The best present I have received in a long time. This gorgeous letter, with an illustrated, fox character, and five types of seeds selected, in Belgium, to do well in flowerpots. They include mini sunflowers, mini cucumber, micro pea, rice beans, and micro basil.
Recently, a young friend was perplexed by the very concept of a stationery store. “What? Don’t you just send by phone and e-stickers?,” he asked. Some things must be analog.
Thank you, Hiyoko! The seeds are already srpouting.
One of the pleasures of Tokyo is discovering small gems that are unexpected. Arriving a few minutes early to a meeting in Akihabara last month, I stumbled upon this small shrine that faces the south side of the Kanda River near Akihabara, best known for electronics, manga, and geeks. The surrounding streetscape is a crowded jumble of 80s buildings with a few pre-war relics.
It was great to duck into the shrine, and enjoy the shade, the running water in the stone basin for ritual hand washing, the wood structures, and the quiet of a place with few visitors. Enjoying this mini oasis, I realized that all the statues involve animals with huge balls.
I recognize tanuki, but I think there are other animals, too. On second viewing, the husband pointed out that all of the figures, despite looking quite different, are tanuki. Although many shrines feature foxes (kitsune, or oinarisama), it is rare to see a shrine focused on tanuki. A placard explains that “tanuki” is a pun on words that also means “passing the other” and refers to Edo women who competed with each other to produce male heirs.