Nanao Sakaki Memorial Page
Nanao Sakaki has died in Japan
from Andrew Main
1-02-09 - Our dear old friend and natural Zen man Nanao Sakaki departed this world on the Winter Solstice, in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, where he was living in an isolated cabin in the mountains near friends.
I first heard this news a few days ago, then got a forwarded email with some photos (below) from another friend. Last time I saw Nanao was when he passed through Santa Fe sometime in the mid (late?) 90s; he did a reading at Willem Malten's Cloud Cliff restaurant (now closed, though Willem's still baking bread to sell at the Farmers Market). Though I never knew him well, he always greeted me as a friend. Now I think of it, he was a pretty good exemplar of something I'm always wondering about: How to live a sane life in an insane world?
Today (1 January 42009) would have been his 86th birthday; my Chinese Astrology book says of those born in the Water Dog year: "An intuitive type of Dog, who will be difficult to lead astray. ... the Water Dog will be fluid in expressing himself. He is fated also to have a large circle of friends and his company will be much sought after."
An Internet search turns up several announcements and many reminiscences:
Announcement at the Allen Ginsberg website with a note from Gary Snyder, a lovely photo, and a link to Gary Lawless' weblog ("Nanao breaks the mirror"), with a lot of comments from Nanao's many friends.
Farewell to Nanao Sakakiat "Bob & Margery's Poetry Blog", with a link to a profile of Nanao the poet. "
RIP Nanao Sakaki at another weblog, with a couple of comments.
From Art Predator - with a great photo and Nanao's poem "Break the Mirror."
Congratulations, Nanao! And endless thanks for showing us all how to have fun, anyway! Best wishes, Andrew
Report (with photos, attached) from one of Nanao's friends in Japan:
"23rd morning: Nanao was lately in good shape and in clear mind. Bob brought him his supper last night. This morning when he brought him breakfast he found Nanao dead in front of the house, just beside the portable toilet. Nanao apparently went to have a pee when he lost balance and fell. Doctor who examined him said that Nanao died of heart failure at that time (around 4 am) and probably didn't suffer long.
"Today we washed his body and changed his sheets. We left everything as it was, for decoration there are only his belongings, untouched, as he had them last night: Two backpacks leaning against the wall, few books, deer antlers and binoculars, posters with extinct Pleistocene mammals of Australia and Jurassic fossils of Japan.
"After tomorrow (Thursday 25th Dec) from 4pm on close friends will gather around Nanao for "otsuya" -- the last night byebye party. Next day the 26th afternoon we will accompany Nanao to the burning place in Iida.
"26th: before Nanao started out again, he threw a big party last night for the large family he created -- some hundred people made it for the night to the end of a mountain road in snow. It was as always -- lots of songs, poems, laughter, food, drink... Today we brought him to the town to his burning place."
With some photos:
1995 interview with Nanao Sakaki by Peter Warshall (from Whole Earth
Cuke interview with Nanao Sakaki.
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