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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

Suddenly

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.

Don’t miss The Last Tea Bowl Thief!

“Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and CLIMB

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not…read more

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

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!

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

  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.

    • 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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