haiku

This is the current gag going around the net. The premise is that Microsoft has decided to replace its error messages with Haiku! Moderately amusing.

In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with Haiku poetry messages. Haiku poetry has strict construction rules: each poem has only 17 syllables – 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity. Here are some actual error messages from Japan. Aren’t these better than “your computer has performed an illegal operation?”

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located,
but Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Program aborting
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

I ate your Web page.
Forgive me; it was tasty
And tart on my tongue



  1. RonD says:

    Pretty nifty. But the first example “Cannot be located” only has 6 syllables, no?

  2. Miguel Lopes says:

    A few of these are quite funny, and I may be using them as standard error pages when I get my own web server up, eventually:

    The Web site you seek
    Cannot be located,
    but Countless more exist.

    and

    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.

  3. NetPositive (the BeOS web browser) had haiku error messages. Example:

    Not a pretty sight
    When the web dies screaming loud
    The site is not found.

  4. david says:

    Ahh, Japan. I love that country. There is more civility in that land than any other in the world which is proof that if everyone had the same basic beliefs and culture then Utopia is possible. They also don’t, on the most part, have religion to cripple them. Shinto and Buddhism, which are part of their culture, are NOT religions in the sense that most people understand it, but rather a philosophy of a way to live WITHOUT WORSHIPPING A GOD.

    Haiku error messsages is just another example of their sophisticated culture (highest of all in the world) emanating through.

  5. Ima Fish says:

    Actually, all error messages in BeOS were in haiku. God I loved that OS! I was able to play Quake in a 640×480 window and watch TV in a different 640×480 window AT THE SAME TIME without ANY slowdown.

  6. Ima Fish says:

    I love Japan because it proves one of my pet theories: xenophobia is genetic.

    People assume the US is racist because so much racism occurs here. But is it causation or correlation? To me, Japan proves that xenophobia is inherent in every culture.

    We all know that Japan is not very diverse. But despite the fact that nearly all Japanese are Japanese, they will go out of their way to stereotype, marry, hire, and promote, and discriminate on something as trivial as blood type.

    There have been Koreans living in Japan for three generations, but they are still considered aliens and have to carry cards wherever and whenever they travel.

    I’ve read stories from Japan where even one foreigner who enters a room will break the wa, i.e., the harmony.

    And I remember reading from the 90s when Japan was faced with a labor shortage. It either had to accept foreign workers or a lower standard of living. Rather than risk being tainted with foreigners, the Japanese chose the lower standard of living.

    As far as I’m concerned, the US is infinitely more tolerant than Japan will ever be.

  7. japanese says:

    >Ima Fish
    and you don’t think your comment is racist, huh?

  8. eXogis says:

    This Haiku was originally posted in a contest in Feb 1998.


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