26 February, 2014

Osaka V

the summer wind
brings the scent of smoke
to Honmaru

- Honmaru (inner bailey) of Osaka-jo

1 comment:

Hobbes said...

Honmaru is an interesting place. It is the inner bailey of Osaka Castle, and has been burned down over and over again, at key stages in the history of Japan. The burnings correspond quite neatly with discontinuities in the ruling government of Japan.

When I was there, it was a summertime. The wind... well, the wind brought echoes of burning. Perhaps if you burn down a castle so repeatedly, that kind of aroma stays in the air as a memory.

The image that makes this haiga is a personal amusement: I received this particular bottle of wine on the ferry between England and France, for free. Therefore, my safe assumption was that it was dreadful. To encourage its dreadfulness, I kept it on a windowsill for years - including some of the hottest summers on English record.

I always promised myself that I would drink it when I completed my doctoral degree. Some four years after that, I found the bottle and remembered my promise. Promptly cracking open the bottle, I expected the lingering aroma of violent histories, akin to that of Honmaru.

However, it turned out to be one of the nicest, most humble and enjoyable wines that I've had in many weeks. That poor, mistreated bottle actually turned out to be a star.

I felt chastised for my ill treatment of this little bottle and promptly resolved always to respect my bottles in future, no matter how strong our prejudice. It was a welcome education to have my prior assumptions overturned.