108 Breaths: A foreigner’s experience of Japan through haiku

“A haiku is but one breath. It is the Kodak moment of modern poetry and it proves all Picasso needed to write a picture was 17 syllables.”

In 2004, Mark Wollacott moved to Japan and discovered this perfect poetic form. One day, seven years later, Mark Wollacott was digging around the old boxes under his bed. They were stuffed with items from his time in Japan, when he came across a pair of haikus written on a scrap of paper. An hour and a lot of dust later, he had rediscovered over a hundred others.

108 Breaths represents the best haiku of his time in Japan. They chronicle the ups and the downs, the oddities and the small moments that make life worthwhile. His first month alone saw six typhoons and three earthquakes. Every night when he went to bed, he received a dozen mosquito bites and he formed a long alliance against the tatami ants with a gecko named Hiro. 108 Breaths contains 108 haiku, haikai and senryu, plus four haibun. Bookended by essays on haiku and copious notes on the poems themselves, this book is a must for all haiku fans.