One of Japan's most gifted poets, Hosai Ozaki started out as an insurance salesman, but alcohol and despair finally led him to a small Buddhist temple on an island off Shikoku in southern Japan. There he spent his remaining days doing simple chores, subsisting on a diet of toasted rice and water, and writing about loneliness and poverty.
Hosai's great gift was his ability to place himself at a slight distance from existence and observe with a razor-sharp awareness the everyday objects that inhabit our world: doorways, shadows, leaves, food containers, the fingers on a hand. The effect is magical and disturbing.
Also here are Hosai's prose pieces from "On Entering a Temple House," which meditate on his past, on the workings of his mind, and on the sounds, smells, and views outside his temple window.
Written by Hosai Ozaki.