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1. Ryokan: Japan's Finest Spas and
2. Great Fool: Zen Master Ryokan:
3. Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen
4. The Zen poems of Ryokan (Princeton
5. One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry
6. Ryokan: A Japanese Tradition
7. Between Two Souls: Conversations
8. The Japanese Spa: A Guide to Japan's
9. Ryokan:Zen Monk - Poet of Japan
10. Between the Floating Mist: Poems
11. The Kanshi Poems of Taigu Ryokan
12. Songs of the Woodcutter: Zen Poems
13. Little Enough: 49 Haiku by Basho,
14. Ryokan: Zen Monk - Poet of Japan
15. Ryokan (Spanish Edition)
16. Ryôkan, moine zen
17. Ryokan the Great Fool
18. The Japanese Inn Ryokan: A Gateway
19. Kristian Ryokan
20. Ryokan

1. Ryokan: Japan's Finest Spas and Inns
by Akihiko Seki, Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2007-12-15)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$22.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804838399
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

This book features Japanese inns, or ryokan, both old and new-from inns with a history dating back a thousand years to modern inns with the latest facilities that nonetheless capture the spirit of old Japan. Each of the properties has been handpicked by the authors for their strong design aesthetic, commitment to service and purity of their spring waters. The photographs showcase the resorts at their best, and accurately express the unique architectural design of each ryokan.

Each chapter begins by introducing the area surrounding the inns and their spas, or onsen, and provides a background of its local history, culture and traditions, as well as the natural environment. The text provides information on the design and development of each ryokan, and descriptions of the owners and their clientele. For those planning a visit to an onsen, this book provides contact details and information on the number of rooms, type of facilities and food, as well as vital information on travel and booking procedures and whether English is spoken. For those fascinated by Japanese culture and design, this book is an absolute delight.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful pictures
This book has many very beautiful pictures of -- mostly traditional -- Japanese architecture and gardens.That alone is a good reason to buy it.However, I purchased it for possible use in planning a future vacation trip to Japan, having previously visited the standard tourist places in and around Tokyo and Kyoto.For that purpose, it is a drawback that there is no information whatsoever about costs.I know these places are going to be very expensive.I guess that if you have to ask, you can't afford it.Websites are provided.

4-0 out of 5 stars A sensitive whole sight introduction into Japanese culture
The book is introducing 36 Ryokans throughout Japan.

13 for Tokyos area
6 for Kyoto, Nara and Kansai
7 for central Japan
4 for northern Japan
6 for southern Japan

One of the particularly well done features of the book are the exceptionally well written texts and a very sensitive introduction about the "Ryokan and Onsen Etiquette".

This 3 page introduction alone lists up cases which probably make up more than 80% of common pitfalls when "guests" are lacking the cultural background.

Years back I have been in those or similar situations myself and would have wished to have had such a quick rundown of what to do and what to better avoid.

A few things that could be improved on the book.

1) Some pictures have homepage or newspaper like quality.
(low resolution picture zoomed up to a full page)
2) The introduced Ryokans should be numbered throughout the book as it was done on the map in the front.
3) More seasonal information should be included. Blossom of certain trees and flowers, festivals etc.
4) Perhaps a smaller sized edition would accommodate better for some of the lower quality pictures and would help making the book more portable.


With each single well crafted textual descriptions of the Ryokans you get invaluable sensitive introductions to Japans cultural background.

If you are going to Japan for business you will want to consider the book an investment into an cultural introduction.

The other above mentioned points are no deal breakers in an way, but are actually devalueing an another wise excellent book.

The book is highly recommended !!
... Read more

2. Great Fool: Zen Master Ryokan: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings
by Ryokan
Paperback: 332 Pages (1996-04-01)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 082481777X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Taigu Ryokan (1759-1831) remains one of the most popular figures in Japanese Buddhist history. Despite his religious and artistic sophistication, Ryokan referred to himself as "Great Fool" and refused to place himself within the cultural elite of his age. In contrast to the typical Zen master of his time, who presided over a large monastery, trained students, and produced recondite religious treatises, Ryokan followed a life of mendicancy in the countryside. Instead of delivering sermons, he expressed himself through kanshi (poems composed in classical Chinese) and waka and could typically be found playing with the village children in the course of his daily rounds of begging. Great Fool is the first study in a Western language to offer a comprehensive picture of the legendary poet-monk and his oeuvre. It includes not only an extensive collection of the master's kanshi, topically arranged to facilitate an appreciation of Ryokan's colorful world, but selections of his waka, essays, and letters. The volume also presents for the first time in English the Ryokan zenji kiwa (Curious Accounts of the Zen Master Ryokan), a firsthand source composed by a former student less than sixteen years after Ryokan's death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Method to Ryokan's GreatFoolishness
Something about Ryokan just captures the imagination. An eccentric Zen monk living in a hut in the mountains, dashing off fine poetry and refined calligraphy after making the rounds in the towns below with his begging bowl, playing ball with the kids and sipping sake with the farmers along the way. Living a life free of the many conventions and responsibilities that hem us in, Ryokan seems to speak directly to us with a straightforward, friendly, unpretentious eloquence. Apparently this is a voice we find greatly appealing, and there are a great number of fine books about him and his poetry in English.

