Some things are much more expensive in Japan. Essential oils (especially if imported, : Tisserand, Neal’s Yard – about three times the usual price); fruit; fish; airline tickets (rigged so you pay twice what you would pay flying from the UK ; usually it costs about $2000). Perfume. Books. Conversely, eating out is incomparable in terms of quality to most other countries and often far cheaper, so it is actually often more economical to go to restaurants than assemble your own ingredients – the reason we only really cook at weekends. Duncan eats out every single night after work, and could probably write a guide to the best Italian and Indian local restaurants, the local Japanese ‘curry rice’ joints, Chinese eateries; noodle bars and soba shops.
In terms of what I spend money on, oils are a life necessity for me. If am on a tight budget one month, I still have to factor in these as necessary purchases, for baths; general health and leg pain relief – my mood is also infinitely better when teaching as though I get an entire relaxing and tuning up of my physiognomy. We actually lost the bath plug ( I know : how?) in the summer, so it was months of showers only before we got round to buying another one. But when we did, I could hardly believe how different I would feel for the rest of the day, particularly if I had used eucalyptus or bergamot: serener, more balanced and unified. Like a different person.
As ‘luxury purchases’ for perfume, I use only the essential oils of patchouli and vetiver. Patchouli as incense, vetiver oil as skin scent. The particular vetiver I was discussing in the last post in my ‘Dirty Weekend’ — Katy, as you asked – is this 5ml of Javan origin from Japanese make Aroma Bloom – pricey perhaps at about ¥1800, but as it is so concentrated it lasts quite a while and totally wearable; AMAZING on coats and sweaters and hidden in trousers – to me this is my ‘underlay’ of vetiver scent; if I wake up feeling minimalist on a particular day I need no perfume; just nature outside and the deepening earth-wood-grassy note as it maturates on either my clothes or the body. Equally, , it goes perfectly with other perfumes ; for contrast (but perfectly complementing). I particularly enjoyed this oil the other day, with a silvery, soapy vintage Rive Gauche extrait.