Fuurin (Wind‐Bell)


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  • 風鈴 Fuurin

At the height of the ramen boom in Edo Era Japan, ramen was considered a simple food which could be purchased cheaply and had a similar taste no matter where you ate it. In modern Japan, however, there are thousands of Ramen shops, each with hundreds of lip-smacking variations.

風鈴 Fuurin
The word omomuki is often used in Japan. A dictionary explains the meaning as, “taste or meaning that sinks in deeply” or “a state that conveys the elegance of something,” but words are not enough to explain.The Japanese culture has valued omomuki.

To get a feel of it, hanging a furin (wind chime) might be a good way. Furins are hung outside in the summer to enjoy the sounds played by the wind. They are usually made of glass or metal and dome-shaped with an open bottom, where a metal piece called zetsu is attached. It is hung from a string so that the zetsu catches the wind to produce sounds. Imagine that it’s a hot summer day. You’re under the strong sun with hot air surging up to your face, and buzzing cicadas all around make the day even more sweltering. Then you feel a fresh breeze and “Ting,” a high-pitched lovely sound resonates. You’re suddenly freed from the sweltering heat and are able to soak in a cool moment and feel the scents of summer. This is what we mean by omomuki in Japan.

Furin is said to have been enjoyed since the 18th century to help forget the summer heat in this humid country. As glass was precious at the time, it was not until around the turn of the 20th century that furin became a part of the lives of ordinary people. Still, the Japanese people no doubt cherished the omomuki and elegant atmosphere. Furins are sold at an affordable price of around 1000 yen at novelty shops. Enjoy the unique Japanese summer atmosphere or omomuki with the furin.

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