Choose your scent; Discover your individuality

Choose your own scents and create a sachet that exudes your individuality;
a packet of calm for when our fast-paced society fries your mind.

Take your pick: Star anise, warming and bittersweet...
Indonesian cloves, spicy and stimulating...
Or maybe cinnamon, the “magic medicine” from the mainland, refreshingly bitter...
What about Indian sandalwood, made from trees aged over sixty years before giving off that mellow scent?
There’s also sweet borneol, which was used long ago in sumie painting...
All these scents can be found everywhere in our daily lives.

Takazawa Rosoku’s proprietress says that in the aroma industry, “smelling” is akin to “hearing” a melody. She says the most important moment is the satisfaction of detecting the base tone - the core scent.
I pick a scent and take three scoops, then take two scoops of another scent, then I start refining my sachet one scoop at a time.
Lastly, I add a little borneol, then mix them together.
I can take as much as I want from the finished blend.
I test the scent; it’s not quite right yet. So I add one more scoop of my favorite scent.
If something feels off, I can add borneol a teaspoon at a time.
Once I’ve perfected my personal scent, I’ll carefully insert the blend into a small bag.

I see vivid satchels and strings made from high-quality Noto hemp lining the store.
I pick the ones I like, and tie the whole thing together with a butterfly knot.

And there it is: My one and only scent sachet.

The longer you take creating it, the more it gradually changes.
My sachet is one-of-a-kind, and it brings me peace today.

Takazawa Rosoku opened their scent sachet experience the year after the first hanayome noren exhibition.
The owner tells me they wanted to play to their own strengths.

She said that the many proprietresses of Ipponsugi Street came together thanks to the noren exhibition.
I felt calmer just from hearing her story, and it wasn’t just because of my scent sachet. Her gentle character just washed over all of us.
A Nanao native, born and raised, she married at a time when one could find hanayome noren in kimono fabric catalogues. She did not want to burden her parents financially for an item that would only be used once in a lifetime. “I don’t need one,” she told her mother. But then her mother retorted, “That won’t do at all.”

And so it was that her mother chose the noren.
The proprietress doesn’t remember much about when she crossed the noren herself. Nanao brides were already few in those days, with most people marrying into Nanao from faraway places. One day, while loaning her noren to another family, it disappeared.
She took that opportunity to have a chat with a local elderly lady.
She had many siblings, and though her family was poor, her mother had still prepared a bridal noren for her.
It used to be that women couldn’t return to their family homes after marriage. Even if their house was nearby, they couldn’t visit their parents. They would console themselves by caressing their cherished hanayome noren.
Upon hearing that story, the Takazawa Rosoku owner wished she’d cherished her mother’s feelings better. Then she thought about her only daughter:
“I don’t know where she’ll be married,” she mused. “It could be Africa, or some other faraway country. I want her to stay strong no matter where she goes.”
She held that wish in her heart for a long time.
When it was finally time for her daughter to marry, she’d decided on the pattern for her hanayome noren:
“I chose a carp streamer swimming in the sky. I wanted to use an image she’d like, and since she was born on May 5th, I thought it would be fitting.” May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan, and on that day carp-shaped windsocks are traditionally flown.
The final product was a bigger hit than she’d imagined.
A carp representing the next generation swims in a sky that symbolizes society. The craftspeople who created the noren put their own feelings into it. Before she realized it, tears were streaming down her face.
Her daughter was overjoyed, and on her wedding day she crossed beneath the noren at the ceremonial hall. The master of ceremonies was knowledgeable about noren, and he explained the significance of the rite with an amazing gusto.

She’s living in Tokyo now, and every year without fail, she reportedly hangs her hanayome noren one week before and after her birthday. Days when the noren decorates her house are those of remembrance for her wedding, and of gratitude for her parents.

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