Inedible Souvenir


Yesterday the local beauty parlor owner shot me an email on my cell phone. She took a two-day trip into Gifu and stopped at a historic town, Mino (美濃市). My response was うらやましい!!! (I’m Jealous!!!) Gifu has many nice mountains and rivers and, not being overrun by modernization, still has many historic areas. Mino has had a tradition of paper making since about 600AD and still maintains handmade paper factories.

Late last night, any semblance of jealousy vanished as she arrived with a souvenir: a package of washi (和紙). This traditional Japanese paper is crying for me to massage its surface with my brush. Tonight I plan to practice writing kansha (感謝), which means ‘thanksgiving’, using a semi-cursive script. If I can make a reasonably good attempt, I will try to make a clean copy on the new paper and deliver it to the salon. Giving back one sheet of paper, which she gave me seems like a cheap gift; I hope my writing adds a little value for her.

Earlier last night, while heading home from Japanese class, I saw a beautiful shooting star: called a ryuusei (流星) or nagareboshi (流れ星). It was unusually bright and lasted for a long time. At work today someone asked if it was a North Korean missile, but I assured him they don’t stay in the air that long. Since the nuclear test, we have been discussing North Korea everyday. I still subscribe to the concept that Kim Jong Il is not crazy enough to actually attack us. Perhaps I am off base, but it helps me stay calm and get work done.


6 Responses to “Inedible Souvenir”

  1. kevenker Says:

    Wow, that’s kind of sad that when they see/hear of a shooting star they think of missiles…

  2. びっくり Says:

    Indeed it is sad. Normally I don’t think missiles are the first thing to cross their mind, but over the past few years North Korea keeps threatening and intimidating Japan.

    Sometimes I want to compare the feeling to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it is a little scaled down from that. If Kim Jong Il stands in front of the UN, bangs his shoe on the table, and yells, “We will bury you!”, then the threat level will be similar. So far, the threats are more oblique.

  3. Sunkissd1 Says:

    I was standing outside the first night of our trip along the Oregon Coast and saw one, then again with Keven the last night. My thoughts and reactions were of awe. Sad to think others have been robbed of their innocence.

  4. びっくり Says:

    I’m pretty sure Yamagiwa-san was not serious when he sad this. He jokes around a lot in the office. However, the current political situation is indeed disappointing.

    If only we hadn’t created North Korea in ’45 as an attempt to appease Russia. If only we had been more communicative with China in ’53 and not frightened them into joining the conflict. If only China would enforce the current UN restrictions…

  5. Going to the Top « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] I plan to visit, so it was nice to become generally aware of their position. Mino is the site of traditional paper making. Seki is famous for blades (like Spyderco knives) and has sword making […]

  6. Paper Making « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] in mid-October of 2006 I received a package of Japanese paper as a gift. From the first stroke of the brush, I recognized that it was something […]

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