(written by Holly Lee) Sushi Grass in Paradise (a story)

(37) The Library

(37) The Library
A fine September morning. On Dufferin and Alma Street, from the bus stop opposite a massive construction site, Mrs. Bento and Chai took the number 29A northbound bus to Bloor Street West, where they would get off and walk down south along Gladstone Avenue. Just a small block east of Dufferin Street stood the Bloor/Gladstone Library. Chai saw a Heritage Toronto plaque in front of the building and started reading it. The library was inaugurated in 1913, more than a hundred years old. The building design is a Beaux Arts adaptation of the Italian Renaissance style, with an addition of a contemporary glass pavilion on its western side in 2009, the renovation has doubled the space of the library.

(36) New Wound, Old Wound

(36) New Wound, Old Wound
Never has Mrs. Bento so affected by thunders before. Between the scientific and mythical world there is every reason she can find to be afraid of the dragon’s roar. She blames it most on her imagination, which grows wilder and vivider everyday. Whenever she hears loud cracks of thunder, she immediately thinks of finding refuge underneath a desk, a table, or any place safe, imagining herself a naked child, curling in fetal position on a deserted plain, so fragile and defenseless and totally helpless before the destructive power of nature. It may also be seeing too many gruesome scenes of disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. When she tells people of her fears they just don’t understand why a mature person like herself would be terrified by such natural and totally explainable phenomena like lightning and thunder.

(35) An Apple is not an Apple

(35) An Apple is not an Apple
“It makes me want to look at those photographs!” said George, referring to A Conversation of Five Photographs. By this time, they had gone through some length of the disc and Mr. Bento paused it for a break. Some got up to stretch their legs, some went to the washroom and others went into the kitchen to fetch more beverages.

(34) Photography and History

(34) Photography and History
"Photography and history." Yoji lifted his head, eyes fixed on Mr. Bento, "Since the invention of photography, any civilized cities or countries must have a photo archive of their own. In Japan, The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum unfortunately ranks close to the top among war museums. Yosuke Yamahata, the Japanese photographer took pictures of Nagasaki immediately the day after the atomic bombing.

(33) A General Survey of Photo Museums of the World

(33) A General Survey of Photo Museums of the World

Another month has gone by since the HOSOP team met. HOSOP - an acronym for "House of Something on Photography" they've started to use, is a shorter form to remember, an easier name to read. They have also decided to drop "The Little" from HOSOP to avoid the clumsy length. In today's meeting at the Bentos, George brought over a small Peepal tree, a stem cutting which he obtained from Fo Guang Shan, a buddhist temple in Mississauga. Both Bentos were very pleased, especially Mrs. Bento, who heard about the apple tree story George told them two years ago. During his Winter stay in Hong Kong, George grew the plant from a single apple seed. "All things start small, so is our HOSOP." she quietly thought.

(32) A Rose is not A Rose

(32) A Rose is not A Rose
In her bedroom, Mrs. Bento put the audio cd A Conversation of Five Photographs into her Wave and sat in front of the desk. Mr. Bento entered the room, closed the door and sat on another chair beside her. Both were waiting uneasily for some unknown conversation stretched before them. Then they heard a woman's giggle, and her attempt to clear her throat.

(31) Disco Nation

(31) Disco Nation
It was a gloomy rainy day when Violet dropped by to pick up something from the library. She forgot to bring the room key so Mrs. Bento walked her up to the third floor. On the way Mrs. Bento asked Violet about her responsibility to the library - besides keeping it clean and tidy. Violet shrugged her shoulders and said, "nothing much. Your responsibility is to know all the contents inside." Violet said half-jokingly, "It has a good documentation of my parents' life."

(30) The Anatomy of A Street

(30) The Anatomy of A Street
Chai was born in early November, under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius. People born under this sign revere freedom, free-spirited, they are eager to travel, explore the world and learn other cultures. With full support from her parents, and aunt Mrs. Bento, Chai is able to live a life very close to this idea, and she's managed to finish her graduate degree in journalism in Toronto with flying marks.

(29) Chai

(29) Chai
At the door is a young woman, dark brown eyes and short wavy layered bob haircut. She carries a travel backpack on her shoulders, a Samsonite spinner in the colour of midnight blue standing upright beside her.

"Aunty, I'm arriving earlier, hope you don't mind!" With a step forward, she stretches out both arms and gives Mrs. Bento a full embrace.

(28) Photographs in the Bedroom

(28) Photographs in the Bedroom
"Haven't checked emails for weeks, will make it brief. Just to let you know, from the Thar Desert I'm jumping in Paul Salopek's epic walk. We've just arrived at Kalibangan, a less known site of Harappan culture. For days we tramped on debris of potsherds, bones and broken bricks. Paul still gets contemplative whenever he makes such encounters. After travelling on foot for more than six years, he turns much tanner and has worn out three pairs of shoes. But this is only 6,000 miles, less than a third of his 'across the world' journey. By the way I totally support the idea of the Photo Museum. How awesome can that be to know your friend won a lottery and would give it all to the great course of doing something for humanity. There's a lot on my mind that we can do, but I'm leaving that to my next email ... hugs from the land of 1.3 billions. Hill. Sent from my iPhone".

(27) The Great Discovery

(27) The Great Discovery
Mrs. Bento hasn't done housekeeping for the upstairs library for almost three weeks, busy helping Ginger with her school project, and spending time with the photo museum team in the pursuit of creating that Little House of Something on Photography. Since the project took flight, her sense with everything related to photography sharpens greatly, and it would not be a surprise to find her overcome with excitement when she rediscovers several shelves in the library are actually filled with photo books. Why haven't I noticed this before?

(26) Hand in H/// with Gr//t Bo/ks

(26) Hand in H/// with Gr//t Bo/ks
Then came a minute of silence in the café. The three friends sat and watched the evening sun casting shadows from the vinyl lettering adhered to the store-front window, creating partially obstructed words on the floor:

Great Cof/// goes hand in h/// with Gr//t Bo/ks

Bento broke the silence and asked, "What have you bought Yoji?"