Still, of these, "Great Fool: Zen Master Ryokan" really stands out as an excellent scholarly treatment of Ryokan and his art. Special attention is given to the nature of his religious orientation and his place in late Tokugawa literary society. His relationships with sponsors and fellow literati (of both Confucian, Kokugaku, and Buddhist persuasions) are fleshed out through translations of his letters, his role and image in local society exemplified by Kera Yoshishige's firsthand biography (one of the earliest), and his strict Soto Zen religiosity are revealed in several sermonistic essays on Buddhism--these latter especially reveal a very different Ryokan, strident and very critical of the state of institutional Buddhism in his day, erudite in the difficult writings of Dogen and the canonical Mahayana sutras, whose practice of seclusion and begging turn out to be highly unusual in his own context and thus a very intentional manifesto of his firmly-held religious principles. And of course there are the poems, lots and lots of them, both kanshi and waka, all of which have been specially selected with a view to shedding light on many of these same questions--for what they tell us about Ryokan the literatus, Ryokan the local weirdo, Ryokan the Soto Zen monk, and hence Ryokan the man living during late Tokugawa Japan.

The three scholarly essays at the beginning of the book by Haskel and Abe outline these same themes as well as discussing perceptions of Ryokan in modern and contemporary Japan, his role as a kind of household name and folkloric culture hero and the very divergent academic takes on him by his different Japanese interpreters. Much consideration is given too to the evolution of Ryokan studies over time and of the nature and reliability of the sources we use to understand him. All of this makes this book extremely useful, almost indispensable really, for anyone who wants to study Ryokan in-depth, and this more than makes up for the fact that the translations of the poems themselves seem just a tad prosaic sometimes. Highly recommended to anyone interested in late Tokugawa Buddhism and its relation to literature as well as to all diehard Ryokan fans, of course.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great Life of a Great Fool
"Great Fool" is the best English source I've found for Ryokan's poems and life history.When I feel a bit overwhelmed, I always turn to Ryokan and his simple and direct approaches to life.

"Great Fool" starts off with three essays that deal with (among other things) Ryokan's modern popularity and the debate whether Ryokan was an enlightened Zen man.This last topic I found greatly interesting, especially his being coopted by Marxist thinkers who saw in him a failed zennist and bitter poet.

Next is a collection of stories of Ryokan's life and the poems, Kanshi poems written in Chinese and shorter Waka poems written in Japanese.Ryokan shares alot of spirit with Han-shan, or Cold Mountain, except that Ryokan's poetry seems livelier and more personable than Cold Mountain's, though this could be a result of the translations.It also could be the result of Ryokan's constant association with people - indeed, like a Bodhisattva, Ryokan never really left the world.Instead of running from inquirers with shreiks and giggles, Ryokan delightfully pulls a rubber playing ball from his sleeve.

The book ends with a collection of letters and essays written by Ryokan, which give a great insight into his daily life.I especially like how he ends some of his letters:

That's all.

Enjoy!That's all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best....
I discovered Ryokan around 20 years ago when I took out "One robe, one bowl" from the library. Since then I've bought that and most of the other English translations that have appeared. I finally gave in and spent the extra bucks to buy this one and have been thoroughly impressed and glad with my purchase. Not only does it contain more of his poetry than the other collections, but it also contains some superb biographical and critical essays. If you want to know more about this wonderful poet and person, this is THE book to get. I would hope every library in America would purchase it as well. Although I'm sure Ryokan would find this rather amusing, I can't help but call this the "Cadillac of Ryokan anthologies." A fantastic book!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Theessential Zen poet
Ryokan,a great zen monk who dubbed himself"the great fool" is one of the most revered figures in all Japan. As a wandering begging monk{one robe, a bowl and walking stick} Ryokan celebrates the quotidian,whether a stong pot of tea, sake,playing ball with village children,or the warming embers of a dying fire in the midst of Winter,he makes these images come alive,with vibrancy and suppleness. This volume conatins remembrances of Ryokan from contemporaries,disciples,students and those he met along the way. Along with his Reflections on Buddhism,this volume also contains a very helpfulessay, a poetics of mendicancy by ryuichi abe`,and another essay by ab`,commemorating ryokan. the introductory essay by peter haskel, ryokan of mount kugami puts ryokan in his historical perpective. However, above all, it is the pure airy poetry of the master himself.Cleansing and wonderful...

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite hardcover binding with well rendered translations.
This beautiful cloth covered book brings Ryokan to life. An extensivebiography helps place him firmly in the lineage of zen fools. His poetry iswell rendered, cutting to the heart of his enlightenment, his lonelyvillage. Some of the preface seems a bit misplaced and foolish, attemptingto address the question of whether he was 'enlightened,' with deep andsilly consideration of his views relative the deconstructionist movement.But his skill as calligrapher and poet are well treated: the beauty of hispoetry is not random! If you can afford it, the hardcover's worth the extrabucks because of the sweet binding, really a nice book to hold in yourhands. ... Read more

3. Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan
by Ryokan
Paperback: 120 Pages (2004-04-13)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590301080
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The Japanese poet-recluse Ryokan (1758–1831) is one of the most beloved figures of Asian literature, renowned for his beautiful verse, exquisite calligraphy, and eccentric character. Deceptively simple, Ryokan's poems transcend artifice, presenting spontaneous expressions of pure Zen spirit. Like his contemporary Thoreau, Ryokan celebrates nature and the natural life, but his poems touch the whole range of human experience: joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, enlightenment and illusion, love and loneliness. This collection of translations reflects the full spectrum of Ryokan's spiritual and poetic vision, including Japanese haiku, longer folk songs, and Chinese-style verse. Fifteen ink paintings by Koshi no Sengai (1895–1958) complement these translations and beautifully depict the spirit of this famous poet. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars worth it
I love Ryokan and turn to this book often. It has no fluff or pretense in it the way a lot of classic English poetry has. Ryokan is a poet for those they usually can't stand poetry like myself. He writes about nature, meditation, going for alms and the general ups and downs of human life in a very refreshing way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Distilled Excellence
Perfect.A master, of course, I found the poetry in this volume to be to the point, without flair while still remaining subtle and containing depths.
If Zen were a language, this is what it would speak.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mad Wisdom and Compassion on a Lotus Leaf
These are fresh and spare and unforgettable poems, reproduced by John Stevens with directness and fidelity to the original (or so I have been told by my multilingual friends.)

Ryokan was a nature poet but fully in touch with humanity and he had this touch in his poems such that each poem has many levels and can be appreciated through any or all.

"At night I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.
I never cared about returning home,..."

How can you not love it? I can taste the dewdrops already...

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Pleasing Translation
I like the way Stephens includes enough information about Ryokan to help understand the poetry. As Ryokan notes himself, outside his Zen, he has no Poetry to offer.

Ryokan refusing to take a position of a Zen Abbot, instead goes back to the place of his youth and takes hermitage. "The cold wind gathers enough fallen leaves to build my fire."

His code of living avoids flattery as much as objuragation, he teaches with a tear, plays with children, and falls in love with a young nun. All of this brings forward our own starkling humanity!

Stephens does a master presentation in bringing this material together in such an artful way as to illuminate all sides of Ryokan with that of the reader themselves. And with that the poetry comes alive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reflections on Dew-drops
This third edition(Tokyo, 1954)is created of folded rice? paper and bound by a fine green ribbon - this volume fascinates me each time I read it. Ryokwan-sama speaks through his poetry of gentle musings, of wisdom foundby not searching for it, and of both happiness & despair.Thistranslation has been made from the Chinese text by Jakob Fischer.This iscertainly a labor of love which honors Ryokwan and the culture of theOrient.Thesecontemplations and astute observations of this eccentricpriest's life reach towards the zen of living."I longed on that warmspring day,to stop the enchanted hours in their flight." ... Read more

4. The Zen poems of Ryokan (Princeton library of Asian translations)
by Ryokan
 Hardcover: 218 Pages (1981)

Isbn: 0691064660
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful translations of Ryokan
I love this book, it is one of the best translations of Ryokan's poems.It has a 20 page introduction, a 20 page biographical sketch on Ryokan. This book has 215 of his chinese [kanshi] poems and 413 of his japanese poems, a wonderful collection.
This book is hard to find, its been out of print for years, its worth hunting down. It also has a photo of Ryokan's hut, where he lived in the mountains. With 664 zen poems it is one of the largest collections of Ryokan's poetry translated into english. ... Read more

