Vol.5 Koku-u (穀雨)

Koku-u from April.19 ~ May.4 (in 2020)

Around this term, the sunlight is getting stronger and stronger, sometimes we need to put up parasols outside. The pink color of cherry blossoms has completely disappered, the clear green color of lots of seasonal plants appear in the towns and field. Around this season, the precipitation is going on increasing gradually. They say that rain grows hundred kinds of grain. In Japanese language, grain is Kokumotsu (穀物) and rain is Ame (雨, in this case we read it “ u “ ). People say that the word Koku-u comes from this proverb.

In the coronavirus pandemic 2020, the seasonal flowers limited to see outside

In this 2020, we need to stay home because of the coronavirus pandemic all over the world. I can’t go out to get seasonal things to introduce or show you. I am so sorry. Because we have lots of beautiful sunny days around this term, if I could go out, I would get lots of interesting things for me and you. Though it is so difficult time for everybody, I try to find something seasonal around me and in my town. First, the seasonal flowers.

 

Azalea in May, Japan

We can see azalea everywhere in the cities because they are planted as one of street flowers. They are not only beautiful but also strong against automobile exhaust gas. Also they can grow even on the poor soil. When I was a little child, I used to taste azalea’s nectar! I remember it was so tasty. If you are interested in how to, here is; First, you separate the stamens and pistil of the flowers and leave petals itself. Then you stuck the bottom of the petal. Seriously I don’t recommend it to you now, it is just one of child's play. Anyway azalea reminds me of the memories in my childhood. We can see azalea a lot especially along the highways all over Japan.

Wisteria, This flower reminds me the Tale of Genji.

 This is also one of seasonal flowers around this term. I like its lavender scent. It is of course beautiful to see in the clear sunlight, but I like better to see them in the rain. This flower reminds me the Tale of Genji. This is one of classic masterpieces of Japanese literature. Wisteria is Fuji (藤) in Japanese language. The hero Hikarugenji loved his stepmother in this story, her name was Lady Fujitsubo, the fourth princess of the previous Emperor.

Sesonal wagashi, Japanese sweets

Here I’m gonna show you some wagashi-sweets from Kyoto. These are made by Shichijo-kansyundo, one of famous confectionary store in Kyoto.

Kashiwa-mochi, the wagashi for Children’s Day (5, May)

First of all, around this term we often have Kashiwa-mochi in Japan. This is mochi which has some adzuki-beans paste inside covered with a leaf of Japanese emperor oak, Kashiwa. It smells nice. In this term, a season is changing drastically warm, so I sometimes feel listless. I feel like be refreshed myself by smelling this leaf’s aroma. This is also the wagashi for Children’s Day (5, May).

Like iris, beautiful purple

Secondly, this is a wagashi resembling the flower of iris. Its color purple is presented so beautifully with gold powder! It’s too good to eat….

Kashiwa-awase, resembling two leaves of Kashiwa

This is a wagashi resembling two leaves of Japanese emperor oak Kashiwa as a set of bowl-and- lid. Going far back to around the Heian Period, people in general used leaves as dishes. They couldn’t have real dishes, so they used leaves as bowls and lids. This wagashi is resembling this set with seasonal Kashiwa leaves. The surface of it is made by white beans paste, with azuki-bean paste inside it.

Very rare, like a Koinobori

The final one is resembling a Koinobori, a carp streamer for Children’s day in Japan. It is made of sweet beans jelly. It really looks like real Koinobori!