Friday, July 21, 2006

Eccentricity: The Durian

Maybe because it's a Friday afternoon and Yahantei are feeling a bit fatigued, what with the relentless hot weather and pitilessly blue empty skies, but I started to think about durians.

The durian is a kind of fruit that is popular in southeast Asia. It has an odor that can politely be best described as "powerful"--well, okay, even its fans admit it stinks. Some people hate it, but others absolutely love it. People in the UK speak of Marmite, people in Japan of nattou (smelly fermented bean product)--stuff you either crave or despise. I think that's kind of like the effect the durian has, although I believe it's far more fragrant than either of those things.

I can't help but think that early modern haikai poets would have liked the durian. It's got all the features of the haikaiesque--aromatic, slightly disreputable, questionable to the uninitiated but exquisite to those who've acquired the taste.

Here's a page by a deeply tragic durian fan.

Wishing everyone a good weekend.