5. One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan
by Ryokan
Paperback: 88 Pages (2006-04-11)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$6.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0834805707
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The hermit-monk Ryokan, long beloved in Japan both for his poetry and for his character, belongs in the tradition of the great Zen eccentrics of China and Japan. His reclusive life and celebration of nature and the natural life also bring to mind his younger American contemporary, Thoreau. Ryokan's poetry is that of the mature Zen master, its deceptive simplicity revealing an art that surpasses artifice. Although Ryokan was born in eighteenth-century Japan, his extraordinary poems, capturing in a few luminous phrases both the beauty and the pathos of human life, reach far beyond time and place to touch the springs of humanity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down
This is a fantastic book of Ryokan poems that is hard to put down. These poems have a feeling to them of coming from a true Master of the Buddha's teachings. The translator helps by staying away from analyis and interpretation and lets Ryokan speak for himself to us through the words. You feel his joy and his sadness as well as his love of solitary forest life and meditation. There is nothing but a wonderful little book of Ryokan translations that lovers of Zen or Zen poetry will turn to again and again.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Solitude with Tones of Lonliness
Ryokan renounced the "world" and became a Buddhist monk, and then hermit. He lived in a tiny hut in a rural area and walked to nearby villages to beg for food. He did this all of his adult life and lived into his 80s.

His poetry is pure and centered on his ascetic existence. The translation reads easily and has some explanations when necessary for unfamiliar words.

The overriding impression is of a man in love with solitude but also lonely. There are some poems filled with emotion, yet by and large the writing is spare and disciplined and will satisfy you if you like haiku and related forms.

His own poetry and reports about him depict him as an enlightened practitioner of his religion, able to be completely in the moment, sensual and undistracted. Also, a bit absentminded -- leaving a friend waiting while he became distracted by the moon for an hour or more.

I will include one poem of his which I feel captures the spirit or tone of his work:

THE BAMBOO grove in front of my hut!
Every day I see it a thousand times
Yet never tire of it.

I have been eager to read this book for some time, hearing that it was perhaps the greatest example of a literary monk living out the wabi sabi ideal. I think it may well be, but I was surprised by a few things.

Animals occur in his poems, but they feel indistinct, like part of a lovely background for solitude, or to represent a mood. They are not celebrated in and of themselves, like Issa might do. People -- playing with children and drinking with farmers, seem more real and important to this self-proclaimed recluse.

The wabi existence (cold, hard, and hungry) certainly looses it's romantic blush in these poems. the dominant sense I get is not blissful immersion in silence and solitude but rather cold lonely disappointment. Loneliness and coldness are especially well captured.

both the translator and the woman who preserved and first compiled much of his work wanted to "Make known his spirit and way of life." I think what they are referring to is his acceptance of impermanence and his spirituality centered on sabi -- the lovely lonely mood or melancholy feeling we have when we see a thing for what it is. Direct awareness of reality in all its unvarnished and surprising facets.

5-0 out of 5 stars The wind gives me/ Enough fallen leaves/ To make a fire
Zen Master Ryokan!
Like a fool, like a dunce
Body and mind completely dropped off!

This is another great translation of Ryokan by John Stevens. So many in their reviews have shown their respect and love for Ryokan who "is replete with MUSHIN, the mind without calculation or pretense, and MUJO, the sense of impermanence of all things".
Ryokan (1758? -1831) was a Japanese poet, Zen buddhist and one of the greatest calligraphers of all time in East Asia. In his early twenties he became the disciple of top Soto Zen Roshi Kokusen and trained diligently as a Zen monk. When Kokusen died in 1791, Ryokan left on a long pilgrimage, wandering all over Japan. In his early 40s he drifted back to his native place and spent the rest of his life in mountain hermitages. Near the end of his life he fell in love with a beautiful young nun Teishin who was by his side when he died at age 73. His hermitage Gogo-an on Mount Kigami still stands.

