“One day a minister brought the Empress a bundle of notebooks.
‘What shall we do with them?’ Her Majesty asked me. ‘The Emperor already has enough.’
‘Let me make them into a pillow,’ I said.
“Very well,” said her Majesty. “You may have them.”
I now have a vast quantity of paper at my disposal and I set about filling the notebooks with odd facts, stories from the past, and all sorts of other things, often including the most trivial material.”
I have set my table with modern, ancient objects that might have delighted her:
- Wrinkled momi paper representing a flowing river
- Unpainted wooden table
- Unpainted wooden cup filled with ink
- Bamboo straw with a paper umbrella
- Eating utensils of chopsticks and calligraphy brush resting on an old-fashioned comb and a coaster of black origami
- Tablecloth of mulberry paper with flowing hiragana and kanji script
- Tray of sandalwood Buddhist prayer beads and incense
- Paper boat carrying chiyogami wrapped clams
- Shuttlecocks on a plate made of banana leaves
- A tiny tin of rouge