Masaoka Shiki, a haiku poet, is often associated with the image of a man lying in bed sick. It is not surprising that Shiki, who was afflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis, spent the last three years of his life in such pain that he could not even turn over in bed, but worked on his creative activities while being relieved with a paralytic drug. It is surprising to hear the episode that he was not only an avid player when baseball was introduced to Japan, but also once used the pseudonym "Baseball (Noboru)" after his own childhood name.
There is nothing at Shiki-an in Negishi, Tokyo, to remind us of his love of baseball. Shiki-an is where Masaoka Shiki lived from 1894 until his death in 1902. Shiki invited his mother and sister from his hometown to live with him in this house, which was apparently a row house for the use of the household of the former Marquis Maeda, and used it as his sickroom, study, and meeting place for haiku and poetry. When you enter the house, you immediately see a writing desk by the window. The house is small for a family of three.
It is said that when Shiki lived here, he could see the Ueno Mountain from the garden, but that was more than 100 years ago. Today, one can only see the house next door, let alone Ueno Mountain, and the surrounding area is a love hotel district. If Shiki Masaoka were alive today, what kind of haiku would he compose at his residence in this love hotel district?
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