Matsuo Basho

Overall Rating: 9
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Author: Matsuo Basho
Title: The Narrow Road To The Deep North
Time: 1689
Destination: Japan
Length: a half year
Type: walking
Rating: 9/10

The poet

[please note: I have been reading an English translation of this book.]

The story: MB is a Haiku poet of the Japanese Edo-period who likes to wander about and write poetry in the process. He takes long solo hikes or goes on treks with friends, sometimes in order to experience the wilderness and sometimes in order to find a certain shrine or a temple.

Matsuo Basho’s beautiful wandering mind

This book is a collection of short travelogues from several of MB’s journeys. He writes in a very poetic voice (at least that’s what the English translation suggests), and not only is he a very keen observer of his environment, but also of himself and his own motivations:

“My only mundane concerns were whether I would be able to find a suitable place to sleep at night and whether the straw sandals were the right size for my feet. Every turn of the road brought me new thoughts and every sunrise gave me fresh emotions.”

Isn’t it magical how we can relate to the feelings of a person who used to live more than 300 years ago, in a land so different from one’s own?

I liked this book a lot.

It’s a 9/10.

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