It has been a WILD week – the ascension of the new Emperor to the throne of Japan has brought in a ten day holiday for the majority of the country – and the last five or six days have been very intense and bizarre (for another post)…
Today, exhausted, I decided to take a bath in the pau rosa or rosewood oil, a present that my friend had brought back from a trip to the Amazon last month, bought from a floating market just down from the river from Manaus in Brazil, the town that famously has an opera house in the middle of the rain forest (famously captured fictionally in the brilliant, if utterly deranged, film by Werner Herzog from 1982, Fitzcarraldo).
This is a very beautiful rosewood essential oil, albeit drowned in a carrier oil I can’t quite place, but it certainly is, as it says on the bottle, great for aches and pains, and was very relaxing. I am now also wearing an old perfume by L’Occitane, Rosewood, which is clearly inspired by the original Feminite Du Bois, by Shiseido, which I have also put on and am enjoying……there is something about the fresh, almost spicy floral scent of rosewood oil, with its huge percentage of linalool (apparently this is an essential ingredient of Chanel No 5, I hadn’t known), that is unlike anything else. These perfumes take me back to my first few months in Japan; the smoothness of temple wood in the Autumn sunshine…..
It is also strange that as a child, for no discernible reason, I developed an obsession with the Amazon and once wrote off to the Brazilian embassy in London for leaflets and pamphlets all about Brazil. They came, in a huge manila envelope, and I would pore over them incessantly, memorizing facts, and assuming that one day I would go there. As it happened, I did get a job in Recife, and was considering going, but I had met Duncan, and couldn’t do it. Instead, I went the opposite end of the emotional cultural spectrum, and ended up here, in Japan.