Wandering the grounds at Hikone Castle, I came across this curious little box on a post. It had cards, it had a writing shelf, it had a slot for depositing the cards after one had used the writing shelf. I couldn’t read the kanji on the front. What was it? A suggestion box? Why would they put a suggestion box in the middle of Hikone Castle?
“Hi, I think the castle would look more cheery if you painted it a nice buttercup yellow”?
“Why aren’t there any ninjas? You should have ninjas.”?
“It would be a big improvement if you sold hot dogs.”
I snapped a picture and studied it later. It actually says:
THROW DOWN A POEM BOX
Throw down a poem? No way! But guess what? That’s what Japanese tourists did before there were cameras! They’d journey to a famous destination and dash off a poem to capture the moment instead of clicking a forty-six megapixel snapshot. And amazingly enough, haiku clubs STILL pen their way around Japan chewing their pencils and jotting down their impressions of famous waterfalls, temples, whirlpools, you-name-it. I actually encountered a group like that at a temple café the next day, all sitting around a table with their green tea and sweets, taking turns reading their poems out loud!
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had
8 thoughts on “Break Glass In Case Of Poetry”
I think I will throw down a poem:
The text on your blog
Is too small for my old eyes
Could you make it big?
Your wish is my command! Is it better now? ^_^
It doesn’t seem to have changed…
Wah, I tried, but it won’t let me make it any bigger than this! ( ; _ ; )
Press control and plus
If you are on a desktop.
Tell me, did it work?
Yes! Control, shift, plus. Magic. Thanks!
Oh, I’d like to read what people wrote!
Me too! I was very curious about what they’d say about an old castle. Probably more interesting than the ones about waterfalls. Too bad they were all inside the box!