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Arts & Science Matches

An Essential Replacement for Lighter

「我認為房間裡如果放了一盒面紙,不管花多少心思裝潢,一瞬間都完蛋了。簡易打火機也有同樣的感覺。或許有人說我太裝模作樣,不過,這兩樣是我希望盡可能不要出現在房間裡的東西。」—— 松浦彌太郎,《續.日日100》


每一趟,咔嚓一響,蠟燭給打火機點著、跳動火光把蔦悠的眼睛照得亮亮之際,我卻同時懊悔上一趟到東京旅遊時沒在Arts & Science店子購買他們製作的漂亮火柴。這一天吃過午飯後,蔦悠小心翼翼地把一支又一支顏色木鉛筆倒插往蠟筆座的小洞裡去,並且鄭重宣佈,那些都是「蠟燭」。我微笑和應,心想:「很可愛啊!他終於懂得玩幻想遊戲了!」然後看著他拿起一塊長方形積木,走到那些「蠟燭」跟前去,並一邊把積木對準木鉛筆尖碰著,一邊自信滿滿地跟我說:「媽媽,這是打火機啊,我在點蠟燭。」


“In my opinion, if you put a box of tissues in a room, no matter how much effort you’ve put into the decor, it will be immediately ruined. The same goes for lighters. Maybe someone will say I’m too pretentious; however, these two are what I wish to try my very best to avoid appearing in my room.” 

– Yataro Matsuura, 100 Things, Continued

Regarding the problem of tissue paper box, luckily, I have the cloth cover made by Emiko Tsuchiya. My home doesn’t seem to look ruined. But lighter is so much trickier; I haven’t yet found an ideal replacement, so I keep hiding it in a drawer. Ever since Julian became a toddler, one of our routines before we start to eat is to light a candle and sing. A more warmhearted explanation would be that I wanted to create a pleasant atmosphere in our daily life, but the reality is, this is the only trick which can make him sit still and eat. For example, when lunch time came and I had told him a dozen times “Let’s eat”, Julian would only giggle and run away; when he finally stopped, he’d stand in front of his play kitchen, pretending to be switching on the water tap, and said to me, “Mom, I’m very busy. I’m washing rice.” I then remembered how this little guy was so keen on being appointed an “adult’s task”, so I took out a candle holder and a lighter, and said to him, “Julian, look, I’m going to light this candle. If you will come and sit with me, I will let you snuff out the flame when we finish eating.” Upon hearing this, Julian immediately climbed onto his chair and grinned, “Okay!”

Every time when a candle was ignited by a lighter and the little flame started dancing in Julian’s eyes, I felt a pang in my heart and regretted that I didn’t purchase the beautiful matches at the Arts & Science shop when we were in Tokyo a while ago. Then, one day, when we had finished our lunch, Julian carefully positioned his coloured pencils upside down and placed them into the small holes of his crayon pen holder. He then announced they were his “candles”. I smiled and thought to myself, “How cute! He now knows how to do imaginative play!” I watched as he took a rectangular wooden block and held it to the tip of one pencil, then said to me with much confidence, “Mom, this is a lighter. I’m lighting my own candle.”

I didn’t realise I have created a lighter enthusiast! This time, my living room will no doubt be ruined. What should I do, Mr. Matsuura?