In my house we revere the Edo era precepts. It was a more gentile appreciation of music, theater, and most of all honor. And it touched all phases of life--both in the military and in domestic life.
My wife has taken to gardening and landscaping lately. It has been a hard, back-breaking job that she loves with every bruise and pulled muscle. Most nights I have to get her back inside the house to eat something.
During this initial enterprise, she had trouble opening mulch bags, digging up thirty year old roots and replanting her beloved hostas. I told her the work would be easier if she mirrored the enlightened Japanese.
"For one thing," I proffered, "there's a tool for your agony. It is simply called a 'Japanese Garden Tool
"Does it have a motor on it?" she joked.
I shook my head, "No, it's like a bizarre shovel made out of cannibalized railroad tracks
. I'll get you one, and I have the Japanese implements to keep it working."
While she didn't believe me, I bought the tool, and refined the striking edges, the tip, and realigned the serrated edge. She was a different woman coming in that night.
She handed me the filthy tool and proudly snapped, "I did 17 bags of mulch! The sewn on re-enforcers just flew apart! Any root--even on a thorny hosta--was nothing!"
Then she stopped, "I might have dulled it, can it be repaired?"
"Of course," I comforted her, "It's just raw iron, probably over 150 years old. I'll clean the tool, soak it in butcher block oil, and sharpen it in the morning..."
"Great," she sighed, "I can't work without that tool! Do you know how many hostas I have?"
"Two things, my dear," I said. "First, I don't go into your garden so I don't know how many hostas you have. But I do know two things you don't."
"What's that?" she queried.
"Well, I can fix you tool like any other incredibly balanced Japanese item--that's why you're not worn out and you did more."
"What's the second thing?"
I grinned, "A proper Japanese wife would call a hosta by it's proper Japanese name. And that, my dear, is giboshi
. Your tool will be done before day break..."
Click on the picture to enlarge
BTW, for all of you who have similar gardening projects, that same tool is sold everywhere. Here's a lead for those gardeners: