Photo/Illutration(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Mt. Kaimon--wearing a skirt colored lemon

--Aya Ito (Kagoshima)

* * *

New Year’s morning

slowly, very slowly

raising the blinds

--Magdalena Banaszkiewicz (Zielona Gora, Poland)

* * *

Stock market

nosediving start

the Year of the Boar

--Isao Soematsu (Nagoya)

* * *

Our usual walk

the other way round

the first sunrise

--Masumi Orihara (Atsugi, Kanagawa)

* * *

Inner child

a hint of the sun

in the snow

--Guliz Mutlu (Ankara, Turkey)

* * *

Migrant child’s

wish list

fall of U.S. border wall

--Justice Joseph Prah (Accra, Ghana)

* * *

miles away

longtime friends reach out

memories

--Sergio DeMiglio (Toronto, Canada)

* * *

new wooden clogs

for the New Year

their tight thongs

--Junko Saeki (Tokyo)

* * *

Start of a new year--

shaving a scruffy long beard

my lost face appears

--Robert Henry Poulin (Hudson, Florida)

* * *

Alone in the church--

I light a candle for my father

for the first time

--Jasminka Nadaskic Diordievic (Smederevo, Serbia)

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FROM THE NOTEBOOK

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Old couple order

avocado risotto

bean-throwing gala

--Murasaki Sagano (Shibuya, Tokyo)

The haikuist celebrates setsubun, the seasonal division marking the end of winter and the day before spring in Japan. She composed her haiku in a cafe while sitting next to a mature man who asked the waitress for two avocado risottos. Looking around, she noticed a young woman eating the tempting dish, too, “So I also ordered it,” she said.

Marco Fraticelli’s outdoor porch was already gloomy by the time winter began a season ago in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

Winter solstice

a plastic leaf drops

from a plastic plant

At dawn during the dry season in Tra Vinh, Vietnam, Dennis Woolbright had breakfast outside on his veranda with “a large translucent moon which made everything bright, a moon that was both an ending to the night and the beginning of morning,” he said.

Early morning

still shining

beginning and ending

During the week leading up to Feb. 5, which corresponds to New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar, one billion people migrate from large industrial cities to their hometowns all across Asia. Hiep Vo traveled to Hanoi to spend time with his friends and family during Tet, the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture.

Pink peach blossoms

Yellow chrysanthemums

Tet holiday

Luciana Moretto celebrated the birth of a baby boy in Treviso, Italy. Prijono Tjiptoherijanto celebrated the arrival of a little girl at dawn in Jakarta, Indonesia. Joanne van Helvoort tried the best she could to braid her daughter’s hair in The Hague, Netherlands. Billy Antonio saw a little boy with a shiny new gift in Laoac, Philippines. Hifsa Ashraf read the stars in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Blue bootees ...

a gift to my neighbours’

newborn

* * *

before dawn

pink loving letter

beautiful girl’s cry

* * *

birthday

pink ribbons

in her pigtails

* * *

a full view

of clouds gliding south

first bicycle

* * *

new year night …

the young boy resets

constellations

Guliz Mutlu saw Saturn in the morning sky over Ankara, Turkey. Eufemia Griffo watched over the night sky in Milan, Italy.

rings of saturn

old couple

planting a rose

* * *

new constellation

a little pig still awaits for

its ascent

Twelve-year-old Hopella Best stood in awe of a huge Christmas tree.

lighting up the

old pine tree--

a thousand lights

Counting each tree, while he followed tracks in Romania, Vasile Moldovan soon realized how a whole forest had been cut down.

forest of fir--

a Christmas tree

in each home

* * *

after the holiday

reindeer footprints

through fresh snow

Junko Yamada looks forward to her copy of The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Paperboy

coming up the stairs

New Year’s dawn

At home in Sibenik, Croatia, Ljiljana Dobra received a letter from a friend in China to commemorate the incoming zodiac sign. Anna Goluba went shopping in Warsaw. Lothar M. Kirsch picked a bouquet in Germany.

happy pigs

on the postage stamp

from China

* * *

Year of the Pig

new hope in the eyes

of an old piggy bank

* * *

Despite the cold

some daisies welcome

the Year of the Pig

Corine Timmer looked for a pet doctor in Faro, Portugal. Madhuri Pillai found the perfect place in Melbourne, Australia.

city suburb--

the time it takes

to find a pig-friendly vet

***

animal sanctuary

the grand dame welcomes

new arrivals with a nuzzle

Writing from Northern Ireland, Marion Clarke underlined her respect for the most down-to-earth, honest representative of the zodiac signs with this one-liner: salt of the earth pig.

