Matsuo Bashō in Spanish Summer

Pinos del Valle, Andalucia, Spain. June 2022. Photo by me.

Alexis and I are currently pet-sitting in the south of Spain. Watching him jump in the communal swimming pool made me want to write a haiku.

Alexis jumping in the communal swimming pool, Pinos del Valle, Spain, July 2022. Photo by me.
Splash. Pinos del Valle, July 2022. Photo by me.

As I’m learning and improving my Japanese, I thought it might be fun to try to write it in Japanese.

Here is the haiku:

プールの日 :

Romaji pronunciation:

Pūru no hi: 

Arekushi janpu

Mizu shibuki

Translation in English:

Pool day:

Alexis jumps



It’s a parody of Bashō’s Frog haiku. No comment on the fact that Alexis and I are French, and you know the word some British people use to talk about French people.

Frogs in a pond in the Sacromonte museum, Granada, Spain, June 2022. Photo by me.

(furu ike ya /
kawazu tobikomu /
mizu no oto):
 an ancient pond /
a frog jumps in /
the splash of water

Bashō, 1686

I wanted to make it sound and feel different than the original. 

It has foreign loan words and katakanas which match our current situation, abroad, in a temporary home, with the setting of a pool rather than a pond.

It has the the traditional 5-7-5 “on”/(kanas/Japanese syllables) pattern.

The “kigo” (seasonal word) is プール, swimming pool, as it makes us think of summer (the original Frog one was late spring).

Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc, Barcelona. Photo by me with the help of Google Panorama, May 2022.
Alexis in a swimming pool in France. Photo by me, April 2022

For the last “splash”, I’m using the same word as in the Japanese name of “A Bigger Splash”, David Hockney’s painting, since it has a similar feel to me (and magically it has 5 kanas!).  

2D artwork: David Hockney, “A Bigger Splash”, 1967. Copyright: @ David Hockney. Photo: Tate

Japanese haikus also usually have a Kireji or “cutting word”. In English haikus, usually there aren’t any or they are represented by special emphasis words like “How…!” or punctuation marks.

To make the first line fit with the 5 kana rule, to keep the “equivalent” / equation that the original “ya” was implying between the pond and the frog jumping (and that I’m trying to imply with the pool day and Alexis jumping), to be a bit irreverent and in par with the loan words, I’m using the
“: ” punctuation mark in Japanese rather than “ya”.

If you’re interested in Haikus (or not), I highly recommend watching Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, a slice of life anime movie by Kyōhei Ishiguro from 2021, building a burgeoning romance between a haiku writer and an online influencer.

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