Two Meals at Lotus House

When we returned to Lotus House, I noticed this drawing in the foyer, and was fascinated by the rows of images, which, to me, symbolized the continuity and changeable nature of experience. Rows of clocks displaying different times. Rows of musical notes. Rows of faces expressing a variety of feelings. Rows of eyes looking in different directions. Rows of hearts with pluses, minuses and question marks. Rows of I Ching hexagrams. Rows of trees and rows of cars. Rows of fish and rows of boats. Life.

Jun began to prepare the bamboo shoots to be part of our supper. First he cut them in half lengthwise.

Next he removed the inedible outer layers and upper point of the bamboo shoot, and cut the edible inner shoot into bite-sized pieces.

He also prepared pasta for lunch, and served it on (what else?) lily pad plates. I realized this was one of the very few times I’d been served food on a full-sized plate in Japan, and certainly one of the few times I was offered a fork. Usually food is served in many small dishes with chopsticks. But eating spaghetti with chopsticks is probably beyond my skill level right now. I’m not even all that graceful eating it with a fork.

Jun topped the pasta with sauteed vegetables and baby squid, brewed an intense onion soup, and tossed a green salad from his garden vegetables.

Setsuko and I enjoyed this superb meal at the table on their wonderful porch overlooking everything and God.

After lunch, Setsuko took her daily walk, and I sat down at the outdoor table to make some drawings for the television documentary. Sayaka, the director, had asked me for drawings from the animated show on which I am working now. I told her that my animation consultant, Jack Enyart, had suggested that I add myself as a character in the show, and she immediately wanted to see how I would portray myself as a cartoon character.

My character not only makes music; she plants trees.  She always has stars twinkling around her head.

The trees grow to be the centers of “guilds,” a permaculture term meaning groups of plants that benefit one another by growing in proximity. Usually a guild includes plants that not only feed humans, but, also, feed birds and beneficial insects, fix nitrogen in the surrounding soil, build biomass, provide shade and mulch, and create a moist subclimate in arid places. Many plants can grow in a small space if they are placed so that each can fill a different elevation according to their natural patterns of growth.

In the evening, all four of us gathered for a splendid meal featuring the bamboo shoots stewed with a melange of Jun’s garden vegetables. We each ate half of a small fish, perfectly sauteed. Homemade daikon pickles (from homegrown daikon) and homegrown rice completed this lovingly prepared, typically Japanese meal.

One cannot eat this rice without thinking of Jun and Setsuko’s beautiful rice paddies, which I visited the next day with their daughter Ren.