These seventeen haibun are intended as a single work, to which there are attached an Introduction and a Dedication. Since you will be reading these only one at a time, however, it seems more appropriate that this apparatus follow the final installment, and this is where you will find them. My thanks to Simply Haiku for offering these in their entirety.
three hundred miles by train to arrive in the gloaming of Tazawako the place we seek, Tsurunoyu, lies yet further on, to the north and into the mountains a tattooed cabbie quotes a price his breathstream plumes white into the cooling air as we converse, agree, and bid him take us there
the valley road is two lanes wide, straight and smooth all the way to the Pacific Coast we follow it for several minutes, then turn north onto a narrower road aimed straight at Mt. Iwate the dusklight has now faded, and no moon has risen the mountains crowding round are discernible only as a greater blackness against the blackness of the sky the snow which skirts the road deepens as we rapidly rise
we turn again, onto a road even more ragged and narrow we cannot see around the switchbacks the road makes to accommodate this steep climb the headlights illumine only the wall of snow which now surrounds us the shapes of the roadside trees, mere shadows hurrying past, are mixed, then become all pine, then disappear altogether when at last we crest, the road turns to gravel, and we careen down into an unlit valley, snaking along a river whose rush we can hear above the rattle of the cab, but cannot see
we grow accustomed to the dimness, but there is nothing out there for our eyes to hold, merely the apparitions of snow and landscape in some other manner then we slowly become aware of a looming presence, the blackness which presides here
as we have plunged down, a mountain has risen up before us, whose dimensions we cannot take in with a single pass: it is the genius of the place its arms extend around and behind us—there is no other place to go but into its embrace the cab, fishtailing in the mud and ruts, slows and finally stops we remain seated before the presence, silent in the darkness.
only then, and slowly, do we make out the dim light of kerosene lamps strung out before an ancient building we have arrived
into the dark of an unknown country beginning to see