There’s been a recent profileration of Japanese pastries and confectionaries in the Seattle area. Fuji Bakery and Café de Lion are garnering rave reviews, with Fresh Flours, Fumie’s Gold, Setsuko Pastry, and Hiroki among others worth exploring. In contrast to Western cakes and candies and such, Japanese varieties are less sweet. And they’re made with incredible care and detail–which is partly why I saw so many Japanese sous chefs working in Parisian bakeries during my trip to France last year.
Umai Do is a new Japanese confectionary shop in the Central District which sells a small selection of tea-accompanying sweets. Last time in, I spotted dorayaki and manj? in the showcase. Much to my surprise, there was also sakura mochi. Especially timely for this cherry blossom season, these are mochi filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) and wrapped in a brined sakura (cherry blossom) leaf. I’ve had much better, as Umai Do’s are small (the sakura leaf shouldn’t completely cover the mochi), short on anko, and a bit gummy, but they’re fun to try and a treat to find.
So what does Umai Do’s sakura mochi teach us about sex?
It’s all about knowing how to handle the first time.
It’s not a stretch to see sakura mochi as metaphor for a female virgin. It’s understandable not to know what to expect or do during the first experience. Will it feel good? How do you handle it? Will anything bleed out?
With sakura mochi, you can peel back the protective leaf, but then you’re missing out on an important part of the experience. First bring the mochi to your noise and enjoy its distinct perfume–very fragrant. Now bring it to your lips, then bite it, gently, and enjoy the salty brininess. Now you’re into the pink–vulnerable, ready, and anticipatory. Once you plunge further in, be prepared for the dark red flow from inside. There’s nothing to be afraid of; on the contrary, this should be a pleasurable experience.
The same with having sexual intercourse for the first time. The woman may be nervous and concerned, so it’s important to take things slowly. She and her partner should be attentive to her pleasure, making sure she’s aroused and therefore lubricating. Prior to penetration, use additional lubrication as necessary. Find a position that’s comfortable. Turn foreplay–kissing, caressing, etc.–into during-play so that it’s not strictly about penetration. For penile-vaginal intercourse, some women find spooning to be the best position.
Whatever you do, breathe, smile, make eye contact, and speak out with your hopes, needs, fears, and desires. Feedback is an important part of the process; good communication shows consideration. Relax as much as possible to enjoy the experience.
Then, as with good sakura mochi, have another.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on March 22, 2012.