National Poetry Day: The Seashore

It’s National Poetry Day (in Britain). That’s okay. I’ll take any excuse to write haiku.🙂

I hope as you read,  you’ll hear the waves, taste the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes!


 sandpiper dashes
down to the sea and back
view from my hammock


14522816_10208577950499894_2794564749405966620_nthe sea foam vanquished
to quiet passing currents
now I’m an old man
~Steve Vanek






 A kiss by the sea
Only us in that moment
A seagull cries



Seagulls wait and watch
Anticipate tossed morsels
Each cries, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Nature, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments


One of best parts about being a grandma is seeing the world through my grandchildren’s eyes. Today, I watched leaves with Allie, and wondered what she was thinking as she stared up in wonder.

Green stars sparkle with
light so bright it makes me blink
Grandma calls them leaves




Posted in Allie, Life, Love, Nature | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday, Mom


4. Grandma the beauty - 15April 28 is my mom’s birthday. Today, she would have been 81 years old. It’s only the second birthday she hasn’t been with us, and still, I feel that split second urge to call her to say “Happy birthday.”

I try to cherish that split second, for it’s in that tiny moment that I feel she’s still with us.

I wrote a tanka for my mom’s birthday today. Since I still feel her with me, I hope she likes it.

Happy birthday, Mom.
I miss you every day.
But you’re still with me.
For in my reflection I
See you smiling back at me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Life, Love | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Nisei, Sansei

In the last thirteen months, I’ve lost my mother and two uncles. Yesterday, I learned from my cousin that my Uncle Cold Outside (here’s how he got that name) passed away, the last member of the Sasaki Nisei generation.

May they all rest in peace, and may the Sasaki Sansei generation keep them alive in our stories and traditions.


the last Sasaki
proud Nisei generation
lives on in Sansei

Posted in Life, Love | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

All Perfect

IMG_6568I’ve been looking forward to giving a workshop at Ozarks Writers League on February 21, and have become even more excited as I prepare the PowerPoint presentation. Is it possible for us to inspire ourselves?🙂

The workshop is titled “The Perfect Haiku,” and I must admit, initially I shuddered at the title. I’ll explain why in my workshop.

With the start of a full time job, I haven’t spent much time writing haiku, (or writing much of anything else for that matter!) in the six months since I began working. But this morning, as I perused this blog for examples of haiku to use in my presentation, I felt as though I’d visited an old friend.

So many memories captured in these haiku, and the seventeen syllables of each takes me back to what I experienced as I wrote them.

This morning, I wrote a new haiku to describe the feeling:

I open the door
to a room full of memories
good morning, old friend

If you’re in the Branson area on Saturday, February 21, I’d love for you to join me. We’ll learn about some of the haiku masters, and I’ve got lots of writing prompts to inspire you to write and share the power of your seventeen syllables.

Click HERE for more information.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Man’s Best Friend

My brother lost his best friend a few days ago, a friend who was by his side every moment for fifteen years–when he walked to the mailbox, cooked dinner, tinkered with his car, swam in the pool, slept at night.


And so, when he texted me that Chance was gone, I cried with him. Not only for his loss, but for the memory of losing my two best friends, Jubie and Bear–not to death, but to divorce.

Jubie and Bear2

So I wrote this haiku, for sweet Chance, and all the dogs we’ve loved and lost.

Rest well, dear friend
By my side so many years
My heart lost its wag


Posted in Animals, Life, Love | Tagged , , | 6 Comments



I once loved an alcoholic. In our relationship, I thought of alcoholism as an 800 lb gorilla in the room–rarely acknowledged, but always, always lurking. In the end, when alcoholism took his life, I called it a vampire.

More than a decade ago, when the vampire sucked the life from our relationship, I wrote this haiku:

he chose instead of my heart
love’s glass is empty

This morning, months after his death, this haiku came to my mind:

the stream
became a raging river
that drowned him


Steve has had a lot of experience with alcoholics, both professionally and personally. He wrote a couple of haiku after reading this post:

back to the garden
that sweet intoxication
ended with a shot


just one more
never enough, death by

Posted in Life, Love | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Last Dances

One of my favorite things about autumn is watching leaves dance in the wind, swirling, spinning, drifting, until they gently touch their final resting place.

golden leaves

Posted in Nature | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival

If you’re in the Kansas City area, come experience a little Japanese culture. Best of all, share your haiku!

Jan Morrill Writes


I’m excited to head north to Kansas City this weekend for the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival. The festival is organized by a group of friendly, dedicated people and I look forward to seeing them again.

This will be the second year I’ve had the opportunity to attend the festival to talk about my book, The Red Kimono and the history of the Japanese American internment.

This year, I will be giving an additional workshop on writing haiku, a poetry form I enjoy writing to describe life, as I did in my book, Life: Haiku by Haiku. The following slide from my presentation spotlights a few haiku from one of the masters:

basho haiku

The workshop will also have a haiku exercise–my favorite part, because I get to hear the magical seventeen-syllable stories of the attendees.

This year, in conjunction with the workshop, the festival sponsored a haiku contest. We…

View original post 127 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Write Anywhere #79: Japanese Friendship Garden

Kristin Nador has posted some beautiful photographs of a Japanese garden. More importantly, she’s written some beautiful haiku!

kristin nador writes anywhere

by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador

Walking and I have been having an epic struggle lately.

I enjoy walks outside. A stroll around the neighborhood, a paced walk around a track for some intentional sweating, or a gentle hike in the woods all suit me fine.

My foot and ankle haven’t agreed with that assessment at all. They protest in pain, refusing to participate in the simplest activities. Foot and Ankle were forced into an intervention with a podiatrist, and now after some painful injections and custom orthotics, foot is about 85% better. Ankle is still questionable, with MRI results pending, but much better than before.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can take very short walks without aggravating the healing process. We have nice sidewalks in our apartment complex, but once you’ve walked around a building a few times, it’s time for more interesting views. I found the perfect spot…

View original post 553 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment