chipmunks and other critters --- would be nice to know :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I gained lots of new information here; I hope I retain a portion of it.

    1. Sorry I just found your comment! Normally I'm at WordPress -- keep forgetting to look here! Thanks for the kind compliment -- when Kristjaan does his posts on holidays and Japanese traditions there's so much to learn!


Hi. Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Your thoughts are always appreciated :)