a brewer in prague

prague, czech republic
Prague is definitely one of the places where Nanao Sakaki has sown some of his most fertile seeds! He crossed Czech Republic in 1990. On the occasion, together with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Andy Clausen, he was invited by the revolutionary leader and playwright Václav Havel (recently made President of the Republic) to participate in a Czechs’ official celebration. The country who had just emancipated itself from the communist regime. That same year, it was also published the first anthology of Nanao in the Czech language, translated by Jiří Wein.

Nanao reads his poems in Prague in 1990

Václav Havel com Nanao Sakaki e Andy Clausen Václav Havel with Nanao Sakaki and Andy Clausen

But his passage through Czech territory, in a way, is not over yet. In his centennial year, some celebrations are being organized by Nanao's admirers, scholars and friends in the country. On January 1st, the day of his birth, a great tribute in Prague was performed by the members of the Nanao Sakaki Projekt – a collective of poets, actors, musicians and dancers who, since 2011, have been creating works based on his texts.

Check below a video and some photos of Nanao Sakaki Projekt's performance that happened on Nanao's birthday.

The Nanao Sakaki Projekt on stage, January 1, 2023

Nanao's celebrations also merited the release of the 3rd edition of Jít Nalehko…: básně japonského poutníka [Take it easy...: poems of a Japanese pilgrim], with Nanao's poems translated into Czech by Jiří Wein. The book can be purchased on the publisher's website, Dharmagaia.

Now, enjoy a poem that Nanao dedicated to the city that welcomed him and continues to welcome him on his centennial!

(Nanao Sakaki)

Once upon a time
I was a glass cutter in Prague.
That time
They called me Rainer Maria Rilke.

Once upon a time
I was a violinist in Prague.
That time
They called me Franz Kafka.

Once upon a time
I was a flower gardener in Prague.
That time
They called me Karel Capek.

Once upon a time
I was a brewer in Prague.
That time
They called me Nanao Sakaki.