In a bite, a dream

Something beautiful and delicious happened tonight, at the most suburban and quotidian of places. A trip to Whole Foods yielded not just a head of red cabbage but a 4 pack of mochi.

We rarely buy this Japanese treat in Phoenix for the simple reason that it is often dried out, due either to our extreme desert climate or the time-delay effects of shipping the top stuff from California. After tonight, though, we stand corrected. Apparently, quality mochi does exist here. We just didn’t know where to look.

These mochi were soft. Supple. Moist. Delicate. Bursting with flavor. And as we drooled over each bite, we were reminded in a visceral way that we must find a way to get back to Japan. Because even if we can find these particular treats, doing so only reminds us of all that remains out of reach.

For although globalization allows us to sneak tastes and glimpses of faraway places, there is nothing like actually physically being somewhere. To hear the breeze whistle through the trees at Meiji Jingu. To feel the pulse of humanity in Shibuya. To stand before the wonder that is Asakusa. And to do it all before jetting off to Seoul, which has an even tighter grip on our hearts.

Such dreams cost money; alas we do not have a trip on the horizon. But tonight, in an unexpected but appreciated surprise, we were temporarily transported back. Three months to the day that our feet first carried us through customs at Narita. And for that, we are certainly lucky.

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