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The Water Speaks

Posted by
GJC (Kyoto, Japan) on 29 April 2009 in Lifestyle & Culture.

This is from the archives, taken in Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) about a year ago. Work has been too busy lately to pick up the camera so I have to dig into some older photos.

This stream is man-made and dates to the 12th century or earlier. It feeds into a large pond in the garden directly behind us, and the stream was used for an aristocratic poetry game called "Kyokusui-no en" (曲水の宴, literally, "meandering stream party"). The game was most popular during the Heian period (794 - 1185) and involved around seven participants who spaced themselves along the banks of the stream. A cup of Japanese rice wine (sake; お酒) was set in the stream and each poet had to finish a complete waka-style poem before the sake cup reached them. The more you drank, the harder it became to write a good poem, but the more fun everyone had.

NIKON D300 1/80 second F/3.8 ISO 320 36 mm (35mm equiv.)

1/80 second
ISO 320
36 mm (35mm equiv.)