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A Leisurely Day in May: Pancakes, Flowers, and a Modest Barbecue

May has arrived, and in Japan, it’s a period where holidays overlap, resulting in the potential for a 10-day consecutive holiday. For me, it’s a combination of a 3-day break, followed by a 3-day work stretch, and then another 4-day break. Today marks the first day of the 4-day break for me.

I returned to my parents’ house, where I tackled tasks such as weeding the garden, per my mother’s request, and putting up nets for shade for the bitter gourds in preparation for summer.

Around noon, my brother also returned home. His wife and children didn’t accompany him as they had other errands to attend to.

With the three of us together, we decided to make the most of the extended holiday period without venturing far. So, we opted for a leisurely outing within a 15-minute drive from home.

First, we visited a pancake café nearby, which seemed daunting for a lone male to enter. While we knew of its existence in the neighborhood, such local joints weren’t usually our go-to spots. My brother and I ordered pancakes while my mother opted for a strawberry shake-like drink.

Initially, my mother found her strawberry drink lacking sweetness, almost tasteless. When my brother and I took a sip, it barely had any flavor. Soon, our pancakes arrived, adorned with what seemed like ample whipped cream. However, upon tasting, they were surprisingly not sweet.

Puzzled, we wondered aloud about the lack of sweetness in the pancakes. Then my brother noticed something on the menu: “No caramel syrup!”

He promptly called the waiter, who apologized for forgetting the syrup.

By drizzling the syrup over the pancakes, they finally transformed into deliciously sweet treats. We chuckled, reaffirming that syrup was indeed what made pancakes enjoyable. It was akin to having a car without gasoline or a café au lait without coffee—utterly nonsensical analogies filled our conversation.

Ultimately, the three of us had a delightful time enjoying our pancakes.

Afterwards, we strolled to a flower shop located 500 meters away, followed by a visit to “Mori-an,” a bakery-cum-café nestled about 2 kilometers from the flower shop. Despite our rural hometown, Mori-an was surprisingly popular. By afternoon, most of their bread had sold out. However, we were able to enjoy coffee and pastries in the serene countryside setting of their open-air café. It was astonishing to find such a tourist-worthy spot just a short drive from home.

Japan’s current weather is delightful. Soon, June will bring the rainy season, followed by the scorching heat of July, a brief and comfortable autumn due to global warming, and finally, the cold, bitter winter. Considering this, May’s weather is indeed a blessing.

After relaxing at Mori-an, the three of us headed to AEON shopping mall to purchase barbecue ingredients before returning home.

Back home, our father joined us, and the four of us had a modest barbecue. This time, neither my brother’s nor my own family could join due to various commitments. It was an unusual barbecue without the presence of young children, but it turned out to be a laid-back affair without the need to worry about their safety.

Overall, today was a peaceful and leisurely day for us.

As for the soaring prices in the Akoya pearl industry, the future outlook remains uncertain. Chinese authorities have intensified crackdowns on the influx of pearls from Hong Kong, which was a common route for Akoya pearls to enter China, often to evade taxes. Additionally, the weakening economy in China has diminished the purchasing power of Chinese consumers for Akoya pearls. However, China is a vast country, and these observations may only apply to certain regions. Nonetheless, it’s highly likely that the inflated prices of Akoya pearls will decline in the future.

Fortunately for me, there’s been a gradual increase in demand for pearls within Japan. Since retiring from the pearl industry, I’ve been able to engage more freely with clients, alongside another unrelated job during weekdays. While time constraints still exist, I find this newfound flexibility advantageous for my trading activities.



I am part of a Japanese company with an Akoya pearl farm. Apart from the company, I personally run an Akoya pearl shop. I would appreciate it if I could share smiles with various people through pearls.

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