Fine-dining at Villa Blåmes

Satori. A Japanese Buddhist term usually defined as a moment of sharp clarity. An immediate understanding of something profound. Sudden enlightenment. Not necessarily capital ‘E’ Enlightenment; it can apply to small ‘e’ enlightenment as well. For example:

Well, nothing has come of it!
Yesterday went by on a diet
Of blowfish soup!

At first glance, this is a gentle haiku by Bashō — a simple observation of a simple moment in the itinerant poet’s daily life. The recognition of the very ordinariness of the moment grants it a certain wonder. Yesterday, he had a bowl of fish soup.

But wait. Not just any fish soup. Blowfish soup. Blowfish, known in Japanese as fugu. There is a tetrodotoxin in blowfish — a poison — that leaves victims mentally aware while they suffer paralysis and possible death from heart failure or suffocation. There is no known antidote. Modern toxicology has been able to locate the parts of the blowfish that are poisonous, but in the 17th century blowfish soup was a delicacy that could kill.

Now re-read that poem and experience a moment of sharp clarity — about the poem, about the poet, about the profound beauty that exists in eating a bowl of fish soup.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by All photographs used on are stored on and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, greg fallis and is used with permission by Please see Show and Share Your Work