From the moment the taut, covering, plasic-foil collapses away from the edge of a sharp knife, and the glistening block of silken tofu slides out of the box, you know you are in for a sensual experience.
Pressing down the knife to divide it, there is an ever-so-slight resistance from the tofu, then the surface gives way so satisfyingly, in a faint explosion, a flawless tear, a bursting; so clean and natural, like the splitting of a cell; and then two prefect identical halves are there before you.
Continuing on, with this same feeling, you divide the tofu into shining white blocks that remain so close together that the cuts are barely perceptible. Then the soy sauce is poured over, gathering in shallow pools on top of each block, so that the lines between each piece of tofu become visible; graduating from the dark in the middle, to the light at the joins; a wonderful contrast of pure white and warm deep brown.
Picking up the tofu with chopsticks is a spiritual masterclass. Too firm, and it will break; too gentle and it will slip away. Like the respectful handling of one you love; an exercise in non-grasping.
Then you place it in your mouth, and the tofu that looks so smooth and solid, breaks apart in what I can only describe as a wet-crumbling. The light, cool, creamy, richness mingles with the faintly-wheaty, salty warmth of the soy sauce. It is so simple, yet transports you to a heavenly, soothing comfort; like sitting alone in the Ryōan-ji temple garden at dusk.
You sigh, and exhale, and sink into peace.
(Tofu for image prepared by Mrs. K. Arigatougozaimasu)