So we have 春分=shun-bun, vernal equinox and 4th of spring 二十四節気 today. It is celebrated as one of national holidays in our country, with 秋分=shu-bun, autumnal equinox as well. Mei-Shun has wondered why only these 2 days among 24 are included. It might be partly because we have the most number (17) of such commemoration in the world.
Oh, how nice いしじま is, a peanuts shop and soba restaurant Shin and Mei-Shun loves. Their products are really good, including this 鼈甲飴=bekko-ame, caramel candy. Simple technique to boil down caster sugar tastes great as artistic confectionery. And similar one in tiny bottles of sauce was attached to 餡蜜=an-mitsu, alga jelly and red-bean jam by みはし.
Here 水無月=minazuki, annual delicacy for Shin and Mei-Shun follows below. Since the husband is still in Las Vegas, the wife took his role to enjoy half of it besides her own — two tasty triangles. It means to wish health and happiness in latter half of the year on June 30th, a custom originated from Kyoto. Above couple loves to visit this ancient capital, while to try pretty sweets there.
Nearby rice paddy has been harvested, cut again after growing anew. Shining in gold for a while, it let Mei-Shun’s eyes enjoy. However, it was dug and turned around as 田起こし to air the soil and make left stalks good fertilizer (maybe), changed into gray. Bright autumnal sight is over, while observing Gods departed for 出雲 at the start of 神無月, lunar October from today.
It seems they started harvest from this weekend. The easternmost ears all stopped listening to us, bundled and dried on bamboo hangers. Mei-Shun felt somehow warm when she walked passing by them — do they emit heat while fermented? Under sunlight and rainfall one after another, they might be naturally cooked before peeled and steamed into shining white.
熱川バナナワニ園 hangs Wani-Nobori, streamers with alligator printing. At the hospital Mei-Shun stayed 2 years before, you would find in the lobby a gorgeous arrangement of 五月人形=gogatsu-ningyo, samurai dolls to celebrate Children’s Day. When Mei-Shun was one of them, she has never seen it at boy classmates’ homes. Carp streamers outdoors looked more popular, yet shrinking economy might not be able to afford them.
2016 had 十五夜 or the best moon on September 15 while 十三夜 tonight, with thick clouds and “Clair de Lune” by Ms. Piano. It is interesting that both months start from 朔=saku, a new moon, making it easy to count her beautiful shapes. The latter is said to be clearer than the former, one of the reasons our ancestors held moon-watching party twice. Well, we could not have seen either this year. Shall we expect Saturday, a bona fide full moon?
Mei-Shun drew an omikuji fortune slip all the same as the one she did at the beginning of this year — the 22nd 吉=kichi, meaning lucky with a number sounds like a cat calling you twice. Only a difference between them is property of paper. Oh, it reminds her the sight here in new year days. Several girls in white kimono and red 袴=hakama, Japanese pants served to hand us results while we normally help ourselves. They are called 巫女=miko, maiden employees at temples and shrines.
Here you find a rice planter, for which these lovely boats full of young babies are waiting. It is very nice that watered paddies are not so shiny as Otonuma is even early in the morning. Mei-Shun feels happy to walk along them, greeting several other walkers and dogs.