Monday, November 10, 2008
After a fishy dinner of miso soup, seaweed salad, a combination platter of sushi rolls and sashimi, you're satiated and grateful the meal has come to a close. Your credit card is returned with the receipt to be signed and one for your records. But that is not all, a little gift from Japan accompanies the padded vinyl folder. Each guest at your table is given a tiny box.
This would not be easily confused with the peppermint starlight mint that always upon a time appeared on the table when the check was returned. This is an entirely different token of appreciation for your patronage.
Each diminutive box is boldly decorated with a large scaled image of a familar fruit and clearly marked BUBBLE GUM. After carefully unwrapping the clear cellophane that seals the gift, one can open a flap to reveal 4 spherical balls.
The gum is made by the Marukawa Confectionery Company, Ltd in Nagoya, Japan and is available, hence popular, with children (and select sushi restaurant patrons) all over the world. The company was founded in 1888 and started making gum in 1948.
The fruit flavors -- strawberry, orange, grape and melon -- are convincing and the texture is delightful. It is easy to blow a bubble with only one piece, although you may not be able to resist adding a second gumball or more from your box.
Still, the packaging is so charming and distinctive that it's tempting to just keep the whole gift intact -- a little reminder of our fascination with things small and beautiful.