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Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Beauty of Japan is all Around Me

So this past week, Thursday to be exact, I had a Japan day, right here in San Jose, and didn't even realize it.

It all began when a package arrived on my doorstep. I was on my way out the door to see my dentist so I picked it up, set it inside, then left for my appointment.

blooming-purple-wisteria-spring
Purple Wisteria

As I pulled out of my driveway I noticed my neighbor's wisteria was blooming. Ah, I LOVE wisteria. It is (imo) one of the most beautiful flowers. Ever. I made a mental note to go take a picture later that day or the next while the blossoms were all still very fresh and full.

manju-white-bean-pink-green-leaf
Manju

Before returning home I stopped by a local Japanese Market. So there I was trying to find rice flour for a new recipe I want to try when I spotted packages of my most favorite kind of manju (a Japanese dessert) in stock! To be honest I'm not sure what I love more: The way it looks or the way it tastes. I think this manju is so gorgeous!

When I was a kid there were two things I always wanted: A pony (which I never got) and manju from the Uwajimaya Japanese grocery store in Seattle (5 hours away). I usually got the manju once a year, twice when I was lucky as friends and relatives traveling to Seattle would bring some back for me from time to time.

This exact kind has always been my favorite. The kind with the little pink spot in the middle and the tiny green leaf on top of the ever so slightly transparent, sweet and chewy pounded rice that is filled with sweetened white bean paste. There were 4 per package.

 I was so happy! I picked up a pack and headed for home.

Jizo- bodhisattva-ceramic-statue-sculpture-etsy
Jizo Statue. So small it's standing on a quarter.

When I got inside I remembered the box from that morning. I opened it up to discover this tiny little statue I'd ordered on Etsy had arrived.

The artist's Jizo shop on Etsy says:
"Jizo is seen by Zen Buddhists as a guardian of women, children and travelers. Jizo embodies the qualities of courage, unflagging optimism, and benevolence, and the bodhisattva vow to free all beings from suffering."
The artist has a shop in Portland Oregon. He is relocating at the moment so his Etsy shop is barren but for one last Jizo statue. His next batch of Jizo's will be in Ebony, White and Celadon (green). Luckily for me I spotted his last remaining Blue (a color he is retiring) Jizo and was able to order it.

While not raised Buddhist, I feel I must have been Buddhist in a past life because so many of the principles of Buddhism are innately how I feel and how I react to things that happen around me.

double-pink-cherry-flowers-spring
My neighbor has a beautiful Japanese Garden.

So here's the funny thing, when I downloaded the memory card holding all of these images it was only then that I realized I'd just had, in its own way, a mini cultural experience.

While the manju is already all gone, the wisteria will be blooming for awhile and my little Jizo is now sitting in a place of honor in my kitchen since I've been spending so much time there.

I'm sharing this with you to remind you to slow down, pay attention, and watch for specialness in your day to day life. Sometimes it happens when you aren't paying attention :)

1 comment:

  1. What a meaningful post. Funny how we miss little things that mean so much. Thank you for sharing, Stacie.

    ReplyDelete



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