Sunday, 31 July 2011

Tosa Nikki

Image via Wikimedia
All translations from Ki no Tsurayuki The Tosa Diary (trans. William N. Porter Tuttle Classics, 1981, Boston)
If The Narrow Road to Oku demonstrates the transformative power of travel, the next travelogue I tuned to revealed the very opposite. The Tosa Diary (Tosa Nikki), written by Ki no Tsurayuki in 935 dwells in the grittiness of travel: the tedium and discomfort that can creep into the spaces between moments of excitement and revelation and the frustrations and boredom of a long and potentially dangerous journey. Far from being a disappointment after Bashō’s transcendence, I felt grateful for Tsurayuki’s honesty and refreshed by the way the Tosa Diary revealed the quieter and more human pleasures and annoyances of travel.