mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Euclid isn't the only one who's seen beauty bare

A package came yesterday from Fearless Leader, with one present from her and another from sho_sunaga. It may well represent the aesthetic highpoint of my year.

FL sent me a Japanese, ahh, 'stainless bottle' which of course is a stainless steel water bottle. Well, one can put tea in it as well as long as the leaves aren't loose, but not miso shiro (I wasn't about to) or salty soups (ditto). It's red-lacquer in colour with a rabbit in a gold moon on the side and little gold flowers near the base. I customarily carry my water in a battered plastic Dasani bottle that has released who knows how many PCBs into my system by now. The difference between that and this is, as they say, the distance between mud and stars. Thank you so much, Fearless Leader. Functional *and* aesthetic *and* healthy: all round win.

sho_sunaga sent me cookies. Look at them. Just *look* at them. The box alone is gorgeous. The cookies are wafer thin bits of pale colour, each in its own palely coloured wrapper. They are delicious like nothing on earth.

But there's more. Each cookie represents a season-- early spring and late spring, early summer and summer, early autumn and mid-autumn, late autumn and winter (which are, yes, quite different from each other, at least as I experienced them. February in Tokyo is utterly different, in colour and humidity, from April.) (Equally, learn these terms and you have half of Ozu's oeuvre down pat.) Each season has an emotion attached to it. Each feeling is expressed by the err why don't we have a translation for 名産品? Famous product of, which I suppose segues into 'regional delicacy' unless you're Canadian. Meisanhin are what you buy when you visit a place to bring back as omiyage to your co-workers, and Canada's only 名産品 is maple syrup which is not a delicacy.

So for example the first cookie here is called 'A single plum blossom' signifying 'The elegance of spring.' It contains dried plums from Soga in Odawara. 'Plums are the 名産品 of Odawara, and the Soga plum forests bloom magnificently in the cold.'

The second is called 'Flower mist' signifying 'light-hearted feelings.' (A- unless the omoi here too means love) (B- I checked- it's a different mist from Li Bo's warhorse, but the original idea must be the same.) Cherry blossom season in April. It contains 'pickled cherry blossoms' from Kanagawa Sagami-Afuri mixed with meringue.

And then there's 'kaori' (scent, perfume) signifying 'quiet heart.' It contains sanshou (山椒) which has various translations, but Japanese pepper is the one we'll use here. Its leaves (not the seeds, here, unlike Chinese cuisine) have a strong lemony smell. 'Crush them in your hand and a fresh vivid smell rises from the little leaves. It's said this scent has the effect of soothing the nerves.'

There's five more and they're all like that. Oh Japan. Never stop being Japanese. And thank you so much, sho_sunaga!

And thanks also to whichever of you threw in the towel. ^_^ Because yes, that's gorgeous too.
Tags: japan, rl_09

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