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On The Riverbank

Hyoroku, Yoshida Toshi, woodblock print, 1951

“What is called enjoying a summer evening by the river goes on from sunset until the last glimmer of the moon at dawn. Balconies line the river banks for drinking and feasting. Women knot their obi in splendid bows, men come turned out in long cloaks, priests and old gentlemen mingle with the crowd, even young apprentices of coopers and blacksmiths sing and make merry as carefree as can be. Truly a scene of the Capital!

The river breeze…
Out in a thin russet kimono
On a summer evening.”

Basho, quoted in ‘Beauty and Sadness’ by Yasunari Kawabata.

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