Oh, she comes up from tree tops. Mei-Shun feels so happy to have such a clear sky, which slight shower washed crossing sunshine yesterday. We can enjoy 十五夜 or 仲秋の名月=chushu-no-meigetsu, the most beautiful moon in the middle of autumn tonight. Thanks to Shin who brought tasty 月餅 from Hong Kong on weekend, his wife passed by sweet rice dumplings this year.
It is 酉= tori, rooster as mentioned before. Shin and Mei-Shun have made it a rule to visit Fukushima Airport at the beginning of the year. They are always happy to see twelve cute 干支 animals made of paulownia sawdust there, while a tabby kitty joined this year. Apples, another target were not available, so they chose kumata-pan, buns with sweetened bean paste filling. Yes, sweet … coated with white sugar, sized in your palm. It may easily make you round-shaped like our 丸酉!
… on lunar calendar it is today. We have been able to see the moon early in the morning, becoming thinner and thinner. It was impossible to find her high in eastern sky, even with Shin’s good eyesight. We miss her a lot while Mei-Shun is a bit happy thanks to the bathroom scale: she lost one sac of sugar. Has she been paralleled with the moon in shape? Then she has to be very careful not to do so from today! Anyway, shall we have a little tea party on ささらがたand 冨貴寄?
Shin’s 干支=eto, Chinese zodiac symbol is 酉=tori, rooster celebrated in current year. That is why Mei-Shun ordered ささらがた=sasaragata and 冨貴寄=fukiyose featuring 酉 respectively. Her custom to give the latter to 年女 or 年男=toshi-onna/otoko friends and family members started three years ago. 2014 was 午=uma, horse year in which her elder sister was born. On the other hand, it was Professor S who served the former when Mei-Shun visited her home for the first time.
Actually, Mei-Shun saw the second on 14th for just a moment. She found it started at just 9:00 this time. According to the weather forecast, it should have been a rainfall around here — maybe because we have 大寒=daikan, the 6th of winter while the last of 二十四節気 today. The coldest season in an year means that we have only to endure it for 2 weeks. With lunar New Year’s Eve next week, shall we enjoy this frostiness wrapped in thick coats, long boots and furs?
Shin and Mei-Shun visited her mother’s home, one week later than expected. Now let’s enjoy mom’s best 黒豆=kuromame, sweet-simmered black soybean and 数の子=kazunoko, hot herring roe marinade. A tree of 蝋梅=robai or Japanese allspice welcomed them in full bloom. It was her beloved father who fell in love with this winter flower soon after its market introduction. Bright yellow petals look like art works made of wax, giving the sweetest scent around — you can recognize it at a distance of 10 feet.
Mei-Shun drove mom-in-law to one of major shrines in Japan 八坂神社=yasaka-jinja whose headquarters is located in Kyoto. It is called 祇園さん as well, since the famous Gion Festival is hosted by them. Our nearest branch of 八坂神社 was late dad-in-law’s favorite. He used to buy something at a food stand along a path to the shrine to warm up our hands during midnight queuing for hours. 17 years later, we quietly spend 30 minutes in sunshine to worship.