Years ago, I saw an ad in a Japanese magazine that depicted a couple enjoying a refreshing, sumptuous lunch on a wooden platform built over a resplendent yet gentle waterfall in the midst of spring. I think it was a sake ad. I salivated over the memory of this magical image, and asked a Japanese friend where I could find something like it.
“That was just an advertisement,” she said, smiling. “There is no place like that.”
Recently, while watching an NHK nature/food/culture documentary (the kind with a tranquil English speaker’s voice and Ryuichi Sakamoto playing contemplative, tender piano), I caught a two-second glimpse of something resembling the ad, and the words “Kibune kawa-something.”
“It EXISTS!!!” I ran to my desk for a pen and paper.
The sake advertisement had depicted a gloriously Photoshopped version of kawadoko, a summertime dining treat made famous in the Kyoto area (and particularly in the mountain village of Kibune). Folks seeking escape from the heat and humidity enjoy kaiseki-ryōri and cold nagashi-sōmen on a deck over a rushing mountain stream.
For Christmas, I gave Mom several presents, including a set of artisan felted wool coasters. The set consisted of two yellow coasters and two blue coasters, with an artsy silkscreened design on the top of each coaster.
After a few months, I noticed that Mom consistently used the blue coasters on the correct side and the yellow coasters turned over to wrong side.
"You don’t like the yellow coasters?" I asked her one day.
"Then why do you turn it over to this side?"
"What’s the difference?"
I flipped the coaster over. "This side is the design side."
"Either one. No difference."
"There’s a difference: This is the design side . . . this is not the design side."
"It’s you who buys it, not me."
"That’s true, but I intended for you to use the design side."
"And I intend to use the non-design side as the design side," she said.
I'm going to start posting random photos from my collection of Japanese home decor magazines, since I love the combination of Japanese kanji/hirigana/katakana with impeccable styling/photography/layout.
This one is from a magazine called Kawaii [Something], Volume 2. I have no idea what the second word is.
At the top of the cover, there are some characters that read "putesuito na interia to [something] hon." Something interior and something book. aahhh I don't know.