October, 2016

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by Harumi Okochi.
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Yakumo's writing desk

Visiting Matsue City
Koizumi Yakumo-Patrick Lafcadio Hearn

Hello, there!
We had a travel to Izumo and Matsue in July. Matsue is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture, that faces The Sea of Japan. By our friend's car, we drove. It was quite a long trip, much farther than we had expected. The access is not easy if we go by train. The highlight of the trip was visiting Koizumi Yakumo's old residence.
I will show you some photos. I hope you will enjoy meeting Koizumi Yakumo. 
   Koizumi Yakumo, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn
Please refer to Wikipedia Koizumi Yakumo
 One of his books, "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan".
He introduced Japan to the Western countries more than 100 years ago.
Also he wrote in Japanese many stories which Japan had long forgotten.
I like Miminashi Hoichi (Hoichi the Earless) best.

   The inner garden seen from his study.
 The small pond of his garden had lotus flowers.
Yakumo loved this garden so much. He described this authentic garden in detail in his book.
   One of the rooms.
Typical middle class Samurai house.
 Here, he lived with his Japanese wife, Setsu Koizumi, and he named himself Koizumi Yakumo.
Yakumo, written in Chinese characters, Eight and Clouds, taken from the old myth of Izumo Shrine, meaning clouds surrounds this holy sanctuary eight times.
   This is the gate of the house.
The stone pillar says "Historical site Koizumi Yakumo's old residence"
 This room was used as his writing room.
The writing desk on the right was specially designed for him, 20cm higher than usual, because his eyesight was not good enough. He had to read or write bending over his head close to the book or writing pad.
   The outer garden surrounding the main room of the house.
 Before the entrance to the kitchen.
I have my rain-coat in my hand.
It was a rainy day, but here, sunshine blessed us for a short while.
   The corner of the outer garden.
 The famous Haiku Poet Kyoshi Takahama made a Haiku on Yakumo's house.
"Kuwaremosu Yakumo Kyukyo no Aki no Ka ni"
(Bitten I was, in Yakumo's house, by an autumn mosquito,)
Autumn mosquitoes are not as strong as summer mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are often written in Haiku, and autumn mosquitoes signify the falling power of nature after summer.
   Lafcadio Hearn and his wife.
  I hope you have a chance to read one of Yakumo's books. They will tell you an image of Japan, somewhat old, but not changed in depth. Japan was lucky to have this translator of Japanese culture and ambiguous beauty 100 years ago.

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

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