zucchini.arigajupiki.1.09-01-13Starting out a week of veggie etegami, all painted to be sent out as thank yous!

Today is a zucchini, one of the robust summer veggies that often overwhelm gardens and and plates with their bounty. A few weeks ago I received a zucchini from friends who had been overwhelmed by their zucchini harvest. I took that baby home, julienned it, and made this zucchini bread, which lived up to its name, “The Best Zucchini Bread Ever.” A couple alterations to the recipe that I made:  I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and one cup regular flour, and I added some nuts. I should have taken out the muffin tin way earlier than I did — I left it in the same amount of time as the bread, and the muffins got a bit crunchy.  And I should have baked the bread loaf a little longer — there were some too-soft parts in the middle.

I would have shared the bread with the zucchini growers but as one is a vegan, and the other is allergic to wheat… I just had to eat it by myself.

Hopefully an etegami of the zucchini as a thank you will let them know how much I appreciated the vegetable. On both of these I used a Japanese phrase, “ari ga juu piki” (蟻が十匹), which is a pun on the Japanese word for thank you, “arigatou” (ありがとう).

(Warning: long grammatical explanation of the pun follows!) Japanese is full of synonyms as well as alternate readings of words, making it a very “punny” language. “Arigatou” means thank you, but the separate parts of the word can be pulled apart and read as a pun. “Ari” can mean “ant” (蟻), “ga” can be read as a particle (a word used in Japanese to show relationships between words), and “tou” can be read as ten (十). The addition of “piki” (匹) makes the pun funnier, or at least more obvious to a Japanese speaker; “piki” is a Japanese counter word for small animals such as ants. If you actually intended to say “There are 10 ants,” not “Thank you,” you would have to say “Ari ga juu piki” (蟻が十匹) to be grammatically correct.

In the first picture above, I wrote out the kanji for ant (蟻). In the second, below, I used my hanko (stamp) of an ant (another pun, on “Ali” or “Ari”, a nickname for my name “Alison”) to depict the “ari” part of the pun.

Okay, that’s enough explaining today. Let me know if I’ve confused you.