Haiku, Japan, Minimal, Writing

Introduction to Haiku 101

I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m fond of Japan. I like the country for so many reasons: it differs from other countries in so many ways, it is so well developed technologically, there is an utterly funny sense of humor I’ve witnessed in animes, the cool-looking hieroglyphs they use, and most of all – their unique visual art pieces. One of my dreams is to visit Japan and live there for at least 12 months, for I want to get well acquainted with the characteristics Japanese culture. I’m on the opinion that in order to genuinely experience some new place (city, or in this case, whole country) and its culture, shooting photos of oneself with famous monuments does not suffice.

For instance, if I visit a new destination, I’d much rather take slow walks by myself, because in this way I can observe streets, residents of the city/country walking on the streets, buildings and their facades, plants in the urban environment, stores were people buy products, et cetera, without rushing with an intimidating flock called tour group. I care how people live their lives in their culture, so I can understand how it differs from the one I grew up in.

So if I’m to visit my dream destination, I’d like to experience as much of it as possible, so I gradually try to learn more about it. The first thing to research was their writing system, and was interesting for me to find that Japanese have 3 writing systems – kanji, hiragana and katakana; this put a stop to my wondering why I see only very simple symbols in animes, when in fact, there are hieroglyphs that take more than twenty brush strokes to be drawn.

Later on I remembered there is an interesting form of literature called Haiku. It consists of only three lines, normally each with a word count ranging from three to five (but, of course, there may be less or more words). Haiku is not really literature, but it is a way of expressing a mood or scenery with words. I find it to be quite powerful, because the haiku just tells you what objects/subjects/senses to include, and it’s up to the conscience to draw the picture. The cool thing about it is that based on individual ideas and experiences, people form their unique interpretations, which sometimes differ dramatically from one another.

Almost concurrently with my interest in haiku, I developed an interest in pieces of art, which represent ideas in utterly minimalistic fashion: one such is minimalistic pixel art, which is about creating shapes pixel by pixel that take as small number of pixels as possible. Since I love creating things (at the moment mainly visual art) I decided to give writing haiku a try. I haven’t pushed myself to write a lot of haikus, but have read a decent number in order to get an idea about the structure.

I will post them in my next blog post, because this one will get like an octopus with feet sticking out of its forehead.


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