A BLUE AND WHITE BIRTHDAY

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Birthdays and trips to Okinawa need to be planned carefully. In order to start the day perfectly, you must avoid arriving on Thursdays or Sunday because that is when OTonariya in Yomitan, not far from the pottery kilns, is closed. They sell out early, so be sure you get there early enough in order to start the day with a slice of their freshly baked rosemary bread. A blueberry bagel, maybe? Some crunchy oatmeal, whole wheat and nut bread . . .

沖縄旅行での特別な一日を完璧にするためには、予定をしっかり立てなければいけ
ません。
沖縄への到着日は木曜と日曜を避けましょう。でないと、読谷村にあるパン屋「おとなりや」が閉まっています。そこのパンはあっという間に売り切れるので、美味しい美味しいパンで一日の始まりを迎えるには、売り切れる前の余裕を持った時間に訪れる事をおすすめします。

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Some birthdays call for less fanfare, more quiet and even unplanned observance with family and friends, in beautiful spaces and favorite places. This year was just that. A spontaneous trip to Okinawa to stay with my dear friend and bask in the glory of her heavenly house was the perfect setting.

An ancient banyan tree inherited from an older friend stands guard at the gate and protects the house and all who enter.

時に誕生日のファンファーレは少なく、静かに予定も立てずに友人や家族と、大好きな美しい場所で過ごす場合もあるでしょう。今年の誕生日がまさにそうでした。タイミングが重なり訪れる事になった今回の沖縄旅行は、親愛なる友人の天国の様な邸宅に滞在し、最高のスケジュールでした。

a-blue-and-white-birthday3Old roof tiles saved by master plasterer and roofer KumamotoTsutomu san crown the stunning architecture and the final touch was a guardian Shiza, or lion dog made of broken pieces of tile and plaster, strategically placed to repel evil spirits.

The house is without equal, in my albeit limited experience, in setting, and architecture, craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail – all the best of Okinawa, an enchanted, if abused southern island of Japan.

古い屋根瓦は左官職人であり屋根職人であるクマモトツトム氏により手入れされており、屋根のてっぺんには最後の仕上げともいうべく魔除けのシーサー、あるいはライオン犬がタイルと石工で作られ、収められています。

私の経験上ではありますが、家というものは、家具の立て付けや職人による細部のこだわりや、建築物それ自体に同じものはありません。魔法がかけられたかのような、かつ取り残されたかのような日本の南の島、沖縄のすばらしさでしょう。

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The garden is a sumptuous mix of lush tropical vegetation deftly marked with old steps of old coral and stone and ancient coral rocks.

To walk outside in the garden to the beach is to be wrapped in voluptuous green as the breath stopping view of the sea below unfolds on your way down to a perfect white beach.

庭には綺麗に植えられた熱帯植物が茂り、階段には贅沢に、古い珊瑚、石、珊瑚岩が敷かれています。

庭から海岸へ抜ける際には官能的な緑に包まれ、そこを抜けると息が止まるほどの真っ白い海辺が広がります。

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Looking back from your swim, the magnificent view of the meeting of green jungle vegetation on steep coral cliffs, and white sand beach with the gentle blue sea begs description.

海水浴から戻り振り返ると、珊瑚の崖の緑のジャングルに出会いその先に白い砂の浜辺と穏やかな青い海が広がります。

The beach itself is studded with otherworldly stands of tall pocked coral that seem like abstract sculptures on the white sand. And a swim in the azure ocean is a soft embrace of the clear water, with a magnificent view of the place where green jungle vegetation meets soft white sand beach and blue green sea.

海辺自体は、白い砂で出来た抽象的な彫刻の様な、穴ぼこだらけのせの高い珊瑚が広がっています。そこに、緑のジャングルと柔らかな白い海辺が出会う空色の海での海水浴。綺麗な水に柔らかく包み込まれます。

The birthday lunch was arranged at Fu-An, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, in an old Okinawan minka with a seemingly unkempt, but in fact artfully arranged aesthetic that captivates me each time I visit. Kinjo Dan is the young owner and chef of Fu An who has been collecting the ceramics of his favorite potter and mine, Omine Jissei, and serves his original  cuisine of mostly Okinawan vegetables on Omine san’s works. We were 5 and Dan san kept serving an endless procession of glorious new cuisine on an amazing array of platters and dishes that were different for each guest.

