December 04, 2009

Womanly Scents

Light, rich, alluring... The human mind is a woven net of smells. Takes a look around.

The Flowers

Japanese Cherry Blossom

花見(はなみ) Hanami, flower-viewing. In the spring, the cities of Japan are filled with cherry blossoms blowing in on the wind from the nearby hills. They have festivals throughout the country dedicated to watching these beautiful, delicate petals, holding picnics beneath pouring pink snow. Thousands of people sometimes, and they would all gather in parks and shrines--fascinated for an hour by the magnificence of nature.

Gowned Jasmine

I loved Disney movies when I was a kid, and not much has changed. For the Spring Dance in freshmen year of college--when things are still new--my friends planned to dress up like Disney Princesses. At first they thought I would make a great Jasmine, but then my friend Lauren cried out, “No! She can be Mulan!” and everyone else agreed. I'm Half-Japanese...

Plumeria a flower that you can find on the islands of Hawaii. It is distinguished by its yellow-white petals that curl up at the edges and layer themselves like a windmill. It is a common flower to make leis out of, and the smell is soft and refreshing.

E komo mai o Hawai'i. If only I could hear those words again.

Hibiscus my mom's favorite flower. Because it likes room temperature, she sets her hibiscus plants (she has two) in the parlor room during winter. She isn't the Japanese-Hawaiian one, Dad is, but he lives two thousand miles away in California with the woman whom he met months before my parents' divorce.

Butterfly Flower

At Put-in-Bay, Ohio I got to see my first butterfly house. Not the inside where the butterflies were, but the outside where the shop was. It was six dollars to get in and--being with a ragtag group of tourists--we thought it was money that could be better spent on Death by Chocolate Cheesecake. So, I decided to buy my mom her birthday present, a butterfly wind chime that cost ten dollars.

Tiger Lily

"oh yes speaking of which yup i'm still here in lancaster, england. two more weeks of school before i europetrot a little till 1/1/10! i just got back from an AWESOME roadtrip to inverness, scotland (where loch ness is), i wished i could have done that in US!!"

--TingXuan Ho, former co-worker, current penpal who also loves literature and traveling

Enchanted Orchid

Aunt Jill was my Biology teacher in middle school. For a class project she herded us to the hill by the P.E. fields and we planted flowers. It was reported in the local news, along with a grinning photograph of my aunt while she was single, radiant, and easy-going.

Hundred-Petaled Lily

I hope to get married someday. In fact, like most girls, I have my wedding already planned out--Sunset at the beach in a white dress dyed blue at the ends and forget-me-nots in my hair. My groom in a light button-shirt, tie, and pants. The smell of salt, a wide expanse of possibilities and nerves.

The Plants

Green Clover and Aloe

My childhood was spent looking for four-leaf clovers and getting in trouble.

Red Ivy and Rosemary

I can smell the chicken up in my room, and my stomach growls. For a moment, I forget my teenage worries, but when my mom comes in unannounced I close my book with a snap.

"I told you I wanted to talk to you about something important."

I nodded, it was mere formality. She sighs and takes my hand.

"Are you and Austin doing it?"

"Doing it?"

"Having SEX." she says impatiently, with an awkward smile.



"Are you using protection?"

"Yes. We know how to take care of ourselves."

"No. No you don't. You're young and active, but you forget things sometimes. I'm only worrying about you, do you know that even doing it properly can still result in your getting pregnant? Are you ready for that responsibility?"

Her voice is cracking. Her eyes water. I try to keep calm, but I instinctively cry with her. I am my mother's daughter, and just like my mother's mother, my mom is only trying to look out for me. This conversation leads nowhere concretely, but emotionally we grow closer as mother and daughter.


Autumn. Colors. Jumping. Children screaming in joy. But not a very good smell... puts it back.


Japan. Samurai. Fighting. Farmers pulling rice, bare-back.

The Foods

Mango Mandarin

I will eat anything mango. My friends, family, and boyfriend know this--that's how rampant my adoration of mango is. Cake, pudding, candy, smoothie, glaze, topping, filling, anything that has mango I will try, and ninety-nine-percent of the time will like. But I already have this one...puts it back.

Blueberry Pineapple

I don't eat raw blueberries, they're too tasteless to me. I also couldn't eat pineapple for a while after I got a stomach flu and puked up pineapple in my mom's car. It took two years to get up the courage to eat pineapple again. I didn't puke. So, I ate all the Hawaiian pizzas I liked. But I still don't like raw blueberries.

Creamy Coconut

The first time I tasted and smelled coconut was in the second grade. I lived in Hawai'i, and the daily activity was carving necklace beads out of coconut shells. We cracked the shell, drained it, carved out the meat, and sand-papered the fragments out to be smooth, dark, and shiny like stones. We also got to eat the meat of the coconut left behind. But, my teacher warned me, eating too much makes you dizzy. In response, I ate too much and got dizzy...

Soggy Corn

The first time I walked through a corn field was in Michigan. I only walked a few steps in, panicked, and turned back to the road. Too many horror stories start in the middle of dense cornfields.

Later that year, the corn was cut down, snow fell, and the land drastically changed. Occassionally, I would look out of my window, my breath fogging up the glass and wonder what the farmers were doing now that everything was dead.

Pink Grapefruit

My grandmother likes eating healthy things, always trying to feed my brother and I half of the whole of something--like skim milk (white water). Some of her concoctions did taste good; for instance, Insalata Caprese salad made out of a slice of tomato, a leaf of basil, and a wedge of soft mozzerella cheese. Others, like pure pink grapefruit, I couldn't handle.

