two chocolate moustaches and a solar eclipse

21May12

Today’s annular solar eclipse reached its peak in Osaka at 7:30 in the morning so I set my alarm for 7:15, crawled out of bed, clutched for a couple of cameras, and stepped outside to see what I could see.  Though it was mostly cloudy yesterday, with a little bit of rain predicted for the late afternoon today, the period during which the solar eclipse could be seen was almost miraculously clear.  Most people view solar eclipses using pinhole projectors but I had completely forgotten about the eclipse until just before falling asleep the night before and so had no time before waking up to poke myself a decent hole.  Luckily for me, however, the magnolia tree in my yard ended up functioning perfectly as a kind of chlorophyll-powered, multi-lens solar projection device and I was able to see the shape of the eclipsing sun multiplied across the wall at the back of the yard, almost as if viewing the eclipse through insect eyes.  The swaying of the tree in the breeze produced a strangely undersea effect — the feeling of watching illuminated jellyfish slowly pulsing somewhere in the void.

Unfortunately, neither of the cameras that I had with me were any good for shooting the eclipse directly, so after taking a few shots of the beautiful shadow patterns being thrown on the wall I decided to make the most of a slightly-less-bright than usual morning and go back to sleep.  I wondered if the eclipse would produce a batch of unusually strange dreams, but if it did I can’t remember any of them.  However, just last week I had a remarkably detailed and wonderfully odd dream involving Tom Hanks and a brace of chocolate moustaches.  The dream runs as follows:

I’ve just stepped out of my apartment — a two-story apartment located in either San Francisco or Oakland — when I stumble upon a street stall selling beautiful handmade chocolates.  Many of the chocolates are in the shape of moustaches (the classic handlebar style), and I’m just about to move on when I see Tom Hanks in front of me buying a chocolate moustache.  I look at the moustaches more closely and notice how fresh the chocolate looks.  I decide to buy two: one dark chocolate moustache, and one that is a pinkish red color that makes it look like a chili pepper.

As I’m purchasing the moustaches I say to the person working at the register, “That’s the second time Tom Hanks has convinced me to buy a chocolate moustache.”  The woman at the register looks shocked.  “That was Tom Hanks?” she asks.  “I thought he was just some guy.”  It’s clear that the other customers in the area are just as surprised, one even going to far as to explain the he expected a person like Hanks to have a bodyguard and a limousine.  As another person in the line is quick to point out, however, “If Tom Hanks went around in a limousine that would draw more attention than just walking around as if he were a normal person.  This way, he can stay invisible.”

I walk up the street and start eating my chocolates, but they’ve changed.  Now they are in wrappers, and the flavors are different.  The first is still made from soft, raw, dark chocolate, but with a cherry flavor.  The cherry flavor is from real black cherries and is very subtle (part of the flavoring is in the form of a slick gel, riding just under the skin of the chocolate).  The second chocolate is flavored with a wild berry found only in Germany.  The berry, which I can see in my head, looks like a miniature ear of corn, but in the brightest blue imaginable.  Somehow an explanation about the chocolate is being narrated directly into my mind.  “We wanted to create a surprising flavor, so we used a berry never used in making chocolate before.”  The berry flavor in the second moustache is also subtle and tastes very natural.  Both of the chocolate moustaches are entirely delicious.



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