Monday, August 24, 2020

知り合いの方から京都松栄堂のお香を送っていただきました。お香は好きで時々焚いては楽しんでいますが夏場の夜はもっぱら蚊取り線香が必需品で風情ない香りながらも仕方なく付き合っています。ですから久々のお香にしかも今回のように渦巻き状になったものは初めてで心が躍りました。お香について私は素人で詳しいことは分かりませんが、ボストンにいた時お香に詳しい方がいらしてその方のご縁で私の職場の大学にも京都から(松栄堂の方だったかと)何人か招いてお香を鼻で聞き当てる室町時代からの「組香」という遊びをしていただき学生たちと一緒に楽しんだことがあります。日本には香道という芸道があり、その時お香の嗅ぎ方なども教えていただきましたが、5種類ほどのお香の中から最初に嗅いだお香を当てるのは私には至難の技だったことを覚えています。今回いただいた「方輪堀川」というのは新しいお香ですが火をつけて午前中の自然の風が庭から入る和室に置くと何とも良い香りが家中に漂い身も心も落ち着いた贅沢な気分になります。こんなに涼しくて良い香りの所へお客様がいらっしゃれば最高のおもてなしになるのに…と一人至福の時間を過ごしています。One of my acquaintances sent incense from the old shop "Shoyeido" in Kyoto. I like to appreciate incense but during the summer I use mosquito coils daily in the night for necessity even though it is not an enjoyable fragrance. When I received the nice incense and they were coils which I haven't had before, I was very happy to have them. I don't have much knowledge about Japanese incense, but when I was in Boston and working at Wellesley College, there was a person who knew about Japanese incense very much and she introduced us to incense professionals from Kyoto (they were probably from Shoeido). They showed us traditional incense play and I enjoyed it with our students. Japanese people have been using incense since the arrival of Buddhism and people developed a way to appreciate the fragrance called Koh-do as a Japanese art like tea ceremony and flower arrangement in the Muromachi period (about 600 years ago). In the game which is called "Kumi Koh", we distinguish the different types of incense by sniffing several incenses. I remember it was very hard for me to point out the first one I sniffed among others. The incense I received this time is called "HORIN Horikawa" which is described as "offering a modern twist on the ancient art of incense appreciation". I lit the incense and put it in a corner of the Japanese room. Everywhere was filled with a nice incense fragrance and I felt so calm and nice there with the morning cool air coming from the garden. I wish the customers of the cafe would experience such a gorgeous feeling.