Pink Strawberry

My grandmother likes to push things on me. Shopping, fashion, table manners, and boyfriends. My mom rolls her eyes, saying something along the lines of "at least she pays attention to YOU." So I bare the trips to the mall, the lunch outings, and the manicure. But, this isn't me. I don't wear pink or pay $50 for a shirt. By sheer luck, one of the days I had planned to visit, mom got a call from grandma saying she had gotten food poisoning from eating strawberries.


The smell of vanilla gives me a headache. I love vanilla bean ice cream, but the artificial fragrance is too much... places it back on the counter.


It's getting close to winter, I need to stock up on lotion and chap-stick. This new White Citrus smells pretty good, I'm impressed.

Yuletide Pear Vanilla

Now why ruin a perfectly good holiday with vanilla?

The Places

Dancing Waters

There's something special about water, our very bodies are seventy-percent water, and the clear opacity of water is almost something out of a sci-fi movie. Watching it swish around a bowl, or pour from a glass, or, if you're lucky, reflect a sun rise as the calm waves seem to glimmer and dance—it's so beautiful you wonder how something so simple as water can be so amazing.

Thunderous Ocean

Westcoast girl born and raised. I'm tired of lakes and rocks--give me warm sand in between my toes, salt on my tongue, and a boogieboard (bodyboard).

Moonlight Path

Once when I was about fourteen, I woke up to the sounds of my Mom and her boyfriend, my stepdad Phil, duking it out on their bed. I sighed, slipped my shoes on, and went outside until it was finished. Luckily, it was a warm summer night. I spent a good hour looking up at the moon and wondering if all adults are this inconsiderate. Now, nineteen and soon to be twenty, I understand a little more.

Strobelight Walk

When I was nineteen I visited the Necto Club in Ann Arbor with some friends. It was goth/punk day, so everyone was wearing black Lolita clothes and chains. Me in my light-up black cat shirt and jeans seemed too preppy to these guys. But my boyfriend, Austin, just jumped onto the dance floor and dragged me with him. It took a while for my muscles to loosen up, and before midnight I was jumping up and down while he unbuttoned his shirt and bared his chest. Then my friend Jackie got up on one of the dance poles, and I followed soon after.

Cotton Blossom

Some scents girls aren't supposed to talk about, but others a woman can. Like the scent of two bodies between the sheets, and the discovery of one's sexuality amidst awkward touching and poking. I had a discussion with one of my coworkers while we were cleaning the grill about the morals of living together with my boyfriend before we're married.

“Don't you want to experience the excitement of buying stuff for your house? It's so cute when married couples go out shopping.”

I don't see how dating couples are any less cute.

Velvet Husk

My grandma on my father's side died when I was three. She was cremated to the Japanese tradition, and my mom tells me I was there, but I don't remember any of it. I only have a photograph of her, perhaps the last. Grandpa is sitting on the right, Grandma on the left, and I'm being held between them. Hawaiian mountains are in the background. Grandma, if you were alive today, would you be proud of me?

Twilight Woods

Even the word "twilight" gets me on edge. I don't want to read it, look at it, or see another trailer of it on TV. And "twilight" used to have a good connotation too...

Dawn Tree

I'm writing a book. It isn't finished yet, and I don't expect it to be until well into my life. It will be the compilation of all the philosophies on the human condition, including existentialism, faith, love, hate, war, etc. Life in short. And it's going to be a sci-fi.

The Others

Black Amethyst

My brother was born on October 25th, 1992. He was eleven pounds (I don't know how my mom did it). Now, Jared is a few inches taller than me, half my weight, and I'm cursing the gods of genetics.

Blue Topaz

I was born on December 10th, 1989. I was around nine pounds, and now not only am I heavier than my brother while being shorter, but I'm also not as good at math.

P.S. I Love You

My first boyfriend and I lived around two thousand miles apart. I was going to high school in Michigan, he was entering college in Oregon. From the beginning it was doomed to fail, I can see that now. In our emails to each other, when we were still content in just experiencing the feeling of being in a relationship, we would always write a post script. Most often than not, it would be “P.S. I love you so much!”

P.S. I Hate You

I lost a friend over the summer. Lily was her name, and she didn't die. She had been with me for a good eight months before she went studying abroad in Japan, then miscommunication made me jealous, which made her angry, which made her say things to get me angry, which ended it. Her last words to me were through email, even though I begged to talk to her on the phone. But, she goes to the same school as me, and I see her now without having the luxury to talk to her anymore.

Unless You Buy

"I'm not going to go, unless you buy." I once said to my second boyfriend, my current boyfriend, when I was visiting during the summer time. I closed my mouth in ashamed. The icing on the cake was his reply,

"Then I'll pay for it." He's working as a lifeguard with $9,000 in loans to pay off before he can go back to college.

Unless We Marry

Austin's family is too confusing. His mother welcomes me into her home, but then says I'm not truly family until I marry her son. Then what am I? A "close" friend? Plus, they don't let him drive their cars, even though he's twenty-four and has had his license for over a year now. Austin and I are now thinking of living together next year, and his mom has said if he isn't out by next year she'll kick him out. My coworker won't like it, we're not married yet, but who cares.

Zealous Dreams

I write because I cannot speak. I love because I cannot like. I dream because I cannot do. But I try, asking my mom if God would let me write in Heaven.

I think I'll buy this one.

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