Cities of Green Leaves Ginko-no-Kukai




Garden scene

As a blogger-inspired initiative to honor
the spirit and sacrifices of the people
in Japan’s stricken Tohoku region,
we are pleased to announce

Cities of Green Leaves Ginko-no-Kukai, May 14 and 15, 2011

We encourage everyone
to join in an international nature walk
to be held May 14 and 15
followed by an international haiku contest.

We invite you to walk with us on those days, collaborating with like-minded poets and bloggers in combining their skills and talents, enter your haiku in a peer judged contest, and take the opportunity to offer aid and support to our friends in Japan in a consensus of thought, well wishes and kinetic energies to occur simultaneously around the globe.

It’s no surprise the kukai’s topic will take its cue from Sendai, Japan’s annual Aoba Matsuri Festival, an event held originally to honor the city’s founder, Date Masamune. The date has now become an annual celebration with thousands of visitors, a parade, sparrow dance and tree lined streets as part of the festival each year to rejoice in the arrival of spring’s new greenery and rebirth.

You may choose any place to hold your ginko walk, as long as it holds the attributes to inspire many to compassionate action in the beauty of poetry, and the celebration of the renewing power of nature’s seasons.

The address to submit your poems will be posted here this third weekend of May. Please return often until then for further updates and poetry. We look forward to walking with you!

Charitable Donations

Architecture for Humanity

Ngo Jen Official Website

Salvation Army in Japan

Participating Blogs

Area 17

Green Tea and Bird Song

Haiku Bandit Society

Red Dragonfly (that’s right here, folks…)

Please join us!


So here’s the deal. A few weeks ago I was hanging out on my friend Willie Sorlien’s amazing blog, Haiku Bandit Society, which is where he likes to hang out when he isn’t hanging out on his other amazing blog, Green Tea and Bird Song, or in the real world in the Upper Midwest not too terribly far from where I hang out in the real world. And the conversation turned to Japanese gardens, which are awesome, and I said, “Hey, Willie, how about when you and I are done with our horrible school semesters we invite a bunch of upper Midwestern haiku poets to join us at this fantastic Japanese garden in Rockford, Illinois, which I have been meaning to visit for like ten years now and have somehow managed not to do even though Japanese gardens are one of my favorite things in the world and I only live an hour and a half away from this one?” And he said, “Yeah, sounds great!” and I said, “Really? Okay, let’s do it!”

And then I wandered away all happy thinking about what a nice time we would all have hanging out together in Rockford in May, little knowing that I had let loose an unstoppable avalanche of saving-the-world in Willie’s brain. He started sending me emails with these incomprehensible words in them like “ginko-no-kukai” and “Date Masamune” and talking about how everyone in the world was going to somehow be joining us on our little nature outing and we would all write poetry together and it would all tie in with a festival in Japan that I’d never heard of and it would cheer up basically the entire world population, especially the part of it that lives in Japan.

And being me, I started to whine and complain that I didn’t know what he was talking about and I didn’t have time to organize an international poetry festival to help save the world and he could just plan the whole thing himself and then send me the announcement about it to put up on my blog, because that’s all I felt like doing. I’m gracious and helpful like that sometimes. And he just put his head down and kept steamrolling ahead and waved his hand at me and said, “No problem, have fun, I’m on it.” Then he went off and started emailing people on four continents to rope them into his plan, and since most of them were a lot more gracious and helpful than I am, this is what has come of it my mild-mannered suggestion, no thanks whatsoever to me. I stand abashed and amazed.

So my suggestion is, have a little more gumption than I did. Just do what Willie says, because he has good ideas. Find someplace nice to take a walk in a couple of weeks, meet some friends, write a little poetry, think good thoughts about Japan, send them some money to help clean up the mess they’re in … really, is it that complicated? Do you have to whine so much? Oh, wait, that’s me. Sorry.

Anyway…stay tuned for more announcements…


we fall through a hole
to Japan

17 thoughts on “Cities of Green Leaves Ginko-no-Kukai

  1. . . . and when I was whining and kableating about my lack of computer skills and how was I ever going to get caught up Melissa grabbed me by the proverbial collar, gave it a shake, and said, “take a chill, boy”, and then showed me how to do it.

    Wonderful how a simple idea can take shape with a little help from our friends, isn’t it? . . . nice to have friends like that.

  2. Cities of Green Leaves Ginko-no-Kukai, May 14 and 15, 2011 — ” . . . Find someplace nice to take a walk in a couple of weeks, meet some friends, write a little poetry, think good thoughts about Japan, send them some money to help clean up the mess they’re in . . . .” A natural action, simple, loving, free and doable. I will share on word pond. And I will try to participate in an informal way.

  3. I’ll be there, I mean, here in Winchendon — a beautiful little town in lots of ways, if you ignore local politics. Lots of trails, open space and waterways. Will be writing a few poems, I hope, and sending good thoughts to Japan.

    Thanks for the info.


  4. Superb, I’ll be in on that too (great idea you too) – I’ve got to see who I can rope in, otherwise it’s a solo event, but I’m keen. It’d be nice to help in some way no matter how small.

  5. Wonderful idea, even if I do fall into the whine and complain camp. At the very least, I’ll be walking through the State Park lands near our home. If I’m really successful, I’ll make it to the Japanese tea house and gardens north of me (just found out about them recently). Should I re-post the upper portion of your announcement? I’d like to pass it along. I’m definitely telling my local writing group about it, but this is a crazy time of year, and several have seniors graduating (and parties to prepare for). It might just be me, but I’m sure their thoughts and wishes will accompany me. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.

  6. yeah. i walked saturday. on one of my usual short walks. and took photos while exploring on ku in my skull. several bits and pieces appealed to me. i’ve worked two into haiga. however. i didnt read the theme again before starting that process. so altho in my view yes, i’m sending supportive thoughts and energy to Japan – it’s not quite in line with the theme of greenery and seasonal renewal that i now think would be more appropriate. so. i’ll post the haiga on my blog. and send energy from here to there. and line up with all the ku-ers in support of Japan’s recovery and renewal process. aloha.

    • I went on a mini-ginko with my family — it was the first day you could really see any significant blossoms here so that worked out. The boys took photos because that’s their thing, and I stared intently at things and scribbled in a notebook and didn’t let them see what I was writing. They laughed at me a little, but only a little. It was nice.

  7. Pingback: A Ginko Haiga Walk for Japan #1 – Ten Thousand Leaves « A 19 Planets Art Blog 2010/2011

  8. Pingback: A Ginko Haiga Walk for Japan #2 – The Sea Settles « A 19 Planets Art Blog 2010/2011

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