Sunday, April 29, 2012

Haiku About The "Real" Japan

(From "The Japan Times", written by Colin Jones, who teaches at Doshisha University --- big thanks to Eric Kimura for sending them)
- - - - - - - - - -
You want a lawyer?
But without confessing first?
"Very difficult" 
- - - - - - - - - -
Sunrise — ohayo!
Here's your breakfast, clean undies
The hanging's today
- - - - - - - - - -
Can't see your children
Judge too busy to see his
You see the problem?
- - - - - - - - - -
Cops went to onsen
Before checking out stalker
Oops! New mascot time
- - - - - - - - - -
It's not gambling
Pachinko is just for fun
Do you need a loan?
- - - - - - - - - -
Supreme court ruling:
"Plaintiffs claims legitimate"
They're old by now, too
- - - - - - - - - -
"Lifetime employment"
Is no longer viable
(bureaucrats aside)
- - - - - - - - - -
Mandates to teachers:
Sing imperial anthem
Teach about freedom
- - - - - - - - - -
Non-Japanese folk
Have constitutional rights
Except when they don't
- - - - - - - - - -
Presumed innocent
Suspects are detained for months
They might destroy proof
- - - - - - - - - -
Random card checking
Fingerprints at the airport
Yokoso Japan!
- - - - - - - - - -
Japanese culture
Lawsuits disfavored by "wa"
Also, they're futile
- - - - - - - - - -
Record questioning?!
How could cops gain suspect's trust?!
Or, uh, threaten them?
- - - - - - - - - -
Ministry old boy
Drove your pension off a cliff
- - - - - - - - - -
Barred from the hot springs
for invisible tattoo
It says "foreigner"
- - - - - - - - - -
Notice on bus stop
"On alert for terrorists"
What are they smoking?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Golden Week

Friday night, the "long weekend" begins,
And the tribe moves as one,
Massively, in search of leisure,
They fly and drive, ride and run,
Clogging roads,
Blocking the sun,
The tribe's diaspora to places of fun,
Is an unstoppable force
Which doesn't quit till it's done...

Springtime At The DIY Store

Reacting to an instinctive
Vernal urge,
Into the garden shop
The customers surge...

Urbanites channel
Rural dreams,
Tomato plants flow out
The doors in streams...

Reader's Revolt

Temporary peace of mind
Is an unread newspaper,
Not that ignorance is bliss,
It's just sweet knowing
The bullshit you miss.

A Viking Battle

Heavy and splintered is the shield I heft,
But it still holds, as does our battle line,
Each man protecting the one to his left,
Scrum-pushing into our bloody foes,
Spears thrust over, swords stab under
The clashing shield-wall, and those
Who tire, fall back to puke and bleed,
Replaced by others who press into
The cruel fight where brute force or speed
Of movement, perhaps a fool's luck,
Are the difference between standing
Up afterwards to view victory's carnage,
Or resting in torn pieces on death's landing...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Endless Jobs And Errands

The minute I sit down to relax
The ideas swarm, reminders
Of things to be done, they attack
My peace, which deserves a kinder
Quieter fate, than this sleepless,
Too-much-on-my-plate state
Of things uncompleted, and weep-less
I am, I cannot cry... There's bills,
Taxes, and other IOUs to pay,
Return the favors, cure the ills,
Day after day after day after day...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hesperia, April 2012

Gathered in the high
Desert, at an oasis
Of love, under a gentle sky,
We watch the vows
Exchanged, promises made,
As the sun lengthened
Shadows and shade,
We celebrate the
Consumated romance,
The music starts,
It's time to dance...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Calm Before The Storm

The Cabernet Sauvignon is settling
Into my system and preparing
The stage for a reckoning
Strict in the morning, yet sparing
That part of me which refuses
To remain sober, singing, swearing
That it's the damn moment itself
Lived and tasted, which counts
For everything that wine-soaked
Inspiration offers, in amounts
Strong enough to spur the laughter,
And what may follow thereafter...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Element Of Surprise

Something you never expect to see...
Hard to explain, odd, unusual,
Is what makes life special, especially
When you're stuck in a series
Of rut-dull days, inexorably
Plodding toward nothing special...
And that's when, it seems to me,
The glimpse of a dinosaur in a
Neighbor's yard, can set you free...
Never mind that it's plastic,
The minor shock, the incongruity,
The element of the fantastic,
Marks your soul, briefly, but indelibly...

(Photo by Geoff Hamilton)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Journey

Now that we have linked our hearts
Together, along with our hands,
Possessions and hopes, our journey starts...
And it's not a trip to distant lands,
Where we will go, instead we will hold
Each other close, in love, and travel
From our youth to when we're old,
Sheltering each other from the rain
Along the way, keeping each other warm,
Sharing dreams and soothing pain,
Step-by-step and day-by-day,
We will grow the thing called "Us",
On our journey together, starting today.

(Dedicated to Matt and Erica Jones)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thanks To Java

Few things better serve
To clear the bats
Out of the belfry
Than Sumatran Reserve


The alarm was properly set,
But alas, the time was not,
Left on a different zone,
From a long trip I forgot...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tough Week

Whoosh! There goes Monday.
Tuesday's passage a whir
Wednesday already upon me
It's all too fast, a blur...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pyongyang Delight

Fear, launched
Into an April sky,
North Korean rocket.
- - - - - - - - - -
Choreographed joy
"It's him! It's him!"
One hundred thousand as one,
Greeting young Kim.
- - - - - - - - - -
A sign of hope spreading
Across the Hermit Kingdom,
Chinese cell phones.
- - - - - - - - - -
North Korean pride
Dynastic preservation
Lots of skipped lunches
- - - - - - - - - -
Immature, fashion-challenged,
Overweight with bad haircut,
But in charge of nuclear weapons...

School's Out?

I wonder sometimes if I no longer learn...
Was this a choice I made, now forgotten,
An unconscious decision to stop and turn
Away from putting new things in my head
Because it's too crowded with the day-to-day
Mundane junk of habit, instead
Of unshuttering, opening the aperture
To a banquet of new ideas and facts,
Which would nourish my soul, I'm sure...

Bring Back The Draft

Bored young men with knives
Disturb the peace
And threaten lives,
Better that they are the ones
Who don uniforms
And train with guns,
Form armies to shoot and defend,
Against all enemies,
Until their end.

First Thing In The Morning

Cuppa coffee is a good way
To jump-start your day,
But then there's the rough
Times, with not enough
Hope, bitter and tough,
That's when it's handy
To spike your cup with brandy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sakura Time

Cherry blossoms fall
In the strong Siberian breeze,
To an outsider all
It looks like, all he sees,
Is a white-pink snow
Storm, dropping from the trees,
But it's the transience of
Life, when seen by Japanese...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bertrand Russell

1. Boredom is... a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.

2. Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame.

3. Drunkenness is temporary suicide.

4. It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

5. One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

6. One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

7. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

8. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.

9. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

10. With the introduction of agriculture mankind entered upon a long period of meanness, misery, and madness, from which they are only now being freed by the beneficent operation of the machine.


A low-pressure system sweeping
Down from Korea, causes traffic
Chaos with the trains, keeping
Me from going to a meeting
Which I didn't want to attend
And therefore proves that weather
Can sometimes be man's best friend.