Life is not always about work, about the store, about shopping and selling, playing it safe, or repeatingly doing and saying, same o’, same o’, as my father would say.

Sometimes, one needs a distraction. I have many. One of these is reading and translating the Japanese haiku of Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694). This in turn, occasionally leads me down an unexpected path.


All haiku by definition is simple. The surprise and delight comes in the subtlety of the language. Here is a haiku by Kawai Sora, Bashō’s traveling companion on his famous Journey North in 1689.

Back and forth
Through rows of wheat
A butterfly weaving!

and alternatively,

Weaving back and forth
Through rows of wheat
A butterfly!

繰り返し麦の畝縫ふ 胡蝶哉, Kurikaeshi mugi no une nu kochō kana.

The subtlety of Sora’s writing is expressed in the last Japanese character 哉, which is known as kana. English has no equivalency, but we can express it as a statement of surprise, an exclamation point, or if a word suffices, then Wow!

Learning Japanese is, like Greek, a difficult tongue to master.

I wish it were Stressless…


Let the blossoms fall where they will

cherry blossoms
they fall, they scatter
without regret

haiku by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)
Spring in Japan, spring everywhere – in Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain, spring every year for a thousand years, and each year the blossoms fall, giving joy to young and old alike.

Let the blossoms fall where they will, let the children play where they may. Enjoy this spring and every season in a Stressless chair.


Stressless as Haiku

A chair should recline
Says Stressless, effortlessly
Creating ultimate comfort


Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry, a contracted form of haikai no ku ‘light verse’. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines. Traditionally, but not always, the first and last lines have 5 syllables, the middle line 7 syllables. The lines need not rhyme.

Recitations of haiku take place in informal settings. Today, one would call it a “parlor game” available to the rich and the peasant alike.  Someone gives a “prompt”, either a word or string of words that becomes the subject of the haiku. The poet then creates an action, then adds the cutting word, creating insight.

Japanese poet Matsuo Basho was considered the best of the Haiku poets. His most famous haiku takes place at an ancient pond, adds a frog, voila, the sound of water:

An old pond,
frog jumps in,
sound of water.


furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

Get Stressless


Stressless London high back recliner
Get Stressless