One Robe, One Bowl contains translation of his 100 chinese and 103 Japanese poems(101 Waka and 2 Haiku). Many of his poems are without titles and doesn't give us a reference to the time and place they were written. Ryokan frequently broke the rules of poetry composition. His poems are simple, direct and very poignant. His poetry is about love of nature, local children, rice wine and living a simple life. His beloved Teishin compiled the first edition of Ryokan's poems, titled Hachisu no Tsuyu ("Dew drops on a Lotus Leaf") four years after his death, which has also been brilliantly translated by John Stevens.
Both these books are a must read. Ryokan's poems refresh you, make you look aroundand under your feet. You notice everything from sun to clouds, birds and insects, trees, wind and rain, and his great love - Moon. I highly recommend reading them in a natural spot, where there are trees, flowers, flowing water and birds. You will find yourself drifting in and out of his poems and nature and back. Almost surreal.

Once you have read them again and again, add to your collection Ryokan's favorite poet, the Chinese sage Han Shan (Cold Mountain), also available on Amazon.

3-0 out of 5 stars Are my poems poems?
Ryokan, One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan (Weatherhill, 1977)

"Who says my poems are poems?
My poems are not poems.
When you know that my poems are not poems,
Then we can speak of poetry."

Ryokan, nineteenth-century Japanese Zen poet and monk, was either somewhat addled (an hypothesis which his eccentricity lends itself to) or was acutely aware that some of what he wrote simply didn't qualify as poetry. Most of it, however, did; his haiku, waka, and other traditional forms are often exquisitely rendered images of his life as a hermit, a beggar, and a man lonely even while those in the town in which he begged for rice loved him dearly. Often, his work is short, to the point, and lovely, showing the reverence for both nature and language that the best Japanese poets seem to feel as naturally as you or I breathe:

"Down in the village
the din of flute and drum;
here deep in the mountain
everywhere the song of the pines."

But, every once in a while, as with the piece that opens this review, he simply ignores everything he knows (and we know) about poetry and jots down a thought or a koan broken into short lines. Thankfully, there are far fewer of these than there are actual poems in this collection, and so it's worth your time; be prepared for a slight inconsistency in quality, though. ***

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry
I bought this book because I was giving a talk on Ryokan and his poetry.It was wonderful to be able to share his poems with others and to have this treasure of a book for myself as well.His poetry is so simple and yet so profound and has universal appeal whether or not one has a background in Zen. ... Read more

6. Ryokan: A Japanese Tradition
by Gabriele Fahr-Becker
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2008-02)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$14.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0841600929
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the ryokan, the traditional Japanese guesthouse, building and landscape are melded in harmonic unity.Art, architecture, and the culture of daily life in ancient Japan as well as ceremonies and rituals, including the tea ceremony, the way of the Samurai, and much more is elucidated and explored in richly illustrated articles. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite book about Ryokan
Not knowing anything about this sub-species of Japanese art/architecture, this book is a pleasure to read and look at.Highly recommended for anyone wanting an interesting angle into learning about Japan's cultural history.Many many sumptuous photographs offer the concept of the ryokan as Japan's version of a domicile Gesamtkunstwerk.A slight criticism might be that the author relies too much on quoting passages from others, but this is a minor point, the topics and illlustrations carry the day here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Treasures of Japan
Having stayed in a 400 year-old ryokan in Kyoto, it was a pleasure to read more about them and their history. ... Read more

7. Between Two Souls: Conversations with Ryokan
by Mary Lou Kownacki, Ryokan
Hardcover: 191 Pages (2004-07-30)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$19.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802828094
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (2)

to be followed by a careful reading of Friar Leonardo Boff's Praying With Jesus And Mary: Our Father, Hail Mary.

Eloquently, ephemerally, eternally embracingly reminiscent of the fine work by Father Merton examining this same rich field of deep soil and open heart, such as Mystics and Zen Masters and Zen and the Birds of Appetite., yet here we may hear the interplay across the centuries of two contemplative souls in conversation, one Catholic, the other Buddhist, seeking peace in compassion and the end of suffering. As Ryokan writes: "Oh, that my monk's robe were wide enough to embrace the suffering of the world." Herein lies the essence of Christian monasticism and Passion of the Christ, who cries, "Jerusalem, how long have I longed to gather you beneath my wings like a hen her chicks." Here we may learn to access the depths of our own Catholic contemplative heart, spirit and soul. While the men of the hour angrily battle over individual words and purposeful misunderstandings, these holy and contemplative women like Sister Mary Lou and Sister Joan in silent prayer, call us back to the one eternal and universal God whom we worship. Like the Martha and Mary dichotomy, they have chosen the "better part" and lead us gently, quietly back home.

5-0 out of 5 stars "CATCHING"ANEXTRAVAGANTHEART . . .
At first, the magic of this book will be seen in the idea of building a relationship between a Zen monk of 19th century Japan, and a contemporary Benedictine (USA) nunthrough the 'exchange' of poems. They are the alternating voices in this unusual dialogue, one that needs to be read at a measured pace.

In the introduction of"Between Two Souls"Joan Chittister, herself of the Benedictine order, says this book calls all of us . ."out of our daily selves and into the monastery of the heart."The book's author,Mary Lou Kownacki,explains that she used the poems of RYOKAN as her "lectio" - - a holy reading used daily for meditation (see also isbn #0835808068//Norvene Vest's "Gathered in the Word") in the hope of'catching'the extravagant heart of the man who wrote:"Oh, that my monk's robe were wide enough to embrace the suffering of the world."

In some poems the readers may question undercurrents of passion, yet it can be argued that you cannot have life without passion. Arresting calligraphy is provided by Eri Takase's strong brushstrokes.All of this needs to be savored as a Feast, including this brief 'exchange' of Haiku:

Ryokan:Left behind by the thief
the moon
in the window.

Kownacki: Some mistake -
This old lady's skin I wash
Pretends it is mine.

The key to the deepest enjoyment, the richest extraction of guidance, is to meditate on each poem or phrase, and find your own path to approaching Life in a non-violent way.

Ryokansaid "..... if you don't write of things deep inside your own heart, What's the use of churning out so many words?"is answered by Kownacki: "My poems are simple, ..... But like stone soup/The broth is clear/And there is a center."

Later she says: "It is a time of great poverty and violence in the land, Yet day after day we write verses and raise a toast....."Can I do less than raise a toast to these two voices?And urge everyone to read their words and discover which poems enter your hearts to do their work. "Cheers" says Reviewer mcHaiku. ... Read more

8. The Japanese Spa: A Guide to Japan's Finest Ryokan and Onsen
by Akihiko Seki, Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
Paperback: 176 Pages (2005-06-15)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$250.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080483671X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The lavish photos of inns and hot springs collected in this book will provide homeowners with a wealth of inspiration.

With more than 250 color photographs, this is essential for anyone interested in luxury Japan. Each chapter discusses an extravagant inn, its local history, and its cultural traditions. Each of the properties has been handpicked by the author for their strong design aesthetic. The lodgings pictured here will bring a flush of new ideas to home decorators across the world.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Makes A Good Guidebook
If you are adding a Japanese bath or details to your home, this book is full of excellent examples that will inspire your creativity.If you are visiting Japan and plan to travel around and explore onsen and ryokans, this is a great book with beautiful photos that will give you a good idea of what to expect.This is a the big problem with most of the big name travel books, they mention the places but you never get to really see what they are like.

"The Japanese Spa" is divided in 5 geographical regions:

1) Around Tokyo
2) Kyoto & Nara
3) Central Japan
4) Northern Japan
5) Southern Japan

I have persoanlly stayed at both Hiragiya and Seikoro in Kyoto, and they are both excellent, though I prefer the former.The food and staff are exceptional at both, but the ambiance is superior at Hiragiya. We left an expensive camera in a cab in Kyoto and the Hiragiya staff called the cab companies, who delivered the camera to the ryokan a few hours later.Incredible.Only in Japan!

There are tons of color photos on every page, and each place mentioned includes a good little description.Just a little more information to read would have made it a 5-star.This is a very nice book.If you are planning to visit Kyoto, be sure to bring a copy of "Old Kyoto" by Durston.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lots of Tatami - Not a lot of Onsen
Lots of pictures in this book, but most are of the inside of the ryokans, tatami rooms, and scenery.Not a whole lot of pictures of the onsen's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for inspiration
THE JAPANESE SPA: A GUIDE TO JAPAN'S FINEST RYOKAN AND ONSEN provides a color survey of lovely Japanese spas. Perfect for inspiration to any who either wish to visit Japan or model a home redecoration after Japanese tradition.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch ... Read more

9. Ryokan:Zen Monk - Poet of Japan
by Ryokan
Paperback: 126 Pages (1992-04-15)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$19.00
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Asin: 0231044151
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Watson includes the representative works of this Tokugawa poet's waka and kanshi works, along with an introduction and the original Japanese poems in romanized form. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine edition of an important Zen poet.
RYOKAN : Zen Monk-Poet of Japan.Translated by Burton Watson. 121 pages.New York : Columbia University Press, 1977 and Reprinted.

Burton Watson has always struck me as an eminently civilized scholarand as a fine translator. Unlike certain others, he wears his scholarship lightly, and doesn't overburden the text with extraneous matter. His many translations from Chinese and Japanese Literature areof uniformly high quality, and are well worth having as they are books one often wants to returns to.

Watson tells us that Ryokan (1758-1831) left about 450 Chinese poemsand 1400 Japanese poems.The present book, besides giving us a brief, interesting, and informative 13-page Introduction, contains translations of 43 of the Chinese and 83 of the Japanese poems, along with two very short prose pieces - 'Admonitory Words' and 'Statement on Begging for Food.'

Whereas we have been given only the bare translations of the Chinese poems, Watson has thoughtfully provided "the originals of the Japanese poems ... in romanized form, since poetry in classical Japanese is quite intelligible in such form" (page 12).Finding numbers have beenincluded for all of the poems, and bibliographical details of thesources used by Watson will be found on pages 12-13 of his Introduction.

Ryokan (1758-1831) is one of Japan's best-loved poets, and was born in the "snow country" of Echigo Province on the west coast of Japan. His family was fairly prosperous, the atmosphere in his home was literaryand religious, and at the age of about nineteen, possibly as the result of some inner spiritual crisis, he decided to become a Buddhist monk and entered the local Zen temple, Kosho-ji.

It was at this time that he took the name 'Ryokan' - 'ryo' signifying good; 'kan' signifying generosity and largeheartedness. It would be difficult to think of a more appropriate name than 'Good Heart' for the kind of person that Ryokan was, and it goes a great way towards explaining the great love the Japanese have for him.

In him we find the heart of the mother - one who doesn't judge, one who understands, one who accepts and loves us as we are and for what weare - but in Ryokan's case one whose love extended to the whole universe and its myriad beings, whether human, animal, or plant, even the inanimate.

After twelve years of Zen training, Ryokan left Kosho-ji and began a series of pilgrimages that lasted five years. He then returned to his native village, found an abandoned hermitage nearby, and was to spend most of the rest of his life there, meditating, writing, and interacting with the world around him.

The poems he wrote are largely concerned with events in his daily life, and can be read with enjoyment by anyone.In them we find him observing nature, sitting alone through long cold nights and suffering other hardships, exhibiting great compassion for non-human creatures, remembering the past, struggling with loneliness, drinking sake with the local farmers, and playing with the village children.Seemingly simple, these poems can conceal real depths, depths that will be apparent to those familiar with Zen and with Buddhist ideas such as 'no-mind' and 'impermanence,' and with certain Buddhist symbols.

But, as I've indicated, a knowledge of these is not really necessary to appreciate the poems, since Ryokan's main appeal is to our humanity, something we all share. Here is an example of one of the shorter Chinese poems, with my slash marks added to indicate line breaks:

"Blue sky, cold wild-geese crying; / empty hills, tree leaves whirling. / Sunset, road through a hazy village: / going home alone,carrying an empty bowl" (page 78).

Here is one of the Japanese poems:

"Children! / shall we be going now / to the hill / of Iyahiko / to see how the violets are blooming?" (page 27).

Sometimes it seems to me that much of modern literature is a literature of confusion, but that what Ryokan has to offer is a literature of clarity.Ryokan was fully human. He had established contact with reality. His love and compassion were infinite. In this he becomes a model for us all.

The present book, as I've indicated, gives only a small selection from Ryokan.Those whose appetite has been whetted, and who would like more, might take a look at John Stevens 'ONE ROBE, ONE BOWL : The Zen Poetryof Ryokan,' another book of selections which I'm sure they will also enjoy.On the whole, I think Stevens succeeds slightly better in some ways, but though Stevens is good, Watson is good too, and there are few who could do as good a job as either.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chinese/Japanese Zen poetry at its best
This is one of three competent translations of Ryokan's poetry.As eachof them is only a sliver of his total poetry output, don't consider themcompetetors, get them all.But start here.

This collection sets itselfapart by including a poetic version of a jataka tale (Rabbit in the Moon),an abridged "Admonitory words" written for himself, and a prosepiece on begging - this in addition to a well-chosen selection oftranslations of poem written in Chinese and Japanese.This book also has afew comments attached to some poems to place them in the life of Ryokan. The net result is a translation that makes it more apparent Ryokan'sreligious content than the other excellent translations.Watson'sfamilarity with the Chinese poets admired by Ryokan also shows through inthe notes and translations.This is a great place to start readingRyokan's excellent poetry. ... Read more

10. Between the Floating Mist: Poems of Ryokan (Companions for the Journey)
by Ryokan
Paperback: 96 Pages (2009-04-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193521005X
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“Just as Ryokan’s life is inseparable from his poetry, the translation’s clarity of diction is inseparable from the sensitive brushwork on each page. A book to be gazed into again and again.”—Charlotte Mandel, Small Press

What shall remain
as my legacy?
The spring flowers
the cuckoo in summer,
the autumn leaves.

