On Ishikawa Takuboku’s Sandy White Shore


The weather is fine, so I set off for a walk from Takuboku Memorial Park toward Mount Hakodate, treading the sands of Ōmorihama Beach. The familiar smells of konbu, squid, and sea urchin mingle in the sea air. Taking in the scenery, I am startled to discover a white-walled building standing on the shore, gleaming in the sun like the whitewashed houses on the Greek island of Mykonos. To come across such a view in Hakodate is surprising, to say the least.

Exterior of Luluwdy. (2009)
Exterior of Luluwdy. (2009)

The chalk-colored structure turns out to be the hair and makeup salon Luluwdy, the name purportedly taken from the Greek word for “flower.” Staring, I wonder to myself whether the purveyor would offer even a graying fellow like myself a trim. Imagining what the stylish interior must be like, I am hesitant to go inside.

From Luluwdy’s roof.
From Luluwdy’s roof.

Ōmorihama Beach is also where poet Ishikawa Takuboku composed the works that make up the collection A Handful of Sand.

Love Song to Myself
On the sandy white shore
of an islet in the eastern sea,
damp with my own tears,
I sport with the tiny crabs

Those I Cannot Forget
Oh beach rose
on the northern shore
atop the dunes in salty air!
Are you in bloom again this year?

Ōmorihama Beach.
Ōmorihama Beach.

Amid the crash of waves on the beach, I hear Takuboku muttering: The tiny crabs still crawl around my feet, but those dunes are long gone. And what is that white building over there? Is this a beach on the Aegean Sea? If so, how am I to sing of the shores on an eastern islet? This calls for some deliberation . . .

Takuboku, thinking about . . . what? (Takuboku Memorial Park, 2020)
Takuboku, thinking about . . . what? (Takuboku Memorial Park, 2020)

Takuboku Memorial Park

Getting there: 1 minute on foot from Takuboku Memorial Park bus stop

(Click to see map)

(Originally published in Japanese.)

tourism Hokkaidō Hakodate photography Northern Japan in Black and White