Reka Nyitrai wrote this one-liner about something good to eat for a pig in the forests of Bucharest, Romania: into a wild boar’s dream thud of an acorn.

Pat Geyer fried fresh eggs and bacon in New Jersey. Melanie Vance tried to make hers sunny-side up in Dallas.

on the first morning

i heat up my new pan ...

spattering bacon

* * *

first sun

of the year ...

broken egg in cooking pan

Helga Stania wrote a first line of music in Ettiswil, Switzerland: New year the sound of a tuning fork.

Ringing in the New Year in Croatia, Danijela Grbelja applied the first brushstroke on a blank page. Perhaps worried by a ringing in the ear, Yutaka Kitajima checked his hearing to the tune of a small songbird.

winter without snow

my first haiku

in the new planner

* * *

The first test

of my faculties--

a titmouse

Itoko Suzuki took a selfie from a window seat in the 6th floor restaurant of the Nihondaira hotel in Shizuoka. Explaining why she prefers to sit at home gazing at snowflakes, Jeanne Jorgensen said “A lot of haiku take place in that chair looking out that window.”

My FujiJanuary firstI’m reborn * * * softly falling snow

woodpecker makes dust out of

unshelled peanuts

A veteran teacher, Masumi Orihara is determined to give student-centered lessons. Astrid Egger was tempted to kick up her heels in Queen Charlotte, British Columbia. Aparna Pathak’s spouse looked perfect in Gurugram, India.

the less of me,

the more for others

my new year resolution

* * *

joining Weight Watchers

from the piano below

descending scales

* * *

first day ...

adjusting the length

of husband’s tie

Vandana Parashar in India and Agus Maulana Sunjaya in Indonesia, respectively, resolved to read more often.

first day

new layers of dust

on old books

* * *

first day of the year

dusting old cobwebs

from our bookshelf

Alegria Imperial paused for a while in Vancouver. David Wood sprang free in Ohio. Julia Guzman penned her first calligraphy in Argentina. Geyer painted a lovely birds-eye view. Rosa Maria Di Salvatore loves Catania, Italy.

deleting

wrong words

first page of my diary

* * *

trapped ideas

an artist’s brush

frees them to canvas

* * *

January 1st--

the spot of sumi

on my long fingers

* * *

early to first mass ...

standing on a new stone bridge

doves peacefully perch

* * *

New Year’s Day--

walking as a tourist

in my own city

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The next issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network appears Feb. 15. Readers are invited to send haiku about something sweet on a postcard to David McMurray at the International University of Kagoshima, Sakanoue 8-34-1, Kagoshima, 891-0197, Japan, or by e-mail to (mcmurray@fka.att.ne.jp).

* * *

David McMurray has been writing the Asahi Haikuist Network column since April 1995, first for the Asahi Evening News. He is on the editorial board of the Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, columnist for the Haiku International Association, and is editor of Teaching Assistance, a column featuring graduate students in The Language Teacher of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).

McMurray is professor of intercultural studies at The International University of Kagoshima where he lectures on international haiku. At the Graduate School he supervises students who research haiku. He is a correspondent school teacher of Haiku in English for the Asahi Culture Center in Tokyo.

McMurray judges haiku contests organized by Ito En Oi Ocha, Asahi Culture Center, Matsuyama City, Polish Haiku Association, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seinan Jo Gakuin University, and Only One Tree.

McMurray's award-winning books include: "Only One Tree Haiku, Music & Metaphor" (2015); "Canada Project Collected Essays & Poems" Vols. 1 -- 8 (2013); and "Haiku in English as a Japanese Language" (2003).