Saturday, January 31, 2015


the gracious Patricia Hackett talks to Christopher Herold before a program, circa 1993.

dragonfly . . . 
A stream of thought pauses
on the stone buddha

Christopher Herold

from A Path in the Garden by Christopher Herold, Katsura, 2000.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Paul Takes a Picture

 This was taken at one of the beloved Yuki Teikei Christmas Parties. This party was at the Gallagher home in Sunnyvale. Fay Aoyagi, in splendid holiday earrings, is getting ready to distribute her haiku gift; we each bring enough copies for everyone. Under the candles at the upper left is Ebba Story, a fine poet, who wrote Challenge Kigo essays for the Geppo for several years. Paul O. Williams is in the lower right;  and, who knows, I might be in his picture! He is wearing one of his signature stone necklaces. We miss Paul a lot. Here is a link to his Wikipedia page.  The partial heads in the lower right belong to the current YT President, Alison Woolpert, and her guy, Alan.

the conductor
raises his baton
outside robins sing

Paul O. Williams

This is the title haiku from one of Paul's excellent books
of haiku, Outside Robins Sing, Brooks Books, 1999. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Interviewing Norman Mineta

This picture was taken for the newspaper. I think, but I don't know the photographer. Kiyoko had.this copy. Kiyoko and Kiyoshi are at the center. See how she is writing? Since Kiyoshi was profoundly deaf, Kiyoko included him in everything by writing down all that was happening. Sometimes she just traced characters in his hand. Once, at a haiku meeting, she had to leave early and she gave me my instructions; I was to write down everything for Mr. Tokutomi. I wrote in English, of course, and on paper. It was a discussion meeting and various people talked. By the time the meeting was over, I was exhausted! This job had required a greater level of focus and concentration than other meetings. One could not drift! 

It pleases me to see the Sumitomo sign, because then I remember that for a long time, we held the monthly Yuki Teikei meeting in the upstairs conference room at the Sumitomo Bank Building in downtown San Jose. I wrote my first few haiku at meetings in that room. Out of the window I could see a traffic sign that said: LEFT LANE MUST TURN LEFT. It was a perfect five-syllable line; I used it in one of my very first haiku! 

To get back to the picture: at the left is Norman Mineta, mayor of San Jose (and later Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation.) I wish I knew who the man at the right was.
The Tokutomis were probably interviewing Mr. Mineta for the Japanese language newspaper in San Jose. They used to write articles for this paper.

Look carefully at Kiyoko's face to see her focus and concentration! She didn't do anything halfway!

I keep on writing
a letter to my mother
by autumn lamplight

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky; the haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi
translated by Fay Aoyagi and Patricia J, Machmiller
Brooks Books, 2002, page 31

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Roger Abe

This is Roger Abe, a long-time member of Yuki Teikei and a Park Ranger
for the city of San Jose. This was taken in April of 2009, 
when he led us on a Spring Wild Flower Walk in Alum Rock Park.
It was a beautiful, bright day in a park with a variety of beauties:
rocks, trees, flowers, hills and a stream.
Roger is a Past President of YTHS.

boulders on the road
the perilous weight
of spring rain

Roger Abe
Scattered Acorns; YT Membership Anthology 2015, page 9.

Here are some of us that day on the trail; 
that's Jerry Ball in the grass!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Buson's Spring Sea

The sea is really flat here, it just looks curved because of my fisheye lens.  jhh

Many years ago, I asked Kiyoko if people ever repeated a word 
in haiku--haiku being so short, may be it wouldn't work. 
Buson's haiku below was the answer she gave me. 
This came back to me once again, after she died, 
when we visited this overlook to the Monterey Bay
during one of our YT Haiku Retreats at Asilomar. 
Because there is a great deal of kelp visible 
on the surface here, it is easy to see the 
rise and fall, rise and fall of the sea.

