Thursday, January 6, 2011

Japanese Incense

I'm not exactly a fan of incense. When I think of incense, I think of smokey altars and shrines and choking agarwood fragrance. Growing up, I only knew incense was strictly for the altar, as a way to give respect, and I've never heard of anyone burning incense recreationally to fragrance their home. It was my short time in Japan as a JET that got me thinking differently about incense.

In Japan, there are traditional incense at are burned at the altar, and then there are recreational incense that one collects and burns to fragrance the home. This recreational incense comes in many shapes and sizes, though mostly a thin long stick or cone shaped, and has many various fragrances, not just the traditional agarwood/sandalwood ones. And here's what I like about the incense business in Japan, there are many many ridiculously cute incense holders to accompany your incense! You can collect hundred and thousands of them, and many souvenir shops or touristy spots you visit, especially shrines and temples, will sell incense along with various holders.

On New Year's Eve, hubby and I stumbled upon a neat gift shop in Chinatown, and we found this heavenly home fragrance with the most beautiful and calming scent we have ever smelled! We both loved it upon sniffing the fragrance beads and initially picked up a bottle of fragrance oil with reed diffusions. And then we spotted this very special incense holder.

Yes, it's a kitty, white with orangey spots ^.^ And so we put the fragrance oil back and picked up the incense stick version instead.

Too bad the incense burns rather quickly, as a stick lasts for just 10-15 minutes. I've always thought these incenses aren't supposed to burn that fast? Oh well, I was probably wrong. Either way, I think we will go back for more as this particular fragrance is available in oil form, sand(!!!), incense sticks, and some other form I don't remember...

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