the scent of spring?

Sakura season is here. The cherry blossoms are celebrating life just as the state of emergency for the Tokyo area came to an end this week; I sense the hope in people as they gather in groups, anticipating the arrival of summer. In many ways it feels like previous years. Except for the masks; trying to enjoy spring behind a mask is, I feel, a little bit like trying to enjoy a glass of wine without opening the wine bottle – only the strong scent of spiraea has yet managed to reach my sense of smell.

Having been deprived of many of the pleasures of scent that I normally would appreciate (or loathe for that matter) imagine my surprise today when I went to the toilet and was overwhelmed by a smell that I can liken to a combination of undiluted rose-water and day-old cooking exhaust. My first reaction was that suddenly my sense of smell must have improved hundred fold over night, letting me experience subtle scents that normally is beyond detection by a human being. My second thought, coming down from my hubris trip, was that there must be something wrong with the ventilation system, taking the air from outside into the toilet instead of the opposite, filling the room with the scent of spring mixed with our neighbor‘s cooking. My third thought was that both above mentioned options seemed equally far fetched, so I started to smell around only to find that this scent seemed to originate from the toilet paper.

When I wrote about toilet paper one year ago, I thought that would be the first and last time a blog post would be focused on toilet paper, but circumstances it would seem have coerced me to write another one. When I was a child I was fascinated by my friends parents always buying pink toilet paper or toilet paper with little graphic illustrations; at home we always had plain white toilet paper, so the existence of decorated paper fascinated me. Growing up I have experienced many different kinds of toilet paper – hard, soft, one layer, two layers, bleached, unbleached, thin, thick, decorated with little lambs, plain white, plain pink, and many many more. But as far as I can remember, until now, I have never encountered one that was scented. Hating both rose water and day-old cooking exhaust, having managed to accidentally buy stinky toilet paper and now spending my days in a small apartment filled with 12 rolls – what to do? Masks of course! Maybe I will start wearing one at home as well.

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