I have lifted my title from Yoshida no Kaneyoshi, better known as “Kenko,” the fourteenth-century Japanese Buddhist recluse and bonze. At a time when the Emperor Go-Daigo was struggling with the usurping Hojo family, and the world about him was in flames, Kenko retired to a cottage in the hills. Armed with brush, and apparently some quantity of paper, he wrote down anecdotes and reflections on many subjects, just as they came to mind. He then “posted” these, or rather pasted them on his walls, in no particular order.

I might refer the interested reader to the original text, collected and edited by Nishio Minoru in the Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei series (Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten, 1957). But as I myself read hardly a word of Japanese, I tend to refer to the translation by Donald Keene.