KFC and Christmas Stars

#Haikai Challenge #13 (12/23/17): Christmas #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga For Frank Tassone’s haiku challenge – Christmas is the kigo.

KFC and Christmas Stars

Our first Christmas together we spent in your home of Hakone. I was transfixed by the beauty of where you grew up with Mt. Komagatake as a backdrop to Mt. Fuji and the lapping clarity of Lake Ashi. To my vast amusement, I discovered Colonel Sanders was Father Christmas’ main man and that Christmas dinners were KFC – the commercials on TV with Japanese “Victorian” skaters and builders of snow men, green wreaths, reindeer – I watched hypnotized and wanting to laugh aloud at the incongruous but cheerful visions dancing outside of my head, but I didn’t want to be insulting. It was a great relief to see your full lips twisted in a wry grin and your eyes sparkling with impish delight. “I’ll have to use some connections”, you said, “it is too late to order now. Most people would have ordered their dinners by the end of October.” Yes, KFC is a big deal dinner! Specially decorated buckets, meals with elaborate cakes and bottles of wine or sake – and when we went to pick up our dinner on Christmas eve, we stood in line for an hour waiting our turn.

Families and groups of single friends happy and laughing, anticipating. Inside the KFC – a bar with red and green flashing lights and a bartender in a Santa cap! A lifesize Colonel Sanders figure with a Santa cap and a wreath of silk holly around his neck! I stood gaping at the tables of families digging into the buckets pulling out special plates with the date and under that, layers of chicken, cole slaw, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, Christmas cake, bottle of sake – like an endless treasure box. I hadn’t had that sense of delight since the first time I walked into Studio 54. It was just as surreal too.

We snagged our bucket and walked home in the crisp evening. In heavy coats we sat in your garden and wolfed our way through the chicken – you going for the dark meat, me going for the light. And it tasted exactly the same! We passed the bottle of surprisingly good sake between the two of us as we ate. Totally sated with food and wine, we lay in the gravel of your karesansui and made “snow” angels, laughing at each other, our laughter carrying through the clear mountain air. I lay there looking up into the stars twinkling over Japan. You leaned over to touch my face and then kissed me, both of our faces greasy and salty. “Come and look at the city stars, beloved.” You pulled me up and we walked to the edge of your property looking down over the city. I was silenced by the beauty of the lights below me – the colors, the shapes, glittering like a huge gaudy brooch for earth. And then I looked back up at the night sky, Mt. Fuji in the distance blocking out a space of black. I fell in love with stars, yet again. Several meteors streaked to earth – I wept for such beauty that would never again be seen, in that same way.

flaming stars outshine
earthly stars and fall from
the sky – meteor snow

public domain image

 

11/16 Society: Happy Birthday!

By the time we got home from Woodstock……Thank you all for showing up for the 11/16 Birthday party. Please don’t swim in the nishikigoi pond. Thank you. and still watch out for the brown acid.

Happy birthday to my dear ones:  to you who have gone one ahead, to those in Virginia, Durham, Hakone, Israel, Knightsbridge,  Noo Yawk City, and N’awlins.  May the year ahead be good to you:  “we few, we happy few”.  I raise my can of Coke to you in salute and wish I could give you all a big birthday hug and kiss. 

Songs today reminding me of you and the years  keep weaving through my head and heart:  a tapestry of light, shadows, tears, laughter, faith, redemption, wildness and peace, but especially of love.  I hear “Seven Bridges Road”, “Born to Run”, “Disco Inferno”, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” Handel’s Water Music, “Jolie Blonde”, …but especially I hear Seven Bridges Road.  

I remember the night we introduced that song to Masashi and how it captured him.  He sat at the piano and the five of us present wove that song for it seems like forever:  alto recorder, violin, guitar, tenor sax, voices.  We wove it until the stars went to sleep and the last note quivered in dying silver. 

 

 

Easy Corn Soup – Hakone, Japan

I like Japanese recipes.  I LOVE easy Japanese recipes.  A young engineering intern from Hakone, sent me this recipe as a “thank you” for helping him.  His mentor, a most venerable engineer here temporarily in the US from Japan, told him not only would it be polite, but friendly as well and that I eventually would ask him anyway! 

Hikaru said it was an amazingly easy dish, very comforting and frugal as well.  “We all of us, love corn soup!  It can be purchased from dispensers along side of coffee and soft drinks at internet cafes.  When I want taste of my home, I make this.  You can make in 15 minutes or less.  A recipe makes enough for me or, for four normal people.” 

1 can of corn (15.25 oz)

1/2 yellow onion (sliced)

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp butter

1 sprig of parsley – chopped

1 scallion

2 cubes of vegetable boullion 

Partially melt butter in a saucepan, then saute onion for 5 minutes until soft.  Add corn and stir for a minute or so.  Add milk and heat on medium-low until hot but not boiling.  Crumble vegetable bullion cubes into the soup and stir.  Remove from heat and transfer to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Return to saucepan, heat, then garnish with parsley thinly sliced scallion.

 

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