हरु नो उमी हिनेमोसू नोटरी नोटरी काना 
haru no umi hinemosu notari notari kana

The spring sea rising 
and falling, rising 
    and falling all day

Translated by Robert Hass.

The spring sea--
all day long it rises and falls
rises and falls

translated by Robert Aiken

Monday, January 26, 2015

Many various things

Coming towards me, under the blossoming cherries 
on our 2007 Yuki Teikei trip to Japan,
dearest Ann Bendixen!

The honorable Tangan held a flower-viewing party
at his villa. Things were just as in the old days.

many various things
come to mind
cherry blossoms


from Basho; The Complete Haiku
by Jane Reichhold

Sometimes, as here, Basho included a headnote with a poem.
He had been invited to view the cherry blossoms at the home 
of the son of the man he had served, when young, 
until his friend's and master's untimely death at age 25. 
Many people feel that this early loss set Basho on the path 
to becoming more religious and more interested in poetry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dabbling Ducklings

This was the first time we had ducklings in the pond on the weekend when we had our
annual Yuki Teikei Haiku reading in the Teahouse in San Jose's Japanese Friendship garden.
Such busy little creatures, paying no attention to haiku.

stepping past
the caution tape
signs of spring

Phillip Kennedy

from Scattered Acorns; Yuki Teikei Haiku Society
Member's Anthology 2014, page 24

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Natural Science and Poetry

With Dr. Arima on a visit to San Francisco. 
Left to right: Dr Akito Arima, Donnalynn Chase, 
Patricia J. Machmiller and Carol Steele. 
All these women have been actively involved 
in Yuki Teikei activities and publications.
Carol and Patricia are YT Past Presidents.

In my experience, I am convinced that natural science and poetry have many similarities. Both pursuits require us to be sensitive and imaginative toward nature in order to get new ideas and follow a logical thought process. So it is not so peculiar for one person to be involved in both activities.

Dr. Akito Arima, from the Author's Preface 
to Einstein's Century
Brooks Books, 2001, page 17.

a crane takes wing
to mend a flaw 
in the sky

Einstein's Century, page 93

Friday, January 23, 2015


        On our early summer ginko at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga several years ago,         
I noticed while we picnicked, how neatly Alison Woolpert ate her loquats, 
leaving only beauty. Now, she is the president of Yuki Teikei.

And this is one of her tanka
from the 2014 Yuki Teikei Member's Anthology,
Scattered Acorns, page 54.

like fishermen
we discuss everything
early morning
yesterday's nets mended
we set sail for today

Alison Woolpert

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cherry Blossom Time in Japan


This was taken on our trip to Japan in 2007, 
when we visited in cherry blossom time,
but this time without Kiyoko.

year after year
the cherry tree nourished by
fallen blossoms


translation by Jane Reichhold
Basho; the Complete Haiku
Kodansha USA, 2013, page 173 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Path Through Muir Woods

As you look along this path in the Muir Woods National Monument, 
a protected redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest in Maarin County,
the first blue-jacketed figure you come to is that of Dr. Akito Arima, scientist,
educator, Japanese government official and leader in many areas, including haiku poetry.
Haiku poets were taking him on a ginko in the redwoods during his visit to San Francisco.
Here are some of the haiku that Dr. Arima chose at our dinnertime meeting afterwards.

circle of redwoods
the space at the center
a vanished ancestor

Paul Watsky

winter redwoods—
at the forest’s heart 
sound of the stream 

June Hopper Hymas

spotted owl
mated for life—
winter separation

Kay Anderson

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kiyoko in a bright sweater


I heard Kiyoko tell people several times that I took the best pictures of her.
This one, taken at Asilomar, she said was her favorite.
Now I will tell you my photographer's secret: I liked to take her picture
when she was talking to people who spoke Japanese;
at such times, a slight tension in her forehead, just above her nose,
had disappeared.
I have often tried to imagine my distress if my one language was suddenly
not the one I needed to speak to people with.
Kiyoko was a sort of human bridge between the poetic culture of Japan
and life in California. Many of our lives have been enriched because of that.

