Plant Shopping and Thoughts from a Japanese on NECCO Wafers – “An American Classic Since 1847”

My stay in Nagoya inspired me to buy more plants for my house. (If you have not seen it, I spent a week in this absolutely gorgeous AirBnB spot in Nagoya.)

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I have had lots of plants before but this time I wanted something bigger, something BOLDER! I wanted to be able to sit in my chair and have my plant tower over me. Several hours of plant browsing later, I ended up with the biggest (and the smallest) plants I have ever owned!

Nagoya AirBNB

My host in Nagoya had transformed one corner of his otherwise nondescript one room  Japanese apartment into a small garden. The plants were arranged on the floor and on a wooden bench floating in the middle of the room. The organization gave the impression of meticulously studied casualness and was oh so beautiful.

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He had small plants and leggy plants that grew up to the ceiling. He also had tiny air plants (that do not need any soil!) in delicate glass containers throughout his room.

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The Health Benefits of Plants

As a former botany major (and long time plant lover), I can say that there are lots of reasons to fill your home with plants.

  1. Plants are natural gas partners with humans. When us humans breathe, we take in oxygen and we breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants do the opposite – taking in carbon dioxide and breathing oxygen. Just stick your face in your houseplant for a nice lungful of fresh oxygen.
  2. Plants naturally humidify the air. Along with releasing oxygen, plants also release water vapor. Increasing indoor humidity levels can help prevent respiratory illnesses.
  3. Plants boost healing! In a study by researchers at Kansas State University, patients in rooms with plants requested less pain medicine, had lower heart rates and blood pressure, and experienced less anxiety (compared to those without plants).

My undergraduate botany teacher firmly believed that plants make people happy. One time before our exam, she brought a big bouquet of flowers and gave each student a flower. She encouraged us to look at our flowers to brighten our mood before starting the test.

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Crouch down! Is that one big enough?

Okay back to plant shopping…

Since I could not bring my chair with me to the hardware store, I hovered-squatted next to the plants to see if they passed my criteria. I really wanted a plant that would be taller than me when I saw down.

Most did not pass the test… But I enjoyed looking at their beautiful green leaves anyway.

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In the end, I chose a bushy palm and two tiny air plants to take home. The palm is just big enough to reach over my head when I am sitting down. The air plants are so so so small and rode home on the front seat!

The palm is the biggest plant I have ever owned, and the air plants are the smallest.

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Distraction #1 –  The ultimate tool belt.

I went looking for plants but I found myself getting a bit distracted. >_<

First,  I discovered an absolutely amazing tool belt while wandering through the hardware store aisles. The belt weighed nearly 10 pounds… EMPTY before putting any tools inside. It had 21 pockets and space for not just one… but 2 airguns. Of course I could not resist trying it on.

This belt reminded me that almost everything feels bigger in the United States after being in Japan. I mean, I don’t think I could walk through most doorways in Japan wearing this belt. And I  would probably knock out someone on the sidewalk with those side bags.

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Space for not just one… but TWO air guns!!
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Check out all those tools!

Distraction #2 – NECCO Wafers

I fondly remember munching NECCO Wafers as a kid. Now that I am an adult I would admit that NECCO Wafers are not exactly good… I mean the wafers are dry, chalky, powdery, and somewhat tasteless.

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But when we stumbled on this classic candy display in the hardware, I wanted Kosuke to try this taste from my childhood. His thoughts?

  • Hm…. not bad.
  • This candy is not interesting.
  • Huh.
  • Yeah… 
  • This shape is so awkward.
  • I am not sure I would eat this candy again.

Maybe these candies are one of those acquired tastes.

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