Japan Culture Week 2012


Japan Culture Week in Nairobi 2012
Invitation to the Haiku Clubs of Nairobi
Date: Thursday, 5 April 2012

The members of the Bamboocha and Peacocks Haiku Clubs had been looking forward to the great day with expectation and excitement. Unlike on other occasions, when the haijin had used public transport, this time the school bus was made available for them. It was one of their smoothest and most enjoyable rides from Kayole to Upper Hill, listening to music and sightseeing. The haijin were 78 students and four teachers.

It was a cloudy morning, and it had rained the previous night. This was the first rain signalling the onset of the long rains, which had come a little late this year.

On arrival at the Embassy, we were warmly and courteously welcomed. The security procedure was elaborate and rigorous, as all items were screened and deposited with the security staff. Both the haijin and teachers were amazed at these rigorous security checks. Mobile phones and cameras were not allowed into the Embassy; no photographs in or around the Embassy were allowed. We were only authorised to take photographs in the Embassy Hall.

The first session was a film about Japan, which highlighted the following areas:

-- education,
-- the economy,
-- culture,
-- international co-operation,
-- industry,
-- technology.

Preparing for the film projection

Session two was origami. It was exciting as the students were taught how to make things of different shapes by folding paper. These things ranged from animals to geometrical shapes. It was amazing to learn that it takes four days to construct a horse! After the demonstration, students were each given six papers and asked to make a cube. It was exciting even to the teachers.

I fold paper
the opposite way --

missing one step --
I assemble a wobbly

~ Patrick Wafula

Origami sheets ready

In the third session, the haijin were taught some Japanese greetings, common phrases and the numbers 1 to10. This was followed by an oral quiz to assess which haijin in the hall had been the most attentive. Most as some of the numbers, it turned out, sound like words in the English language. The haijin enjoyed finding those words and matching them with the numbers to enable them to remember the numbers better.

1: ichi (itchy)
2: ni (knee)
3: san (sun / son)
4. shi / yon: (she / yawn)

Session Four was a Japanese Love and Family Relations Film, which was very much enjoyed by all. It was about a young man called Matsuo and a girl called Izumi, and a restless, ever travelling old man called Tora, who had so many women in his life, but none for a wife, until he met Lily, an aged, but beautiful woman from an island. Izumi was in love with Matsuo, but her parents betrothed her to another man because Matsuo was jobless, but in the end, each of these couples were happily married.

dark room --
the projector’s gentle

Film projection

Lastly the haijin were allowed to tour the library and take a number of photos before boarding their bus and heading back to Eastlands. The rest of the experiences are very personal and are only revealed through the haiku and photos that accompany this write up. All the haiku were written within the Embassy.

The haijin are gratefully indebted to Isabelle Prondzynski, our Moderator, for providing the haijin with transport fare, Otinga Andrew, for organizing the St. Mathew haijin, availing the bus and providing administrative support throughout the excursion; the Japanese Embassy staff, Shemi, David and Susan for taking the haijin through all the exciting events above: David san for a very interesting origami session; Susan san for teaching the haijin Japanese greetings and numbers; and Shemi san for organizing the whole event and inviting us. Last, but not least, the entire Embassy of Japan in Nairobi for their six years of co-operation and support to the Haiku Clubs of Nairobi.

