What we carry

Although Matsuo Bashō never walked the Shikoku pilgrimage, his long, circular, walking journeys, do place him squarely in the tradition of Japan’s holy wanderers. As an artist myself, I love how his list of ‘necessities’ includes inkstone, brush, and writing paper, just as mine includes camera and film…

“I threw away quite a number of things, for I believed in travelling light. There were certain things, however, I had to carry on my back–such as a raincoat, and overcoat, an inkstone, a brush, writing paper, medicine, a lunch basket–and these constituted quite a load for me. I made such slow progress that I felt deeply depressed as I walked along with faltering steps, giving as much power as I could to my trembling knees.”

From “The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches” by Matsuo Bashō, translation by Nobuyuki Yuasa (p81)


Citation: Matsuo, Bashō. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Other Travel Sketches. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966. Print.

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