A Petal in a Cup

fiction, Mar. 2019

SATOKO

Every spring, I remember my grandfather who liked to see cherry blossoms. He lived his life as a good craftsman in a local factory and was known as a man with a good temper and spirit.

When cherry blossoms bloomed, my grandfather always enthusiastically said “Let’s go to see cherry blossoms!”, and invited his family members and neighbors to the viewing party.

At the cherry blossom viewing party, my grandmother and mother worked hard and prepared huge lunch boxes: Inarizushi (sushi wrapped in fried tofu), Chikuzen-ni (chicken stew with vegetables), Japanese omelet and fried chicken.

With such delicious lunch boxes, I attended my grandfather’s party every year since I was little.

The most impressive cherry blossom viewing party was the one when I graduated from college and started to work for a local company. My grandfather and I drank sake (Japanese alcohol) together.

“Machiko, congratulations! I’m happy too.”

My grandfather told me this as he poured sake into my lacquered cup.

“Thank you, Grandpa,” I said so as I put my mouth to the cup. At that time, one cherry blossom petal was falling down and floated on the cup.

“Oh!”
“Wow!”

The lacquered cup was the genuine Wajima-lacquered one, which my mother brought from her home in Wajima City, in Ishikawa prefecture, when she got married.

The outside was painted in red and the inside was in black. The contrast of the black color of the cup and the pale pink of the petal in clear sake was very beautiful.

“Machiko, it’s a sigh of a good fortune! Just drink it with the petal.”
“Wow, with the petal?”

I was a little confused by his word and laughed at it, but other family members also recommended me to drink it, so I tried, though I didn’t taste the cherry blossom very well.

Maybe he was relieved at me getting a good job. After I started to work, my grandfather’s health was getting worse and worse, and two years later he passed away.

The company, for which I worked, was a good company so my grandfather was relieved; my colleagues were all good to me, and I also married one of them after eight years.

After we got married, we moved to a new house. However, it was only recently that I noticed I could see a cherry blossom tree in the garden next to my house.

From then, my husband and I sometimes put out a table and a chair on the veranda and watch the cherry blossoms while enjoying sake in the evening.

Although it’s not like a big party I had with my grandfather and other family members years ago, I still think the current evening viewing party is also very special, because it’s as if the cherry blossoms in the garden bloom only for the two of us.

Each time I talk about my grandfather, my husband says warmly, “Well, you seem you’ve always been a Grandpa’s little girl”.

The spring wind scatters cherry blossom petals. I always think about a petal jumping into my cup, which happened when I drank with my grandfather, but it seems it rarely happens.

I put the last piece of fried cheese in my mouth, which we prepared as a snack to go with the sake, and I breathed the smell of the spring night deeply into my chest.

Know more about Wajima Lacquerware!

written by

SATOKO

Writer(Essay&short stories) / Studied Japanese literature at Sophia University, Tokyo. Grown Up in Wajima, Ishikawa and now lives in Toyama.
I like writing&cooking. I like tiny corners of everyday life in a north western Japanese local city, which I like to put into words that feel cozy for you.

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