The Japanese tradition of Jimi Halloween sees participants celebrate the mundane moments in life from taking a sip of coffee while wearing your face mask to mistaking a plastic bag for a cat or hesitating to board an elevator. You can find more examples here.
For today’s guest, Brent Hagen, this celebrating of the mundane is in the same spirit as senryu. Senryu is a Japanese form similar to haiku but which focuses on human foibles, often in a humorous way. A couple of famous examples are:
Bury me when I die
Beneath a wine barrel In a tavern.
With any luck
The cask will leak.
Morikya Sen-an (d. 1838)
Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house casually
And some by Brent:
aren’t nearly as anxious
as they seem
having to wear glasses
anytime I want
i’ve got impressionism
the color orange
Exercise: Write a spooky senryu
If you try to observe and pay attention to the world around you, you will start to notice the small moments that are celebrated in senryu and Jimi Halloween costumes. Things you hear in conversation and read in the paper can also spark ideas. For Halloween try writing something with a spooky twist, but which is also frightfully mundane. Here’s an example from Brent:
Do you hear that?
We’d love to read your senryu so please share them here for possible inclusion on the blog or on future podcasts.
Brent Hagen is a poet who enjoys teaching English in Tokyo. He has a particular fondness for puns, which he views as haiku on vacation.
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