urine smell


Smell of urine

***** Location: Kenya
***** Season: Hot dry season
***** Category: Humanity


The smell of urine can qualify as a hot dry season kigo since this season, between December and March, makes the smell more concentrated, hence the very pervasive pungent smell.

There is a notorious urine spot in Nairobi's otherwise impeccable city centre. It is along Moi Avenue in the flowerbeds, particularly behind the lone wild palm tree. There is a zebra crossing right there and a bus park for Route 34 before the flowerbeds. Now, sometimes when the buses are so closely parked, the urinating goes on even in broad daylight between or behind the buses. But most of the polluters are the nocturnal revellers who come of the nightclubs such as Florida 2000, Samba and several others along the street.

Patrick Wafula

Haile Selassie Avenue with its
bougainvillea hedge running down the centre

Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


Urine smell should only be used as a kigo under certain circumstances, that is when it emanates from places where we do not normally expect it, but which at times are used by dissenting pedestrians or nocturnal city revellers. Due to too much heat at this time of year, its components tend to dry, leaving a concentrated pungent smell to roam the air.
When the rains set in, they will wash the urine along with its torrents, hence we expect little of that bad smell.

Andrew Otinga


In Nairobi city centre during the peak of the hot dry season, the smell of urine can hit the pedestrian in places where this does not normally happen. This is of course due to the constantly dry weather. All those hidden corners that have been used secretly by men to urinate in, have not been washed clean by the rain, and so, the smell develops and hits the nostrils.

And so, the "smell of urine" can be a kigo for the hot dry season.

It is important to note though that, as the great majority of Kenyans use pit latrines, it is almost impossible, at any time of year, to eliminate the smell of urine from those parts of the city and the country where pit latrines are in use, but not ventilated and kept entirely clean.

Even so, the smell of urine is stronger, more frequent, more present, in the hot dry season. The kigo focuses on just the smell -- especially if this smell is found in places that one would not normally expect to smell of urine...

Isabelle Prondzynski

Worldwide use

The smell of urine seems to be a topic in other parts of the world.


. Pissing (shooben 小便) .

ichinaka wa mono no nioi ya natsu no tsuki

Throughout the town
above the welter of smelly things
the summer moon

Bonchoo, Tr. Miner

how hot it is, how hot it is
says a voice at every house gate

Basho, Tr. Miner

Discussion by Larry Bole

Things found on the way

Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines (VIP Latrines)
do not smell. They have a small pipe or funnel taking the odours from the pit, so that this smells perfectly clean provided it is kept clean by the owner.

Freshly built VIP Latrine
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


city centre --
the smell of urine
meets my nose

Busy city centre, Nairobi

Haiku and photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


blocked urinal --
he holds his nose

Sylvester Mutuku

- Kenya Haiku with Urinal -

- Kenya Haiku with Urine -

Related words

***** . Pissing (shooben 小便) .


No comments: