Monday, March 07, 2005

Evoking childhood memories...

Last night, I had the strangest dream about Benny Olin. Benny Olin was my 4th grade 'boyfriend'. My classmates from Nagoya International School might disagree, but to me, Benny was my boyfriend. He was the cutest blond boy I'd ever seen in that neck of the woods in Japan, with bright blue eyes and a sweet shy smile. There was one problem in our relationship. He didn't speak a lick of English or Japanese, and I didn't speak any Finnish.

I hadn't thought of Benny in a long, long time, and to be honest, all I can remember of him is his face in one picture I had of him for a long while after he left Japan. I have bits and pieces of memories of him, like how valiantly he fought back when taunted by the Japanese kids for his inability to communicate and how he tirelessly tried to communicate his point across to me with those big blue eyes staring into me. Benny Olin. I wonder where he is now.

I was trying to think what brought about this dream about him, and I think it's because of the Japanese strawberry shortcake I had for my little sister's birthday this weekend. The Papa Bear brought home a typical Japanese-family-size strawberry shortcake from Clover Bakery in San Jose.


The Japanese shortcake is nothing like the dense biscuit shortcakes. Clover's cake is about 8 inches or so, and has a very delicate light whipped cream with just a hint of sweetness. The sponge cake is airy like a pillow after sun bathing for an entire sunny summer day. And Clover's is very typically Japanese.

My family owns a small company in Japan, and every year, it is their tradition to give out strawberry shortcakes for Christmas. For some reason, these cakes are as traditional on Christmas as turkeys in the US are at Thanksgiving. Every child dreams of a 'Christmas Cake'. I would always be back in Japan for Christmas and New Years, and it was one thing I truly looked forward to about being in Japan. Everyone in my family brought one home, and because I stayed with my grandparents (who lived with my aunt & uncle), I ended up with three Christmas cakes every year. These would be piled up by the stairway in the back by the garage, and I would find myself wandering towards the cakes for a bit every few hours. One time, I actually ate 80% of the cake in one sitting! Oh, the childhood memories...

Interestingly, one of the most cruel things they say in Japan involves a Christmas cake, where the men joke around by saying that how women are like Christmas Cakes. They are become desirable around the 24th, peaking at the 25th, and slowly declines in desirability, until they turn 31, after which no one wants to have anything to do with them. I guess I should count my blessings that I am not in Japan...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh my! it's my birthday soon, i sure wish i could have one of these as my cake! this or an ice cream cake would make me so happy ;-)

i wish i could try the one your family made

thanks for your beautiful pic's!