In The House of Yōsei


house of yosie3

( At a Japanese Restaurant)


in a black lacquered box

they bring her to the table.


Her shape rolled

into a blend of crab, salmon and eel,


her hair shredded

in dark salad greens


her skin white

pounded rice


and at her hips

two lemon slices ( halved),


shell fans

meant to spellbind

with zest.


When consumed ,she will claim

the soul of a woman


who has been

all field and woods,

roots and feet


inspiring her

to shift —



to beach and sea

coral and fins.


the breasts of an ondine

nursing her young.


In Asian folktales, “The yosei” is fairy/goddess capable of great influence of what it encounters or inhabits.. Not only is the restaurant named after this creature but also refers to the idea of the spiritual magic of  the sea and its cuisine transforming the person who dines on it. The ondine is a sea deity, half human, half woman often considered cousin to the selkie  or mermaid.


  1. Wendy,

    The picture is fascinating. It is as busy as a Rorschach.

    I did not know of the yosei. An interesting tale told most poetically.

    “beach and sea

    coral and fins.”

    Not a bad soul to have!

    Much enjoyed the look at this mythical/mystical creature.



  2. Hi Sarah

    Thanks so much for your wonderful reply; and am glad you enjoyed the poem. Japanese myth has lots of interesting deities, creatures etc that exist both on land and water. I believe eating foreign food for the first time is not only an adventuresome but almost transformative experience. Jim and I went to a new Japanese house in town with real home cooked Asian cuisine. I tried that fish roll, which is really a combo of things including kelp leaves, avocado and lemon wedges along with white pounded rice. I was thrilled and so enchanted with the beautiful, artistic look of the presentation as well as the superb, exquisite tasted. So my imagination ran abit wild. And here, the human will shape shift into an ondine, a beautiful sea creature half human and half woman who can live both on shore and in the water. But also the idea of going from the terrestrial eater, meaning meat, chicken, and usual garden plants to the cuisine of the sea along with its vegetables and its magic. Again thank you!

    My Best


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