November 26, 2011
Basho passed away around here
The other day, my friends and I were in Osaka for a meeting. We discussed about the upcoming haiga exhibition to be held at a place right on the Mido-suji Ave, busiest street in Osaka. Also on the avenue, a bit away to the north, is a place where Matsuo Basho passed away. The photo here is the stone monument which says just that, "Basho passed away around here".
One of my friends, Kitahara san, who had taken this photo, shared a remark made by some young. "Did Basho die in traffic accident?" We just had to laugh at it. That is the extent of appriciation of Basho among ordinary young Japanese.
Mido-suji Ave. was a narrow street back in Basho's time. It was lined with small stores, and Basho was staying one of them, which sold cut flowers. It was Basho's second visit to Osaka. He was there to settle some dispute between two of his old disciples. He became ill, and though he never expected death, he passed away. In his sick bed, he wrote the following haiku:
Falling sick on a journey -
my dream goes wandering
over a field of withered grass