Every year at Sakura time the Swedish Chamber of Commerce holds its yearly Haiku competition in the beautiful gardens of the Happoen.
We are lucky to have an ambassador with a keen interest in Japanese literature and also a fantastic grasp of the Japanese language.
I myself have been a student of Japanese since I was 17 years and an exchange student in Izumi-Sano Osaka. The language is amazingly rich and it is almost impossible to say that you have really mastered it. At some stage you also reach that point of diminishing return where putting in more hours just does not give all that much.
So I take this competition as a great opportunity to study a bit more of this language which I have come to love and at the same time hate as it is with all things that take up a large part of your life.
I like witty, clever Haiku rather than the classic beauty style so always try and find a topic which is of the times and end it with a twist. Wordplay is also something that is appreciated and which I try to incorporate to the full extent.
It is nearly impossible to translate Haiku. You can write it in English of course but since Japanese is phonetic the wordplay and allegories often get lost when you try to turn it into another language.
But here is 2014′s version
“Orders from the Diet”
Only ascetics can live on spring mist
Eat before we raise your taxes
The wordplay in the Japanese version is on Abe having drunk 3 bottles of Sake and telling us “not to eat politicians”
As VAT is being raised from 5% to 8% I thought this might be fitting.