Wearing this sweater
reminds me of
last year . . .

Kiyoko Tokutomi
from Kiyoko's Sky, page 60

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bright Day in Autumn

At the same Watsonville Obon, Kiyoko's oldest grandchild, Nicholette, is dancing.
With her mother and her sister she danced at another festival in 2014!

Bright day in autumn--
I visit my daughter
in her ninth month

End of autumn
what they call a grandchild
has been gifted to me

Kiyoko Tokutomi

(from Kiyoko's Sky pp. 32-33)

It might be easy to forget that some of the clearest and most heartfelt haiku come from the life experiences we share with so many others. These haiku of hers illustrate how deeply and completely haiku was integrated with Kiyoko Tokutomi's life. jhh

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In her blue kimono, under the paper lanterns

  Kiyoko Tokutomi (at left) dancing in her blue kimono.      jhhymas
This was taken at the Watsonville Obon in summer.

the beating drums
reverberate through
the summer afternoon

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky; the haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi
translated by Fay Aoyagi and Patricia J, Machmiller
Brooks Books, 2002, page 104

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Machmiller and Hackett

Patricia J. Machmiller and James W. Hackett give us an enthralling discussion!

from out of nowhere
a tern falls into the sea—
beginning of autumn

Patricia J. Machmiller

from Blush of Winter Moon, 
Patricia J. Machmiller, Jacaranda Press, 2001

Friday, January 16, 2015

Neptune's Wish

jhhymas photo
Monterey Bay at Asilomar during a haiku retreat.

Receiving Neptune's wish
they come in closer
autumn waves

Kiyoko Tokutomi
translated by Patricia J. Machmiller
and Fay Aoyagi

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jane Hirshfield autographs her book

jhhymas photo
Jane Hirshfield, at left, was our guest poet at the Asilomar Retreat the year this picture was taken as she autographed a book for Mary Hill. Mary Hill was another long-time Yuki Teikei member who wrote lovely haiku. Her home displayed many large framed examples of Chinese calligraphy by Mr. Hau. She is the person who gets the credit for beginning the involvement of many of the members with the Chinese Brush Painting classes taught by Paul Pei-Jen Hau at the Palo Alto Art League. Before his retirement recently, several Yuki Teikei members studied with him. We have also had brush painting demonstrations in our retreats at Asilomar. This is another example of the ways the group members have supported and enriched each other's lives.

Here is one of the ancient tanka from the book
translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Arantani.

This pine tree by the rock
must have its memories too:
after a thousand years,
see how its branches
lean towards the ground

Izumi Shikibu (born circa 976)

Translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani

from The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu
Scribner's, 1988

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Carmel Mission

After one of out Asilomar Haiku Retreats, a group of us visited The Carmel Mission, an historic site that is nearby. Emiko Miyashita, Japanese haiku poet and translator, who was at the Retreat that year was with us. When she posed with Kiyoko Tokutomi in front of an old door, they laughed and put their fingers together and said "Phone Home" as in the movie E. T. because they were both far from Japan, I think. We were all having such a good time. Kiyoko's final illness was just beginning then, so the photo of this time is especially poignant.

a smile on her lips-
I know who is behind
those sunglasses

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky; The Haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi
translated by Patricia J. Machmiller and Fay Aoyagi,
Brooks Books, 2002, page 29

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Smiling in Japan

On the Yuki Teikei trip to Japan in 1997! 
Left to right: Patricia J. Machmiller, Kojin Sakamoto, 
Kiyoko Tokutomi, Alice Benedict, 
Lynne Leach, June Hopper Hymas.

shimizu ni wa
ura mo moto mo
nakari keri

in clear water
there's no ending,
no beginning

Fukuda Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)
translated by Luca Cenisi

Chiyo-ni, an Edo era poet, is considered 
one of Japan's foremost female haiku poets.

