The Basho Project

This week, we will be looking closely at what Basho found in the stops that he made on his journey which inspired his most famous work, Narrow Road to the Deep North.There are several reasons we are doing this¾

  • to see where Basho visited from the geographic eyes of Place.

  • to understand Basho as a man who was changed by the places he visited.

  • to discover how Basho wrote what he saw and felt in a poetic form.

Finally, you will write haiku based on what you found about the place Basho visited and about Basho himself. Some of the haiku will follow the 5-7-5 form while some of the haiku will use the more modern English form. How we will do this is on The Nature of Haiku link above.

Where Is the Information?

After reading the Basho biography first, you are going to be diving into a fine web site, Narrow Road to the Deep North, from the University of Oregon. It is all about his journey, and by digging like little haiku hounds, you will find the answers you seek. Each one of the haiku pairs will be assigned a specific rest stop on which to focus. This stop will help your pair find out information on the four things you need to know. The class will be using the web site, haiku books and other haiku sites. 


Ishinomaki (22)


Daishoji (38)

Divya- Elizabeth

Natadra (37)


Nasu (6)

Rebecca- Birke



Sesshoseki (9)


Sendai (18)


Satoshoji (14)

Brandon - Sam

Kisagata (32)


Kasajima (16)





How Are We Going to Do It?

Each day, in class, we will focus on one particular part of the assignment. For the Place section, the pairs will look closely at the different aspects of the human side of Place and the natural side of Place found in their rest stop. The natural side covers such items as climate, vegetation, animals, landforms and vegetation. The human side covers items such as language, buildings, culture, and government. This is done by paying close attention to the pictures, graphics and to the text of the web page.

Basho’s poems often show his mood and feelings that he had when he was in a certain area. You and your partner will look at each poem and make a prediction as to how he was feeling. Also, in the site, there is a discussion page and a glossary that will give clues. These are written on an adult level and will not be used a lot. However, you can go into them and pick out what you are able to. Too, if you have the time and can grab one of your parents to read it with you, that is just dandy.

For each section, you take down key ideas on sticky note pads. After a certain part of researching is done, then the sticky notes will be sorted so that the most important and interesting ideas, come first. This is what your typed paragraph will be made from. You will proof, edit and bring a first draft to me. Then, I will add my comments and you will make the changes on the computer before we go on. Through this all, all of you will be writing your own haiku following the two forms. You two favorite haiku of each person will also be included on your paper. To see the thinking behind the haiku forms we will use please click on The Nature of Haiku page

This is going to be the first major writing, Place, and Bunka assignment we have this year and should last about three weeks to get all finished. The finished work will receive several grades. These will be in a rubric form that will go with what you have done and then will be published and posted by the office by the time Tim Myers comes for his author visit on November 21st.

The Basho Project Paragraph Outlines

This is it for homework for the week of October 14th

This week, we will be working both in school and at home on the Basho paragraphs. Last week, we did a great amount of reading, researching and notetaking on sticky tabs. Now we will take those notes and produce quality paragraphs following the writing process. At school, we will be  doing the introductory paragraph and the closing paragraph. At home, you will be doing the rough drafts for one of the two Basho pair paragraphs, depending on what paragraph you were assigned. You will also be writing two haikus.

Tuesday: The rough draft for the Basho paragraph will be homework. The brainstorm sheet, with your comments in the order that you think is best and details that you added from your sources, will come home with you today. This will help you think through what you want to say. Type it on your computer. Save it on your C drive. Print it at home and save it to the floppy. Then, email me your work. My email is (Ask your folks how to do an attachment. This is best but if that doesn't work, go for the straight e-mail.) I will transfer the work to the correct folder at school. Be sure to bring the floppy and the print to school with you on Tuesday.

Wednesday: The rough draft for the Basho haikus will be done. Save your haikus just like you did the paragraphs. You will get to take the floppy home on Tuesday with the corrections you have already made.

Thursday: You will be taking home any leftover correction work you need on your Basho paragraph or your haikus. Clean up, addition of pictures and final printing happens on Friday. I put up the display board on Saturday. PHEW! The following week, I will post your work on the web for everyone to see.

There is no time to forget anything! Bring back your floppies!

It is definitely time to be "rammy" ;.>

The outline for the Place paragraph. This is where you explain Place and then what kind of place Basho visited at his station.

  • Give an opening sentence about what Place is.

  • Give an idea of the Nature things we look at.

  • Give an idea of the Human things we look at.

  • Say again the general personality of the "Place" Basho visited.

  • Give proof of the Nature part.

  • Give proof of the Human part.

  • Then, sum it up by reflecting how you would have felt if you were Basho and went here.

The outline for Basho as man paragraph. This is where you explain the kind of man Basho was and how he reacted to the station he visited.

  • Give opening sentences about who Basho was and why he was important to Japanese history.

  • Then, tell what kind of man he was with proof. At least four good sentences.

  • Then, tell why he went on his journey. Two sentences.

  • Finally, look at the station you were assigned. Give examples of what he learned, or what you found out about how Basho thought from the station.

  • Finally, if you met Basho today, do you think you would like him or not. Explain.

The haiku outlines. You will have a chance to sit with either people in the Basho group or in the Place group on Wednesday to brainstorm as many observations as you can about Basho following the haiku form that we have learned. This will give you ideas for how to write your two rough haikus that you will bring in on Thursday. Remember…go backwards, no sentences and cut out all the extra words. (You don't have to follow the 5-7-5.)

  • 3. The big overall "wow" impression you either had about the station or about Basho himself.

  • 2. Observation from one of the senses list that supports your wow impression.

  • 1. An observation from one of the other senses that supports # 2.

  • Think of a title.

Basho Content Score

This was taken directly from the instructions from the beginning of the project.

Place Score- Human ___________________

  • Opening: who Basho was and why important (2) ________
  • Character: kind of man he was with proof. (8) ________
  • Journey: rational (2) ________
  • Station: what he learned and how he thought (8) ________
  • Today: like him or not and explain (2) ________

√+ 22 to 19 √ 18 to 12 √- 11 or below _________

Place Score- Place _____________________

  • Opening: what Place is (2) ________
  • Sections: Nature things and Human things (8) ________
  • Personality: Of the station (2) ________
  • Station: proof of Nature and proof of Human (8) ________
  • Today: If you were Basho and went there (2) ________

√+ 22 to 19 √ 18 to 12 √- 11 or below _________

 Haiku ___________________ 

  • wow observation (1) ______
  • two senses mentioned (2) ______
  • connected to station (2) ______
  • beauty of words (2) ______

√+ 7 √ 6 to 5 √ 4 or below ________ √


Page written and maintained by Bridgette Fincher

Saturday, August 18, 2007