Haiku that capture the small embarrassments and ironies of modern life

Yamada Zenjido (known on Twitter and Instagram as y_haiku) is a Japanese artist who pens haiku-like truisms paired with pitch-perfect drawings, and they are hella funny…if you read Japanese. A few translations, to brighten your day…

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Elderly uncle buying sake.
Do I really have to
Check his ID?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Why does the dirty rice cooker
always hide
until the dishes are done?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

At the designer clothing shop
I’m shocked by the prices
But I put on an “oh, this is usual” face, then quickly leave

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Why does someone
always try to draw
Doraemon?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Why does my phone
fall into the one place
it’s impossible to reach?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Driving by myself
singing along to my favorite song,
I realize later the window was open.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

In the electronics store
I barely touched it, and it died
so I quickly walked on.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

This odd store.
I’ve never seen a customer here,
yet, it survives.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Why I can never make it look
like I remembered to take the photo
before my first bite?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

The forecast changes
to match the weather.
Sneaky.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Two years later,
why did someone push
the like button?

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

I stop to fix my hair in a window reflection
then I realize
someone is watching from the other side.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Miso soup
drunk from a glass
doesn’t taste right.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Missed subway stop
I get off at the next one
pretending it’s mine.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Why was my prayer
so much shorter?
How embarrassing.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

For the first time
I hear how my voice sounds to other people.
It’s depressing.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

At the restaurant soda bar
there’s always one guy
who can’t resist mixing them.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Still annoyed
when the pirated wifi
cuts out.

y_haiku illustration and modern haiku poem written in Japanese

Filling up the coffeemaker
next to a toilet
just feels wrong.

I hoped you enjoyed these—here’s where you can follow y_haiku on Twitter and Instagram!

Click here for more Why, Japan, Why? posts

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

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