Monday, June 16, 2014

I Bought a Plant Today - Oh Boy!

Holly and I are turning Japanese.

Her obsession with all thing Japonical is catching - not that its flame needed much fanning in me.  I have always had a mild fascination with Japanese Art and Culture (me, you, and the rest of the Western World) but, recently  with Holly singing insane Hatsune Miku songs all day: 

and watching Anime and reading Manga and eating ramen and sushi and onigiri and... and... and...

I've become sucked in too.

My contributions to the Japanification of my life - apart from buying Number One Daughter a couple of Kimonos - is to convince myself I can learn the language.  I have no idea why.  I'm pretty pants at languages and from what I've read Japanese is not the easiest. But any language that has four different alphabets: Katakana, Hiragana, Romaji, and Kanji (which has 10,000+ characters!); and can be written in two different directions: in vertical columns read top to bottom, right to left across the page, or left to right top to bottom like western script has to be worth exploring.  It's a bafflingly fascinating puzzle.

Today we were in Morrisons supermarket buying ingredients for a Japanese food taster session Holly is preparing for her classmates. (Chicken yakatori: salmon maki, a potato based salad, and a fruit yakatori with strawberry dipping sauce.) As we were leaving, Holly in her usual blissful unawareness of anything not right in front of her eyes way, managed to nearly run our shopping into a middle-aged couple's trolley.

A Japanese middle-aged couple.

I yanked Holly into a less dangerous direction and managed to get out a couple of  "sumimasen"s ('So-sorry's すみません) in their direction and hurtled off after Holly before she ran into anyone else.  They smiled and bowed in reply.  I think I made their day.  It made mine.  I'd used my very very limited conversational Japanese in a minorly stressful situation and not been run through with a katana. Woohoo!  My contribution to world peace and global understanding for the week.

The plant came a little earlier.  On the way to the checkouts we passed a display of garden plants containing several very small acers.  I like acers.  I love the red of the leaves in autumn.  Very Japanese too.  The treelets were on offer.  Reduced form a paltry £3 to a even paltrier £2.50  but what reall sold me,  what really made this my spindly wee tree a must buy item was the label stuck on the pot:

 Garden plants are not for human consumption

Apart, obviously, from those that are, like: runner beans and strawberries and apples and pears and blackcurrents just to name the first few that came to mind.  I'm really struggling to work out how anyone - even some working in a supermarket's legal department with not enough work to do on a wet Thursday would thing it necessary to stick a label on a pot which, in essence, says: Do Not Eat This Tree!

If someone has the intelligence and  experience to be able to read and understand the label 'Garden plants are not for human consumption' (I mean there's a twelve letter word in there!  Intellectual stuff!) they must surely have the intelligence and experience to know that eating trees is probably not going to do them a lot of good.

I am not going to eat the tree. 

Though it does look tasty....

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