School bus waiting for the return journey


cultural show --
reflected ray from Japanese

~ Caxton Okoth

car park --
our bus enters after
a security check

~ Diana Dolla

rush --
the sliproad overloaded
with vehicles

~ Moses Nyawanga

writing haiku --
her head moves with the
grasshopper's hop

~ Flora Mbayi

origami --
colored papers litter
the grey carpet

security check --
a tweet on leaving
the glass cabinet

~ Brian Etole

origami --
I find it exciting making
colored boxes

learning lesson --
I find it hard pronouncing
Japanese words

dark clouds --
I shiver from light showers and
cool breeze

~ Brian Mulando

slippery floor --
I nearly fall but my friend
catches me

~ Winfridah Malesi

dark clouds --
an eagle flies around
the embassy aerial

~Annabel Mwendwa

dark clouds --
raindrops fall on the
happy haijin

~ John Maina

dark room --
I enjoy a Japanese
comic movie

~ Ezekiel Mbira

the end --
the Japanese movie leaves
me in suspense

~ Dennis Wright

haijins' uproar --
three dolphins dance
on water

coloured cubes
on white tables --

folding --
the yellow paper
gets torn

one bulb after
the other turns on --
roaring generator

~ Andrew Otinga

Andrew Otinga and the origami sheets

we go through
the vigorous screening...
Japan Embassy

~ Jackson Shilaho

origami --
I concentrate on making
my colorful box

~ Metrine Okalo

Japanese embassy --
a warm welcome from
the guards

~ Geoffrey Maina

coloured papers --
I struggle to make
a cube

colorful table --
students display their
finished cubes

lights off --
the start of a Japanese
cultural movie

rain drops --
rythmic mabati sound
lulls her to sleep

~ Elijah Juma

Japanese library --
she is attracted to the left

chilly noon --
trees swaying

~ Marcellina Amunze

upstairs --
he holds a flower

~ Joseph Musango

several folds --
a colourful box on
the table

embassy library --
the books arranged

~ Joshua Kaweto

colourful compound--
flowers nourishes the

~ Agness Ndinda

Japanese Embassy --
the Japanese flag sways
in the breeze

~ Mary Wanjama

a bee sucks nectar
from morning glory --
Embassy wall

rain --
morning dew shining
on the grass

~ Sylvia Mmbone

Japan Embassy --
a paved corridor roofed
with climbing plants

Japanese film --
quiet theatre as we watch
a cultural show

~ Isaac Ndirangu

shuffle of papers
as we make cubes --
silent room

~ Stephen Macharia

Japanese Library --
haijin enjoy Japanese

~ Lucy Mukuhi

jovial faces --
haijin enjoy Japanese

~ Willis Wanga

origami makes
the haijin to think --
calm room

~ Collins Omuganda

noon drizzle --
droplets fall from
a eucalyptus tree

colourful fireworks --
Japanese culture on

~ Eric Mwange

jacaranda tree --
leaves sway from side
to side

~ Irene Aluoch

students tour
the Embassy --
short break

~ Felix Kavayo

Embassy --
such a clean

~ Hillaey Shisoka

dolphins swim
and dance happily --

~ Melvine Ayako

dark room --
cheers after watching
the movie

~ Emmanuel Mutati

Japanese poem --
we understand Japanese

~ Koskei Cornelios

students squeeze
through security door --
Embassy exit

~ Consolata Akoth

haijin sit
on the grass to write haiku --
Embassy visit

~ Anonymous

cold weather --
we put on sweaters
outside the Embassy

~ Mary Njambi

haijin struggle
through the security door --
Japanese Embassy

~Victor Obutho

cold morning --
the scent of flowers
at the gate

~ Susan Njeri

flower bed --
a withered rose
falls down

~ Eunice Katiwa

echoing hall --
the haijins’ jubilation
after the movie

flower bed --
an uprooted weed lies
on the pavement

~ Gloria Kerubo


Report and photos by Patrick Wafula for Kenya Saijiki

Related words

. Japane Culture Week 2008 .


1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Japan Information & Culture Centre - 2017
The Embassy Staff arrived at 9.20 am and the program kicked off at 9.45am with introduction and word of welcome from a representative of Bahati, Mr. Wafula. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Futaki, the Director of Information and Culture Center (JICC) projected the Japan Video Encyclopedia which showed Japan advanced transport and education infrastructure projects.

The climax of this auspicious event was the presentations of haiku by the haijin from the various haiku clubs of the Kenya Saijiki. It was the patrons of the clubs who presented their haiku first, followed by the students. The haiku were recited in the following order, as selected by Isabelle Sensei, the moderator of Kenya Saijiki:


first diary entry --
five New Year resolutions
on the first page

~ Patrick Wafula

two hawkers
spread new textbooks --
Luthuli Road

~ Andrew Otinga

school opening day --
I brush dust
off my shoes

~ Paul Kanga

coffee plants
bend in the wind --
Kiambu visit

~ Antony Waswa


Christmas Eve --
a drunk woman ululates
in the night

~ Peter Mwadime

afternoon sun --
a chameleon basking
on the wall

~ rose (Parrot)

walking back home
in the evening again --
first school day

~ Lilian Lavender

I finally find
my torn white socks --
school opening day

~ David Mutie

power failure --
the monitor goes black
at the cyber

~ Wellington Mulima

smoke all over
the school compound --
burning dumpsite

~ Winnie Koskei

cold evening --
we sit around the jiko
roasting maize

~ Koskei Chebet (Bamboocha)

lunch hour --
sandals of different colours
at mosque's door

~ ANN MUMBI (Parrot)

dark night --
cooking jiko lights
our house

~ Lawrence Muema (Bamboocha)

muddy road --
my shoe prints
left behind


wearing slippers --
a cobbler repairing
my torn shoes

~ Beryl Akinyi (Bamboocha)

swaying tree --
I watch its reflection
in the glass window

~ Esther Naliaka

school garden --
dirty socks hung
on the fence

~ Mercy Kanyiva

afternoon sun --
a worm digs silently
into the ground

~ Collins

a snail
climbs up the toilet wall --
slowly, slowly

~ John Ngota Tete

construction site --
a white pigeon lands
on a black tank

~ Sarah Kwamboka

Authors who were not present such as those haijin who completed their High School last year, their haiku was recited by another haijin.

Some of the haiku which received note was this one by John Ngota Tete:

a snail
climbs up the toilet wall--
slowly, slowly

It was recited by a haijin from Kenkyo na Kokoro club of Kwa Watoto School. Mrs Vera Bwire, the assistant Director of JICC commended the haiku saying the image was memorable and impressive.

There was an atmosphere of relaxation and enjoyment as the haijin learned a Japanese song, Tsubasa wo kudasai, followed by short but interesting movie on karate and akido.

Students were also informed on how the Japan Embassy students scholarship programs work and encouraged to work hard to attain the required grades and apply.

The program ended at around 11:30am with a vote of thanks from Mr. Wafula and Mr. Futaki distributing Niponica and posters about Japan.
(posted in the yahoo forum)