Monday, January 12, 2015

San Francisco opens its Golden Gate

jhhymas photo
Haiku poets had a wonderful time when Dr. Akito Arima visited the San Francisco Bay area. Here, he is greeted by one of the original members of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, Patricia J. Machmiller. 
In addition to the Golden Gate Bridge, the sea and the Bay, 
we visited Muir Woods to see the redwoods!

through the keyhole
the sea fog quietly
flows in

crossing the sea:
the poet's
blue summer hat

seaside dunes
stretch from the woman's
black winter gloves

These haiku are from Dr. Akito Arima's book,
Einstein's Century, Brooks Books, 2001.
The translations are by Emiko Miyashita and Lee Gurga. This book has been highly praised for the quality of the translations (which bring across so well the modernity of Dr. Arima's outlook)
and for the inclusion of the original Japanese as well as romaji.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Under the Pergola

This picture of Kiyoko Tokutomi and Patricia Machmiller 
was taken during a Ginko at Overfelt Park in San Jose.
We had many meetings and haiku outings there. 
I have always loved the light 
n this picture and the way 
the shadows from the pergola
lead the eye to the haiku poets.
This probably dates to the mid-1980s.

departing autumn
I tell the story of her life
to a stranger

Patricia J. Machmiller

from Scattered Acorns,
Yuki Teikei Membership Anthology 2013

And here the two poets are again at Overfelt Park;
we had so many wonderful walks there!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kiyoko leads haiku study at Asilomar

Ar Asilomar, overlooking the gorgeous Monterey Bay, we discuss haiku we have written 
during one of our Yuki Teikei Haiku Retreats, probably in the late 1980s. 
There was just a little breeze. 
I am not in the photo because I was talking it--well before the era of selfies! 

Kiyoko Tokutomi is at the center. At left are Ebba Story, 
a well-known and widely published haiku poet, 
and Patricia Macmiller in her fabulous coat, 
with strips of sewed-on crinkled denim. 
On the left Hank Dunlap is flanked by two poets 
whose names have left my data bank; 
I can add them here when anyone remembers. 
[Promise yourself to label and date your own photographs!] 
Hank's haiku book Cry of the Hawk was published in 1993 
and is now out of print. 
I remember well his many haiku about his "old dog." 
Hank died in 2005.

on the patio
the afternoon drifts along
with the butterfly

Patricia J. Machmiller

Haiku Mind; 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness 
and Open Your Heart 
by Patricia Donegan. 
Shambhala, 2008, page 65.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The goldback fern at Alum Rock Park

In this picture, longtime member Ann Bendixen 
is demonstrating for us why it is called
the Goldback Fern, by getting some of the golden spores on her sleeve.
We were taking a springtime ginko in San Jose's Alum Rock Park
led by Park Ranger Roger Abe, haiku poet and now Past-President
of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society. You will see his picture here soon!

Here is another picture of long-time member Ann Bendixen writing renku
indoors at one of out special events. i liked the light in this picture
and I have always loved Ann. Her brush paintings in some of
our anthologies have given them that extra-special beauty.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jerry Ball, haiku stalwart

This is a picture of Jerry Ball, one of the earliest members of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society,
taken during an art session, at one of our Haiku Retreats at Asilomar.
Having a retreat here, on the beautiful Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove in California,
was Jerry's idea, and our fellowship and study at these annual events
has been a treasure to our group. Jerry is also a past-president of YTHS.

the bitter morning--
a sudden shudder jolts through
a row of freight cars


the first plum blossoms
she calls me by the name
she thinks is mine

Jerry Ball

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Walks in Japanese Gardens

This was taken
 on one of our early-summer Yuki Teikei haiku walks 
at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga.

It is possible to sit for a long time 
watching the graceful carp move in the water
and thinking about life, about beauty and about art.
If you can do it with friends like these, you are very fortunate.

cool bronze feet
of the lilypond crane--the carp's
whiskered shadow

June Hopper Hymas

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sanderlings at dawn

This picture was taken on the beach at Asilomar early one morning 
during Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, September, 2012.

