Pickling ume looks time consuming. I once watched my mom’s biǎo jiě (cousin)(specifically, older female cousin on the maternal side) and her husband massage and brine the sour green apricots for a long time. We’d plucked them earlier that day at a family farm deep in the woods.
The Japanese turn ume into soft poetic balls (Pantone 702 U-ish) that pair well with rice. The Taiwanese turn ume into dark, sweet, tart, prune-y things.
“Ever been to Jiufen?” I asked Mom.
“You should go! It has a nice view of the sea. It’s supposed to be the city that inspired Spirited Away. And they have the best gweh I’ve ever tasted - your favorite, with taro and the green one with radish or whatever the chewy stuff is.”
She looked skeptical. “How did you get there? You don’t speak the language.”
Two orange tabby brothers followed us home in December. They lived with us for five weeks, snuggling, wrestling, running around like madmen and punching each other in the face, until their owners saw our “found” signs (which had been posted in front of their house for weeks).
Chupa misses them a ton. They shredded furniture, ate my expensive paintbrushes, pawed wet paintings and shoved my brush around whenever I painted, but they were cute and soft fuzzballs.