Last week I discovered Yamada Zenjido, an artist who pens haiku-like truisms paired with pitch-perfect drawings, and they are SO FUNNY…if you can read handwritten Japanese, that is.
Fortunately, I have a friend who helped me with the more opaque characters (and because no good deed goes unpunished, will be pestered to do so maybe FOREVER), so I can pass a few of these on to you now and bring a little happy embarrassment to your day…
I stop to fix my hair in a window reflection
Then I realize
Someone is watching from the other side.
In the electronics store
I barely touched it, and it died
So I quickly walked on.
The automatic door sensor
Doesn’t seem to be working, even though I tried everything
Oh, you have to push the button.
Those samples look really delicious
I badly want to try one, but that would be uncool
So I pretend I’m not interested.
On a ground floor balcony where everyone can see him
Shouldn’t that old guy be a little
At the designer clothing shop
I’m shocked by the prices
But I put on an “oh, this is usual” face, then quickly leave.
Driving by myself
Singing along to my favorite song,
I realize later that the window was open.
Whenever I wash something
I have to pee.
For the first time
I hear how my voice sounds to other people
And it’s depressing.
If you’re a better kanji reader than I am (and that includes just about everybody and their grandmother) I DEEPLY ENVY YOU because you can see a lot more of these gems if you follow the artist on Twitter (@y_haiku) and/or Instagram (instagram.com/y_haiku/).
Eternal thanks to Hiroyuki Otomo, who helped me understand the peskier characters.
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“Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and CLIMB
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!