*Japanese poisonous fish also known as blowfish. A delicacy.

Don’t just stare at it, eat it. Go on.
Do not be afraid.
It lies there in that perfect handmade bowl
yearning to be eaten.

That is its purpose.

It is why someone went out on a grey morning
and fished on the wild water,
enticing it to bite with a flick of a line.

It is why it was left to die gasping on the deck
seeing the unfiltered light of day for the first time
through a single upturned eye.

It is why it was stored in ice colder than the Siberian sea.

Brought from the market it warmed by day until its flesh softened,
its glassy eye melted, and it lay on the slab
under harsh electric lights,
waiting for somebody to fillet it with sequinned hands,

discard the poison,

cube the soft pale flesh, toss it into hot oil, fragrant
with garlic and spices, then gently lift it from the pan
and place it into this handmade bowl.
Garnished with herbs and a little black pepper,

it is a work of art

you must eat.

Place your life in that artists blade.

Grip hard with your chopsticks the flesh will try to slip
your grasp. Bring it to your lips,
accept its threat like a kiss.
Trust it.
Savour its sting on your tongue.
Feel the warmth of the melt and the release of juices.

The morsel will not last long, but the taste,
well, the taste will linger in your memory

for as long as you might live.

An age apart

Posted in response to this weeks Daily Post weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme ‘Opposites’. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/opposites/  (eek…url linky thing not working!)

I have to pinch my arm to remind myself that just a few weeks ago I was in Japan.  For as long as I can remember, it’s a country and culture that has fascinated me and drawn me to it.  It’s been top of my bucket list for, like, e-ver, and now it’s been crossed off as ‘done’!

And I have to tell you, it didn’t disappoint.

We did a small group tour, and in just two short weeks managed to feel immersed in it’s fabulous diversity – from the madness of Tokyo and Osaka, to the tranquillity of Takayama and Kamikochi. In fact, when I saw that this weeks photo challenge theme was ‘opposites’ Japan instantly sprang to mind, and I was sure I could find a suitable photograph among the, well alright, over a thousand, that I took (excessive I know, but well, it’s so darn photogenic!).   I chose this one, taken in Hama-rikyu Gardens, Tokyo, which illustrates how, despite the towering new glass buildings that Tokyo is known for, the old gardens at their heart remain quiet and peaceful, and in fact, I think, their beauty is enhanced by that sparkling backdrop.

This picture also made me think of the office workers peering out over their computer screens through the window, and down at the gardener working away in the sunshine.  Opposites indeed.