The fleeing sandpipers
turn about suddenly
and chase back the sea

James Hackett

The Way of Haiku; an anthology of haiku poems,
by James Hackett
Japan Publications, Tokyo,1968, page 7

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pat Shelley in her Red Hat

                                                                                                    photo by jhhymas

This is Pat Shelley in one of her favorite hats. She was a member of 
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society for many years until her death in 1997,
and wrote lovely, gentle, evocative haiku. This picture was taken
on a ginko, one of our haiku outings in Japanese gardens.

She liked to wear these little hats; it saddens me that I cannot now remember
whether this was the hat she liked best, and lost, ot the replacement
that was never quite the right color.

Below is one of her signature poems; it is a tanka, another Japanese form. A tanka generally has five lines and more explicitly stated emotional content than a haiku. In many ways, I think, this was Pat Shelley's preferred form. The poem below has appeared in several places and is often praised as a superb example of tanka form.

Wind, do not tease me 

do not muss my hair 
my joy is too large for the house
and I cannot go in
to await his coming

-Pat Shelley-

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kiyoko considers

Facing a window overlooking Monterey Bay, Kiyoko Tokutomi considers a newly composed haiku.
Born and reared in Japan, she told us so many memories of her life there and her dear parents. 
I still have a small vial with cherry petal shells (tiny pink shells) that she gave to me.

furusato no umi no koishiki sakuragai

How I love it
the sea of my hometown . . .
cherry petal shell

haha no sumu atari ni takaku kumo no mine
Where my mother lives
standing there
towering cumulus

akasugi o sukku to tatete yama warau
With its redwoods
springing to their height
the mountain laughs

This book of her haiku was published shortly before she died. The group read from it to her at our December meeting that year.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Kiyoshi's Smile

I am not sure, now, where I got this picture, or whether I was the photographer. I hope you are dating and labeling your photographs better than I have done. What I do know is that this is the wonderful smile of the co-founder of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, Kiyoshi Tokutomi. His life story is better than most movies: born in the USA, he was sent to Japan at a young age to be educated, as his brothers had been before him. Much later, with the war impending, he had his ticket to return to the USA. After Pearl Harbor, the boat did not sail. Kiyoshi had to remain in Japan during the war and became a teacher. He boarded with a local family and contracted tuberculosis there. This eventually resulted in his loss of one lung (and the strength and usefulness of his arm) and total deafness caused by a newer medication whose correct dosage was not  established where he was treated. 
But look at that smile! 

to the other side
I try to toss a pebble
spring melancholy

Kiyoshi Tokutomi

This haiku is cited as inspirational by Clark Strand in his book

Amazon, and so is a volume of the letters exchanged by Kiyoshi and Kiyoko, after the war--and after they were married and she had emigrated to the USA--but he had returned to Japan for more experimental treatment, which he hoped would restore his hearing.

is the website of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mrs. Noma captures Sunset at Asilomar!

  At the combined haiku conference Haiku Pacific Rim in 2012, 
we all went down to the beach to admire the sunset.
Mrs. Minako Noma from Matsuyama, Japan seems very pleased with her sunset photo!

the head and the last
these two of the migrant birds
how do they choose them?

Hiroyuki Murakami
Scattered Acorns; Yuki Teikei Member's Anthology, 2014, page 34


Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Toast to the New Year

Here is one of the founders of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, Kiyoko Tokutomi (holding the wineglass) with Jane Reichhold, haiku stalwart and translator of Basho. The picture was taken at an annual Haiku Retreat at Asilomar (California) 
which the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society has held there annually since the mid 1980s.

rabbit-ear iris
how much it looks like
its image in water


Basho; the complete haiku; translated by Jane Reichhold, Kodansha USA, 2013, page 25.