Volume 25 Tahi Saihate x Shiseido Parlour's Omelette Rice

Text & Photo by Tahi Saihate
(From “Hanatsubaki” 2018.3.28 issue)

“I want to live life from the standpoint that cosmetics are poetry in the same way that fashion is poetry. Shiseido’s job is not only to support our daily lives but also to help us transcend our daily lives. It transforms reality into a fairytale world. It’s a form of magic. That’s what makes it just like poetry.”
I received Shiseido's Hanatsubaki Award for Contemporary Poetry for a collection of poetry I released four years ago, and because I held this award in such high regard I was extremely happy when I won it. The quote above is from the poet Sakon So, who was commenting on the establishment of the Hanatsubaki Award. We can live without beauty. We won't die from not having it, but we as humans can't seem to let go of it. Why do we need something that is impractical and not necessarily entertaining? The answer is simple - we don't just want to live carefree lives and we aren't simply bored. We are all a "me" caught up in a swirling vortex of anger, grief, joy, emptiness, annoyance, and kindness. As humans, we seek after beauty. Even when there is no rhyme or reason, we need beauty.
And that may be magic. We live in the real world, but we as humans can't only live in reality. Omelette rice is a dish made with rice wrapped in a layer of eggs. But if we're going to eat this dish, it might as well have the perfect presentation and be our ideal omelette rice. This way of thinking defines humans, does it not?

When I saw a photo of Shiseido Parlour's omelette rice, it looked so unreal and unbelievable in a way, but seeing the real thing made it seem even more unreal. It was supposed to be three-dimensional, but seemed 2-D. The dish looked like it had come straight out of an animation, but when I sliced through it with my spoon and saw the cross-section of the omelette rice, I screamed inside "It's legit!" It was just ketchup flavored rice and eggs, but when I took a bite it wasn't just any old omelette rice. This dish was concocted on a whole other level. Perhaps the omelette rices I had eaten before were a level 13, but this one might get a solid score of 100. When humans see something perfect, I suppose we become a bit confused? We suddenly start to rush because we think we don't deserve something so perfect. I couldn't stop eating, and I knew I would never forget this taste. I thought to myself "Does omelette rice even need to be made this good?" But when asked "Does food technically even need to taste good?" most people would answer of course, and the need for a beautiful dish of omelette rice is the same. There is an important meaning behind such a perfect omelette rice existing. Of course we can live without a perfect bowl of omelette rice, but even so, I think the fact that we have a meal that we can love is true happiness.

I make my living as a poet. I also know that poetry has no specific purpose in our lives. If someone told me poetry isn't required for us to live, I would have to agree. Poetry is so challenging to understand and cannot give us concrete answers. It doesn't have any specific meaning or effect. That's exactly why I believe poetry can connect to human beings' lives and hearts. There are so many things we don't know about ourselves and we can't explain ourselves well or separate things into black and white. Everything is akin to poetry, which is why poetry can touch us like it does. That's why I was so delighted when someone told me putting on makeup is the same. I thought that's exactly what beauty represents. I was able to touch on that delight when I ate the omelette rice. Why do we use makeup? Why do we want to eat a perfect bowl of omelette rice? Why does poetry exist in this world? There is no simple answer to these questions, and that is exactly why we as humans cannot separate ourselves from them. I believe the beauty of humanity lies in this truth.

This article is an excerpt from Shiseido’s corporate culture magazine Hanatsubaki.
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