Friday, March 31, 2006


The cherry blossom has come out over the past two days.

(Click on the images to get the non-compressed versions. If your cursor arrow turns into a magnifying glass, click the newly opened images again.)

One of the reasons why the cherry blossom is so dramatic in Japan is that basically all the trees are the same tree. The type which lines the roads and rivers and sprinkles every hillside with patches of spring snow is unable, as I understand it, to reproduce naturally. It is planted with cuttings from established trees which themselves trace their roots back to one original specimen. My botany is super poor, so I might be barking up the wrong tree, as it were, but I think that is why all the blooms rush out at precisely the same time.

Sakura and Fuji:

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Wine in new bottles

It's getting late, so forgive me this post. Two stories about wine collided in my mind and caused a messy car crash. The first, this one about "Goats do Roam in Villages" having a scrap with the French about their name (excellent stuff, by the way). The second, about a porn star who has made an extremely good wine. It is selling for $38 a bottle.

But what if the "Goats do Roam" crowd were let loose on Savanna's labels!

Semillon-Hardonnay? Sauvignon Bonk?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Nearly weed my pants

Bit of background first: get caught for anything to do with drugs in Japan and they don't quite shoot you but they basically throw away the key.

So I was alarmed to open the front pocket of A.'s case on the baggage reclaim carousel at Narita airport to find a large unmarked see-through bag full of crushed green leaves. Oh Mummy! Finished!

Was A. a marijuana mule? (That's how she paid for those handbags!) Or had we been set up?
A. was sitting with G. and our hand luggage some way off and I started gesticulating wildly for her to come over, thinking it was probably best to declare the weed's presence before the customs gates.
"Ayako, come here! No, quickly! Now!."

An eternal walk.

"What's this?"
There was quiet elation as we walked towards the customs. A. said she had bought the bag of raspberry leaf tea for her sister's pregnancy. It is good for that.