The Japanese Tanka poem has a syllable pattern of 5 7 5 7 7, like an expanded haiku, if you will.  They focus on capturing a certain mood, like small "slices of life".  In my case, they're mostly about school and being tired and wanting to goof off.


忙しすぎて   ねたいだけ
明日も同じ   疲れる私

hi no owari
isogashi sugite   netai dake
ashita mo onaji tsukareru watashi

end of the day
too busy   only want to sleep
tomorrow also the same tired me


今、夜中   クラスの本を読みつつも
眠りと戦う   終わり見えず

ima, yonaka   KURASU no hon wo yomi tsutsumo
nemuri to tatakau   owari miezu

middle of the night   reading a book for class
fighting with sleep   no end in sight



gogo uchi ni kaetta ato de
GEEMU shite
kono shukudai wo wasureta you

after coming home in the afternoon
I play games
as if I've forgotten this homework



kyoushitsu no kurayami ni ite
sensei wa mada oshieteru
watashi wa neteru

in the darkness of the classroom
the teacher is still teaching
I am sleeping


雨の中   散歩している

ame no naka   sanpo shiteiru
mada saiteiru hana wa watashi ni yorisou you

in the rain   taking a walk
the flowers still blooming seem to keep me company


- April 16, 2002




These tanka came out so much better than the haiku we wrote last year in Japanese class.  I don't know whether it's because my Japanese has improved that much in one year or whether I was just better able to "get" the idea of expressing an emotion or whether the longer form is simply easier.