Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Some Spice

Over the weekend, I had lunch with some California friends and recounted my tale of discovering a pile of discarded marijuana leaves in the woods. We were eating Japanese food. One of us picked up a bottle of shichimi, which is a kind of seven-seed-powder used for spicing up food, and noodles in particular. Did you know, said my friend, that in Japan, shichimi has hemp seeds? When they make this stuff for export, they have to keep out the hemp seeds.

I thought of the little bamboo container of shichimi I had bought from some famous store in Kyoto under my friend Isao's instruction--when it comes to food, I always do as he says. I'm still a goody-goody, you see, and so I paled. But I brought shichimi into this country. Authentic shichimi.

That's okay, I was told. They just can't import it. And then he went on to tell me about a friend who used to go to ramen houses, and pour out the shichimi on the table, just to pick out the hemp seeds. I was very embarrassed for this friend. But then I tend to get embarrassed on behalf of people who confuse pretension with enlightenment.

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