This week we focused on the traveling poet, Basho, as well as the defining of Japanese poetics. I found it helpful to read Basho to gain more experience with reading haiku. The transition from samurai controlled Japan to modernization caused for Basho to stress the importance of Japanese poetry and aesthetics because he believed that with modernity it would all end (Lec 2/24). His series of poems and prose accounts of his travels help to theorize the self-conscious journey to find one’s self. In comparison with earlier works, Basho reflects the blending of barriers between humans and nature. “It is both passive and active in its appreciation of the permanence of sensibility that emerged by way of radical change and an equally radical sense of order” (Inouye, 79). Basho’s journey to assert his self, by embracing nothingness, helps him to create a foundation of his poems in fueki ryuko. This term is defined as “the un-changing and the ever changing” (Inouye, 74). Basho’s embracing of nothingness is evident, however his narrative travel to find one’s self is not passive. The journey to find the self is to try to elevate yourself to a higher level as we know from Chomei’s burning house, this is a never-ending continuous cycle, that we cannot escape from. What ever we strive to attain, will let us down. This tension between the high and the low is the emotion powerfully linked to natural images in Basho’s poetry (Lec 2/26). I understand this feeling completely. There is a tree in front of my house that has been there since my house was built in the 70’s. It grows little cherries in the spring, and is very green in the summer. I’ve complained to my parents to cut it down when I was younger, so the birds in the nests wouldn’t poop on my car, but they refused. Understanding now it’s longevity, I am jealous of the time it has been allotted. Similar to Professor Inouye’s story about the Bristle cone pines in Utah (Lec 2/26). We can envy nature for its survival of time and worship its sacredness, and this is the first step to truly understanding the beauty of sorrow.