If you've never tasted shiso, you should go out right this second and see if you can find some. It has a beautiful herbacious plummy flavor. It makes a wonderful garnish or tempura. And it comes in two absolutely gorgeous shades: this rich, deep plummy burgundy, and a vibrant green.
I took this shot of a field of shiso in the shadow of Mount Hiei (the site of one of Japan's oldest and impressive Buddhist temple complexes) almost 15 years ago on a short trip to the village of Ohara, just outside of Kyoto. It was a typical misty day during rainy season, and this vibrant field has stayed with me over the years. It captures some of the most beautiful aspects of rural Japan: the steep-sloaped roof of the farmhouse, the fecund green that signifies it is the time of year when things will grow on your skin if you stay still too long, the neat and orderly rows, the entropy of nature daring to encroach on the discipline of village life.
My next design concept is a reversable two-sided scarf inspired by shiso. It won't taste like the real thing, and it won't quite look as magical as this. But I can't wait to get started on it!