誕生日のランチは世界中のレストランの中でも最も大好きな一軒。風庵にて。沖縄の古民家で、一見ぼろいようで実は巧みにアレンジされた美学がちりばめられていて、訪れるたびに魅了されます。

若いオーナーシェフの金城男(きんじょうだん)氏は、私も彼も大好きな陶芸家、大嶺實清氏の陶芸を収集しており、彼はそれらを使い、主に沖縄で採れる野菜をふんだんに使った彼独自の料理を出しています。

私たちは5名で店を訪れ、男さんは私たちに信じられない数多くの異なったお皿と、またしても驚くような新しく素晴らしいお料理を、果てしなく続く行列のようにおもてなしてくださいました。

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There was even a sign to declare the occasion. So typically thoughtful of Dan san.

誕生会のサインもあります。本当に思いやりが行き届いている男さん。

a-blue-and-white-birthday7Omine san’s signature Shiza were watching over our feasting.

大嶺氏の代名詞でもあるシーサーが私たちの食事を見守ります。

a-blue-and-white-birthday8Astonishing vegetable sushi.

驚きの野菜寿司。

a-blue-and-white-birthday9The delicious combination of grated local vegetables in a cup and saucer that fused in the firing is a taste and feeling to remember.

ティーセットに入れられた、地元の野菜を混ぜ合わせたソースを使った一品。

味と食感がすぐに思い出せます。

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a-blue-and-white-birthday11One of a kind matching of dish and organic cuisine.

器とオーガニック料理がマッチしているユニークな一品。

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a-blue-and-white-birthday13Food and presentation for all the senses.

お料理も盛りつけにも男さんの光るセンスが溢れています。

a-blue-and-white-birthday14Surprising  swirl of soba!

そばの渦に驚き!

a-blue-and-white-birthday15Birthday cake supreme by Toguchi Kyoko, with blueberry and yoghurt icing on a loopy cut out platter by Omine Jissei.

戸口きょうこ氏が作ってくれた、ブルーベリーとヨーグルトのアイシングがされた誕生日ケーキ。穴が開いたお皿も大嶺實清作。

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The grand finale of a magnificent lunch was the gift of a hauntingly beautiful blue black tea cup from Omine Jissei. Its deeply penetrating luster had a mystery about it, and its sensuous shape was one I will never let go of. Omine san had given me a box of Okinawan vegetables at the beginning of our lunch, so I never dreamed of receiving such a treasure as this…

素晴らしい昼食のフィナーレを飾ったのは、大嶺實清氏からの湯のみでした。

神秘的な深い光沢そして形。生涯手放さない物の一つとなりました。

ランチの前に、彼から箱一杯の沖縄野菜を頂いたのでまさかこんな宝物を頂けるとは夢にも思いませんでした…

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And then to top it off, I returned to small blue and white wonders in Tokyo!

そして東京のBlue&Whiteの世界に戻ってきました!

Original first ever cupcakes made by son Toshi who had never tried his hand at any baking other than chocolate chip cookies. He had hurried home from an important business meeting to make these delicacies for our dinner. They were not only works of art, but also utterly delicious, and made from scratch from an ancient family cookbook. How sweet is that!

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And later still, a possible world first!

その後も続きます、世界には可能性が!

An original innovation of blue dyed eggs wound in swirls of rice and wrapped in seaweed. Blue and white makizushi with blue eggs. A wonderful surprise from young neighbors Shuetsu Udono and his partner, Kumiko.

斬新なアイディアで、卵を着色料で青くし、のりで巻いた Blue&White 巻き寿司です。若いご近所さんの宇土野シュウエツとパートナーのクミコからの素敵なサプライズでした。

A BIRTHDAY SUPREME IN EVERY WAY !

色んなことが、誕生日を最高にします!

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4 Responses to A BLUE AND WHITE BIRTHDAY

  1. pam newton says:

    Belated Happy Birthday! With many thanks for the gorgeous tour — place food ceramics all! Wow!

  2. Barbara says:

    Oh My! What a wonderful tour both of beautiful surroundings, but wonderful food. Your descriptions were poetic as were the photos. Blessings on your birthday and wonderful friends and family to help you celebrate. Blessings, dear friend.
    Barb

  3. AS ALWAYS DEAR BARB, YOU WARM MY COCKLES – WHEREVER THEY ARE !

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