Yuki looks at me with a critical eye, pinning a stray lock of my hair into place. Voilà! You’re ready for my coming-of-age ceremony, she says with a satisfied smile. All we have to do now is sit tight until we’re allowed to go downstairs.
Yuki is sitting on the bed in her exquisite kimono. She has enjoyed a wonderful night’s sleep under a duvet adorned with elegant cranes. Not only are these birds elegant and decorative, but also the Japanese symbol for a long, happy life. Yuki has lent me her kimono with peonies. Peonies symbolise summer which, according to Yuki, is my signature season. Well, seeing is believing, as it's been raining here all day long.
Yuki is Emi’s daughter. Emi owns a cosy Japanese restaurant just around the corner. Olle and I have been going there for years – for the food, of course, but also for the origami napkins, colourful lanterns, wallpaper decorated with peacocks and cherry blossoms and tapestry with the rising sun. There is a light, serene room for tea ceremonies, with walls made of rice paper and where Emi also keeps her porcelain – she’s just as passionate about porcelain as I am.
Yuki is about to turn 20, a milestone that is celebrated in Japan with 'Seijin No Hi', or Coming of Age Day. The plan was actually to celebrate in Japan, more specifically in the geisha district of Kyoto, where Emi is from. But all that flying is too much of a hassle. So, they’ve come up with a different solution – a traditional Japanese celebration, but held in the country home of some friends. The house is wonderfully dichotomous: both chic and shabby. The driveway is stately, lined with canals, and the building borders on posh, but the water in the swimming pool has turned green. A heron stands watch on the edge. I think he hopes to catch some frogs.
From the outside, the home is European in style but once inside, it is as if you have stepped into an Asian country – the interior features hand-painted Japanese wallpaper, surprising carpets and huge Chinese vases. Every room offers wonderful views of the beautiful garden, with its mix of Asian trees and plants.
Emi is still busy in the kitchen downstairs. Together with Jack and Pippadour, she’s using the organic vegetables from the old greenhouse to make Yuki’s birthday buffet. I know that Emi will soon be setting the tables with her mother’s porcelain. This is part of the tradition. Every plate, every cup and every bowl tells part of their family story. She’ll let me know as soon as the buffet is ready and all the guests have arrived. Which means Yuki can come downstairs in her kimono. Emi will then hold a speech. I already know the first words that will come out of her mouth:
“Here comes the sun.”
After all, her life revolves around Yuki. And Emi has a wonderfully sunny view of life. Whatever happens, she always looks on the bright side.
The celebration will soon take place in the garden of the country home. Long tables have been set up, decorated with vases and candleholders in all shapes and sizes. The vases are filled with handpicked bouquets from the flower garden. Emi has hung up the same lanterns as in the restaurant.
I want everyone to enjoy the ambiance in this home, the Japanese symbols, patterns and fabrics, which is why you’ll find them all in the new collection.
Yuki then hears her mother’s voice. She takes one final glance at my hair and stands up. I think about the first words of the speech to be held in her honour.
And believe it or not, it’s stopped raining!!
Here comes the sun, says Yuki herself. Time to celebrate! And she’s absolutely right. The sun is always there, no matter the weather.
Hugs and kisses from Pip