Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sugar Apple

Out of the house all day long, home late and not a whole lot buzzing around in my blogger’s head. But ideas have a way of peeping through humdrum thoughts and tinkling a bell. Inside, I tossed the keys on the table, took the usual stuff like pen, glasses, cell phone and book out of the tote bag and went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Standing with glass in hand, eyes roaming from a view of the rising tide and spotted toadstools springing up out of green grass, my eye caught the sugar bowl just two feet away resting on the ledge of the opening from kitchen to dining corner. Ah, there’s an idea…

How long ago it was has slipped my mind, but the sugar bowl is not a recent acquisition, to use a flowery word. Some years back, maybe ten or more, while walking in my Tokyo neighborhood I stopped in a favorite antique shop to browse with no plan or intention of buying anything. A few minutes later, in the back corner behind a table of incense bowls and on a cluttered shelf an ‘apple’ stood out from the two or three tea cups around it. Taking it down to look closely, I found it was a hand-carved and painted wooden apple with a removable lid and hollow center. The first thought that came to mind was ‘sugar bowl’ but still I asked the shop owner who was unable to pinpoint its original use.

Something tells me the apple is not too terribly old, maybe carved in the early twentieth century, and only now coming upon an age old enough to be considered an antique. But to my mind, whether it is an antique or not isn’t the important question. Clearly it is a unique piece not seen very often, but even more importantly, an apple of unusual charm and special beauty.

From the day I first brought it home the wooden apple has been my sugar bowl and I’ve never had a better one. Pretty good deal for a small price, and an enduring memory of the small dimly lit antique shop with its ginger coated tomcat around the corner from my longtime Tokyo home.


  1. Very nice post and a perfect use for your "special" purchase in Tokyo.nI'm trying to decide where the first picture in this post was taken. I can't identify the picket fence in the picture.

  2. Sometimes it takes so little to please us and that is a good thing. When my wife was working in Memphis for 3 years on Hurricane Katrina recovery, I would get up on a Saturday morning and hit a few garage sales or an estate sale--as much to give me something to do as anything else. Small found treasures (like a carved wooden apple) often give the biggest pleasures.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America