It was just so incongruous.
The plainness of the staff room; the unflinching familiarity. The piles of papers; documents, notebooks, registers, files – and then, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the heart-lifting smell of a celestial osmanthus: an alabaster Athena bathed in cold-cream.
And all this, coming seemingly- bizarrely- from the direction of one head of English and master Japanese grammarian – : personable, steadfast and doggedly diligent, ( who even I as a native speaker have consulted upon occasion about some fine points of English structure) -but certainly not necessarily known for his perfume, or his glamour.
It is strange in those moments when you are lost in dour thoughts, or dull thoughts, or just practical, work-based thoughts, but then a scent just comes over you like a bolt from the blue and your deeper, more crystalline inner self is somehow unlocked in a special moment of pure sensuousness; when, for a few seconds , you can think of nothing at all but oh my god, what the hell is that smell (and where can I get it?)
Clearly demonstrating the comparative nonchalance in Japan of most men towards what is traditionally considered to be masculine or not (because let’s face it, your average guy in his late-fifties approaching retirement age in most countries is not going to consciously reach for a hand cream entitled ‘Body Fantasies: : You Wanna Shampoo? ‘), but presumably, in the spirit of economizing – having randomly or otherwise obliviously bought this at Daiso, one of the cut-price Japanese equivalents of Walmart, this ‘veteran teacher’ had just bought it on a whim thinking ‘my hands are dry: this’ll do’, then, one fine day when the moment was ready, proceeded to generously squeeze some of the highly, very highly perfumed cream onto his hands one afternoon, not realizing that, from the olfactory point of view, in that particular room, this was a take over.
I was completely entranced. And naturally, immediately inquired what this heavenly substance was, trying not to smile too much when I saw the name on the label. “I’ll get you some the next time” was his kind response, and I was in fact given a tube of my very own at the beginning of this week.
Now, let’s not get carried away.
This is, simply, nothing more than a typical, girly, fruity hand cream. To you, it might ‘just smell like an American teenager’. Nothing special. So don’t go ordering a whole warehouse of the stuff just because of this review. But to me, it smells just so lovely. Osmanthus, topped with fresh raspberries; the freshness of Calyx by Prescriptives, but with a more shadowy undertone of vintage Cristalle Chanel ( I am quite taken with those more troubled, and lingering aftereffects). Just a clean, ‘handcreamy’ scent, yes – but as I applied just a little to my fingertips yesterday; let it touch brush past my temples, I must say that when I went out into the sunny, Autumnal afternoon — I was on Cloud Nine.