A long time ago in a small Japanese village, lived a beautiful young girl
Her home stood gently in the shadow of an ancient mountain, it looked over a great valley below, with a winding river that had carved its way through the land over thousands of years before her. The river wound its way through the green valley below and through its forest, chasing the mountains edges to the sea, the river ran for as far as your eyes would take you.
This young girl had spent her life growing up playing in these mountains, chasing the river, and running in the fields. She was an adventurous spirit, who spent each day immersed in nature, she would often spend her days daydreaming of grand adventures, whilst going up at the mountain as the clouds rushed about its peak.
Her name was Masumi.
One day Masumi was playing, confined to indoors on this occasion as a snowstorm had moved through the valley, the sky was dark and the wind was howling. So Masumi begrudgingly settled to play inside at her fathers request, as opposed to on her beautiful mountain, and in her fields.
Masumi was told she was able to play wherever her heart desired until the storm broke,, with one condition. She was not to play in her father’s prized tea room. Masumi’s father was a revered tea master, people would travel from far away towns to come and buy his special tea. The tea room was where he would bring his customers to taste his finest creations.
This condition for Masumi was far too tempting to keep. Her spirit for adventure, which all too often meant she would create her own rules, meant that as her father went to prepare the evening meal, Masumi, had her opportunity to play. And play she did.
Moments into the forbidden play, Masumi broken her father’s most special bowl. Her father entered to find Masumi sitting on the floor, with the the tear stained fragments of his favourite bowl in her hands. In that moment, her words failing her to express the swelling feeling of remorse.
Masumi went to bed that evening, sad, and determined to right the wrong of that horrible evening. She lay in bed wide awake, planning. She had once overheard her father speak to one of his customers of a great pottery master in a village at the end of the river. Masumi wondered, could the pottery master undo the mistake she had made.
At first light, before the others awoke, Masumi opened the shutters to see that the storm had broke. A golden su lit up winding river like a golden road.
Masumi grabbed her things, and wrapped the pieces of the broken bowl in a linen cloth. She jumped out the window, and began her greatest adventure yet.
The small path from her home led her down to the river, the river she must follow to reach the pottery master. She walked through the fields, through the bamboo forest, now standing tall in white from the passing storm, Through the neighbouring villages, until she could see it.
As the sun was setting, bathed in golden light, stood the pottery masters home by the edge of the sea, the river had led her to her destination.
Masumi stood in his front garden, under an early blooming cherry blossom, its petals danced in the soft sea breeze. As the light started to fade, she approached the front door.
Moments later, Masumi was sitting inside, spilling over her words to the pottery master about the fateful night before. He turned to her and smiled, picked up the small linen parcel, and set off into this studio. The master’s wife entered after overhearing Masumi’s tale. She brought warm tea, cool water, and a hot dish of the most magnificent meat Masumi had ever laid eyes on. It was served in the most beautiful and delicate white pottery, crafted by the hands of the great pottery master.
As Masumi finished her meal, the master re appeared. In his hands he held an object to behold. A bowl in golden strands, tracing its surface like the river traced the mountains in the setting light. It was magnificent.
He told her of an ancient art-form, an art-form that used liquid gold to join broken things of value.
He told Masumi, as her eyes gleamed, about how this art form celebrates the mistake, it captures the point in time of when it was broken, and when it is made whole again. He told her that if her father’s bowl was precious before, it is irreplaceable.
In the early hours of the next morning, Masumi bid her new friends farewell, as she begun her journey home. She followed the river, walking towards the great mountain at the horizon where the river disappeared from view. Back to her home.
She passed back through the bamboo forest, now in full colour as the snow had melted away, back to the small path that wound its way up the mountain, to where her home sat gently in its shadow.
Masumi arrived home, to her anxious parents, so pleased to see her safe return. Her father was full with worry, as he understood how upset his beautiful young daughter was after the events of the night before. He thought she had run away in shame.
Masumi told them of her great adventure.
She reached for the linen parcel, and presented it to her father. He carefully unwrapped it. He was now the one who was lost for words as he admired the beauty he held in his hands. The effort in which Masumi had taken to make his prized possession once again whole had been worth it.
He glowed with happiness.
He returned the bowl to the tea room, he sat it pride of place on the centre of the wall for all to admire.
His customers would now marvel at the perfect imperfection of the bowl, a bowl that spoke of Masumi’s great love for her father, a love that had guided her on her first of many great adventures.