puss puss

Untitled (14)

many hours

such preparation

for a cat

Gion Kyoto in June 2000. It was late afternoon and this Maiko, (apprentice Geisha) was setting off to an evening of professional engagement. Suddenly she stopped to pass the time of day with a young white cat, very much at home on the street. I waited for a shot of the Maiko reaching down to pat the cat but alas she only exchanged pleasantries and continued.

Very close to this setting Jill and I experienced one of our most bizarre non disastrous situations ever.  It was April 1990 and we were half way through a 5 week tour of Honshu and Kyushu.

Near the foothill of Tea Pot alley leading up to Kiomizu dera we entered an interesting pottery shop. We had left our two Afghan Hounds Floss and Suki and cat Tippy back home and were on the look out for Afghans in Japan. Up near Matsushima Bay  a week earlier  we came upon a school girl walking 2 Gold Afghan Hounds and had chatted and photographed them. Otherwise no hounds to be seen.

As we entered this pottery store and began browsing the crowded shelves and narrow walk throughs we were suddenly disturbed by a rushing sound coming from the rear of the store. A young Afghan pup was hurtling through the shop straight for us. Instinctively I dropped to my knees and the hound arrived in a ball of energy, tail wagging furiously pursued by a young woman. They both stopped in front of us , the pup stood still and we all exchanged interesting finer points of detail that only Afghan Hound people can exchange between each other and with the dogs. Not one piece of pottery had been dislocated from any shelves let alone broken. We have all heard of the term a bull in a China shop. Well from this day Jill and I knew the opposite term is  an Afghan Hound in a pottery shop. Unfortunately we were so excited and distracted we forgot to photograph the pup, but did buy some pottery jewellery. Four years later when I returned to the shop whilst guiding a school tour group I stopped off at the store hoping for a repeat performance and some photos. Sadly the potter informed me the dog had died prematurely of some rare infliction. She was too distraught to get another one.

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18 thoughts on “puss puss

    1. Sad as it was Sandra that was the story in its entirety. We have never forgotten that occasion more for the amazing fortune no pottery was broken or perhaps the dog did that every day. Afghan Hounds are well known for their dexterity and smooth graceful movement at full pelt, and some of them are big. I was looking forward to the chance to reacquaint with the potter and hound and had told my students and colleagues, some of them shared my sadness at the time.

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      1. Suzanne

        The process you describe is often the process I use to write haibun. You are finding the form a natural fit I think . The travel story, the inner response to the outer experience and the final haiku are often further expanded with photos or art work in contemporary haibun.

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        1. I had not been familiar with the term Haibun, however it seems to be such a natural way to often write haiku especially if a conscious decision is made by the poet to work with an image. Some purists claim there should be no imagery however Basho used to sketch with many of his haiku. There are many ways to approach haiku and they all are OK.

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          1. Suzanne

            The term haibun was first used describe the prose Basho wrote about his haiku. The most famous is his ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North.’ There are several haibun prompts on blogs at present if you are interested. There are also many articles and blog posts about haibun. I have written some myself. Here’s a link to a post that explains some of the history of the form http://artifactsandfictions.com/2015/07/03/haibunga/

            I am currently compiling an eBook of haibun I have written and will post a link on my blog when it’s published – hopefully around the end of January.

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    1. Thanks Carol. Its amazing how the story sits in the brain in this case for 15 and 25 years years then comes out. Thats why I take photos, its an extension of my memory and they act on recall.

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  1. Cute story, although it saddened me to read that the dog had died. When I lost my little Pomeranian (he was 17 years old) I was devastated. I didn’t think I would ever get another dog either, so I know how she felt.
    I enjoyed the picture and haiku. 🙂

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  2. I just discovered I had missed some of your posts over the holiday period. Your story is amazing. I would never have guessed that such large dogs (or small ones even) would have the skill to navigate a small pottery shop. It sounds like these dogs have delicate constitutions? Must be difficult given their great personalities and magnificent appearance.

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