What is the significance of nature in The Narrow Road to the Deep North?

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Nature is hugely significant in this fascinating story, as it is one of the main driving forces behind our protagonist's journey through Japan. This reflective and poetic diary documents the travels of Matsuo Basho, also known as Matsuo Munefusa.

These travels take place in the remote, northern regions...

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Nature is hugely significant in this fascinating story, as it is one of the main driving forces behind our protagonist's journey through Japan. This reflective and poetic diary documents the travels of Matsuo Basho, also known as Matsuo Munefusa.

These travels take place in the remote, northern regions of Japan. His diary entries record sightings of beautiful mountains, rivers and unforgettable scenery. The journey began in 1689, when Basho sold his home and headed out on his journey on foot. Together with his travel companion, Kawai Sora, he visits a wide range of natural landmarks. Notable among these are the famous willow tree at Ashino and a famous stone called the Tsubo Stone near Ichikawa.

Basho uses a unique blend of haiku and prose to depict beauty in an unprecedented and hauntingly beautiful manner. His haikus depict a wide array of nature scenes, such as the changing of the seasons, the beauty of waterfalls, and the smell of rain, to mention a few. Being a Zen Buddhist, Basho searches for spiritual enlightenment. Based on his haikus, he appears to find this in nature.

The manner in which Basho describes the natural world, both in prose and in haiku, makes it come alive for the reader. His writing transforms reading into a spiritual experience.

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