Lost in translation
The Prince of Wales has watercolours, it's true, but it's hard to imagine him getting to grips with the waka, with its 31 syllables, strictly arranged into five lines in the 5-7-5-7-7 structure. Akihito and Empress Michiko knock out four waka apiece for New Year's Eve as well, reflecting on the year just gone by, and this year's offerings were helpfully put out in English by the Imperial Household Agency last week. Translating poetry is notoriously difficult and the waka usually come out sounding as poetic as the instruction manual for a vacuum cleaner. Link.
Maybe if I translate my grocery list into Japanese it will sound poetic.