Today after a disastrous day at work I cheered myself up with algae.
Look, it’s not quite so weird.
I am talking about marimo. They are, simply put, fluffy balls of algae. They come in a variety of sizes and grow very slowly, but can live for a long time. When I went to Hokkaido they had marimo souvenirs everywhere- key rings of them, and soft toys of them and of course, jars of them in various sizes. I even saw a huge tank of them- some the size of a small melon. It was love at first sight for me.
However it’s not like you can put a jar of algae in your luggage, let alone take it on a plane.
Fast forward two years and I have only just realised you can simply buy marimo off Amazon. My father sent me the link and I got so excited that I purchased them and there on the bus. A little reckless but I couldn’t wait. Then today I went to the pet store for a fish tank, and discovered a whole tank of “moss balls” for sale there. I don’t know if they are actually genuine marimo, but I felt a little silly.
Nonetheless I picked up the cheapest tank I could, even if it was the ugliest and was also plastic and also had the words “my first aquarium!” plastered over it childishly. I did not need anything fancy, after all. I couldn’t resist buying an ornament though- a Japanese 5 story pagoda to fit the theme. After paying I discovered the plastic bag I’d brought wasn’t big enough so had to fashion a carrier from my scarves. I got some looks on the journey home, for both the fish tank and the unusual way of carrying it. Eventually I got it home, and in one piece (myself and it, to be honest) I didn’t even wait to have supper, or even something to drink, and launched myself into setting up the tank. It was a lot fiddlier than I imagined, and I had to phone my dad, holding my laptop at awkward angles so its webcam would pick up what I needed it to.
My father knows as little about these things as myself but together we figured it out. There’s a nice home waiting for my marimo now. I just need to pick up a jug for water changing and a temporary container for my marimo to go when I need to clean the tank. Of course, I also need to receive the actual marimo.
I am taking my algae very seriously. They should be fairly tough, but I have killed a cactus before…twice. So I remain wary of my ability to keep anything living alive and well. That doesn’t stop me from being ridiculously excited about owning them. Or soon to be owning them. I wish it was Saturday already (not just for the usual reasons!)
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here listening to the buzz of the filter as I write and it’s comforting me. It reminds me of aquariums- which reminds me of being relaxed and happy, of traveling, of being with my sister. It brings up good memories and all the feelings that go with them.