By Mickky


At the end of March, my (now ex-) colleagues gave me this receptacle containing dried plants soaked in oil, as a farewell gift. I hadn't even know what it is  until quite recently, when one of my friends said to me, 'Isn't it a herbarium?'

Herbarium conventionally refers to a systematically arranged collection of dried plants. In Japan these days, however, the term seems to be used to mean this kind of receptacle that is getting more and more attention for the purpose of interior or gift. A conventional herbarium does not contain oil, which, in this new and Japanese herbarium, functions to keep the dried plants fresh.

Learning this from my friend as well as the internet search, I became tempted to put it above my desk at the office; and I wrote the name of it on the blackboard behind it. "Your barium" was jokingly written by my friend, who somehow thought the initial part of the word herbarium would be a personal pronoun.

Also I didn't really notice that the suffix -arium serves to form nouns usually denoting a place, as in aquarium or planetarium.

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