Hilarious Haiku About The Small Embarrassments Of Modern Life

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

Less relaxed?

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.

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

5 thoughts on “Hilarious Haiku About The Small Embarrassments Of Modern Life

  1. These are great, Jonelle. Thanks for sharing. I’m at least as kanji handicapped as you so never would have know. Love the combination of the samurai dude with the modern stuff like auto door openers and karaoke machines.

    1. These are amazing, aren’t they? And he’s made TONS of them. If only I could read better (gnashing teeth) I’d be able to translate them faster and share them!

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