Images throughout by Imogen Baker


Imogen Baker went to Japan in late October of last year. She optimistically downloaded the Google Translate app, which has a camera feature you can use to translate. While functionally useless, the translations of road signs and pamphlets and everyday items were always beautiful. From these, she made some poems.

lovely girl

beauty tea beauty tea
please do not close
the raw breath and will
of such a hole below the surface
must be kicking
is a mountain 
fragrant black
as long as the teapot
come no water
stuffed ~ have
as long as the page
bliss, your
tender offer.
more ancient
or more than time.
be pluck –
the lightning
the island
beauty tea beauty tea
please do not close

thriving business

realize technology
fancy future
i.e. yacht anxiety
known in
a prestigious
wholesale larvae

city of new thickness

twisted marshmallow
black oolong hack
turbidity the flavour
to make the cake whipped future and:
likelihood cake
pastel low cake
jelly roll cake
this torque is
innermost plug
the night of ‘should you feel free’
sage house of charcoal ice tea
three colours dumpling
cookies premium mania
big laugh
large things the roots of
new thickness in town

vibration pattern

women suffer 
a fog
mind and body 
uncomfortable egg
men also women also
mouth space eyes body length
deep throat 
fire and transmission
strong 5 set of rotors
and freely extending mesh sacks
masturbation is not at all embarrassing things
stress is not a reservoir
such as dopamine and oxytocin
relax effects
happiness substance is secreted
easy body becomes

Translation Notes

lovely girl is translated from vending machines in the mountains to the east of Kyoto.

thriving business is translated from ads for politicians near Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto

city of new thickness is translated from a brochure for bubble teas from Shimokitazawa in Tokyo.

vibration pattern is translated from product boxes and flyers from sex shops in Dogenzaka, Tokyo.

Imogen Baker is not a poet. She’s a Melbourne-based writer who likes to play. She writes short stories, tweets badly at @totalmoneymelon, and designs Twine games. You can read and play more at