the pillow book

We are reading The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon this week, which is one of my all-time favorite works. It’s a collection of lists and observations written by a court lady in 11th Century Japan, and it is awesome. The lists of things are brilliant. Her list of “Elegant Things,” for example, includes:

A white coat worn over a violet waistcoat.

Duck Eggs.

Shaved Ice mixed with liana syrup and put in a new silver bowl.

A rosary of rock crystal.

Snow on wistaria or plum blossoms.

A pretty child eating strawberries.

I am going to do a series of Pillow-Book-inspired lists over the next little while, which should be ever so much fun. Feel free to add your own items!


  1. HA — Great list! I will hold off on the screwdriver for now. Just got some electric drill/screwdriver thing, and if I have any thumbs left after I master it, I’ll move on to other faintsy tools.

    J — No worries, throw in anyway! (And read the book if you get a chance; it’s so good!)


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