Ryokan (1758–1831) was a poet, master calligrapher, Zen hermit, and is one of the most beloved poets of Japan. Instead of becoming the head of a Zen temple, he preferred the simple and independent life of a hermit. Ryokan’s poetry is simple, direct, and colloquial in expression.

... Read more

11. The Kanshi Poems of Taigu Ryokan (Laughing Buddha Series)
by Taigu Ryokan
Paperback: 168 Pages (2009-02-27)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$9.55
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Asin: 1933964251
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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100 poems by Japanese poet Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831) included in English, original Chinese, and Japanese by poets Mei Hui Liu Huang and Larry Smith. With an introduction "Taigu Ryokan: Great Fool" by Larry Smith. ContainsPoems of Children童 心; My Hut草 庵; Travel Poems行 腳 ; Poems of Friendship友 情 ; A Monk’s Journal僧 侶 生 涯 ; Spring Poems春 ; Summer Poems夏 ; Fall Poems秋 ; Winter Poems冬 ; Poems of Aging成 長 ; Zen Meditations禪 思 .

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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Translation, pleased!
Great translations of poems!Not only are the poems translated into English, they are shown with their Japanese and Chinese counterparts.For example, "day day day" in Chinese characters is translated "Day after day", which is so apropos.The poems are Zen; it's no wonder the Buddha is laughing!A perfect read in which to meditate--enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Liberating
Reading this book cracked the shell of my self-images much like the stroke of a Zen master. The introductory biography of Ryokan's life is a vivid depiction of the radical importance of non-striving in all its insidious forms. Then, diving into the poems, a clear-cut honesty reverberates with the same wake-up call, "who are you?". The translations are transparent; the tender voice of the poet remains clear throughout.

5-0 out of 5 stars That Crazy Monk Has Come Back to Play
Though I am one of the translators here, I write this in praise of the "Great Fool" Ryokan. This title for the review is a line from one of the poems in this collection of one of Japan's and Buddhism's most beloved poets. The book takes poems from the long journal of poems this mountain monk kept for decades. He's a contemporary of Thoreau writing with keen senses and a Zen spirit. The translations include English, Chinese, Japanese. ... Read more

12. Songs of the Woodcutter: Zen Poems of Wang Wei & Taigu Ryokan
by Wang Wei, Taigu Ryokan
Audio CD: Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0933087802
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Translator Larry Smith and flutist Monte Page present a musical meditation CD with 20 page booklet of the Zen poems of Chinese poet Wang Wei and Japanese poet Taigu Ryokan. It's a lyric meditation of some of the finest Nature poetry from the Zen Buddhist tradition of verse.CD is 49 minutes. ... Read more

13. Little Enough: 49 Haiku by Basho, Sodo, Ransetsu, Buson, Ryokan, Issa, Shiki
by Cid Corman
 Paperback: 50 Pages (1991-01-01)
list price: US$10.00
Isbn: 0917788486
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classic Japanese, tr Corman ... Read more

14. Ryokan: Zen Monk - Poet of Japan
 Unknown Binding: 126 Pages

Isbn: 0231044143
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15. Ryokan (Spanish Edition)
by Gabriele Fahr-Becker
Hardcover: Pages (2005-09)
list price: US$70.60 -- used & new: US$18.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3833112255
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16. Ryôkan, moine zen
by Mitchiko Ishigami-Lagolnitzer
Paperback: 292 Pages (2001-08-01)
-- used & new: US$59.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2271058724
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17. Ryokan the Great Fool
by Misao Kodama, Hikosaku Yanagishima
 Paperback: 128 Pages (2009)

Asin: B003X657JW
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Text in English and Japanese, with both Kana and Romaji text of poems along with the English translations. There are also some poems in Chinese with English translations. Black and white illustrations ... Read more

18. The Japanese Inn Ryokan: A Gateway to Traditional Japan
by Edward Shufunotomo
 Hardcover: 80 Pages (1994-05)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$12.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 407975227X
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19. Kristian Ryokan
Hardcover: 132 Pages (2007-09-10)
-- used & new: US$76.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1900829215
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20. Ryokan
by Gabriele Fahr-Becker
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2005-05-31)

Isbn: 3833112220
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