Years ago I stumbled upon a box of embroidered orbs in Kuniko’s attic. They were temari, I was told, vintage playthings from a time before children had rubber balls to bounce and leather balls to bat. I found them so intriguing that I did what I always do when fascinated by a new object or ingredient, I set myself to photograph them. The images now hang on my walls and the temari themselves now live in my attic. We pull them out every year to adorn our Christmas trees.
Somewhere along the way Kuniko taught me how to make temarizushi with a tender leaf of kinome sandwiched between a translucent slice of tai red snapper and orbs of vinegared rice. I was as enamored of the namesake edible temari as I was of the original objects. Our sansho tree leafs out just as the cherry trees bloom, at the exact season when snapper is at its most delicious. It’s a perfect trifecta. Beauty, culture, and flavor, three of the things I live for, came together last week in our Sakura Season salon as we dined on temarizushi under cherry trees in full bloom. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.
Our Momoji maple has leafed out again, the Kodemari and snowball bushes are beginning to bloom, and my heart is full. The salon is my offering, an experience I can give others to immerse themselves in Japan’s rich culinary culture and connect to the environment in which its flavors originate. But I have received something precious in return, connection. Mirukashi appears to self select the best of the best. From my extraordinary guests, to writers, photographers, and videographers, I have hosted 15 people in Mirukashi in the last few weeks and I have come to adore each and every one of them like a friend I’ve known for years. Be it fresh flavors or new friendships, it is indeed a season of abundance.