So the reason R was in Japan was to deliver a lecture and to have a piece performed. All of which he enjoyed a great deal, and which went well. Even the simultaneous translation bit, which must have been a remarkable experience…

So he receives a fee. In cash. Which necessitated him doing the most uncharacteristic thing of shopping. In order, you understand, not to end up losing lots to commission converting the currency back.

So he returns yesterday positively laden with gifts: some hand-painted small ceramic somethings — very beautiful, eight of them — a very finely worked inlaid wooden box, pashmina type scarves for M and me — again, so finely made, pure wool, so soft — a couple of small prints, a couple of Shinto good luck charms (‘traffic safety’!), a brilliant duty free watch for E (much needed), and a bit of duty free bling for me. Packets of rice crackers and rice sweets. As you do.

 

Every girl deserves some bling!

 

 

So last night the family was gripped not only by the presents, but also by the origami birds and asymmetrical wrapping lavished upon each gift. The classy ribbons, the display boxes. Even the stickers holding the ribbons in place and the bags closed were things of beauty somehow.

So none of this was particularly expensive. But the care of the presentation, the boxes and bags and tissue paper…is almost breath-taking, an experience in itself and unto itself. When straightening up, I could not bear to throw anything away, even the paper and said stickers. I put them in our ‘bag and wrapping’ drawer in the kitchen.

So how do we — us, the Japanese too — marry using so much paper with wastefulness, with recycling? And if I’m honest, with the almost cleansing aesthetic pleasure that the results, the process, bring?

However we slice it though: it’s so good to have R home.

***

Meanwhile E battles a long-lasting, dragging sore throat which began toward the end of hypo lane last week and is now gradually wearing him down. Probably the same one that kept his sister off school two days the week before. His levels are becoming quite irregular — 4.4 mmols yesterday morning, 17.5 mmols this morning! We are all just reacting — no choice — and he soldiers on. Has a Spanish assessment today. Doesn’t want to miss it.

Sigh. We correct and send him off to school on a 200% basal temp, fingers crossed he doesn’t crash.

And M has brought her stunningly beautiful inlaid box into school. Along with its wrapping paper. And the blue origami bird.

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