大暑 Taisho (Greater heat)
July 23–28 桐始結花 Kiri hajimete hana o musubu Paulownia trees produce seeds ( the blue flowers are the crest of the Japanese government)
July 29–August 2 土潤溽暑 Tsuchi uruōte mushi atsushi Earth is damp, air is humid ( you may see water scattered on stone paths in gardens or outside shops, to aid a cooling effect )
August 3–7 大雨時行 Taiu tokidoki furu Great rains sometimes fall (watch out for those sudden down pours ! )
We are now in the last micro season of summer. Schools out and temperatures start to rise. Teisho meaning great heat in itself tells you about this micro season. It is the season of edamame and watery tomato and melon to quench your thirst from the humidity.
Normally in Japan at this time there would be summer festivals and fireworks. As well as the huge explosions in the sky one such fire work that is popular is called Senko hanabi, Senko meaning incense stick and hanabi meaning firework they are a sparkler that lights up the summer nights. They represent flowers and plants of Japan peony, pine, willow and chrysanthemum that is said to evoke a flash of sadness when reminded on how brief life and beauty is. This is something much appreciated in Japan from the cherry blossoms in spring to the flowering lotus, and is called mono no aware in Japanese.
Have you heard of Shochu-Mimai ?
You probably know how people in Japan send greetings cards at New Years but did you know there is a tradition of sending summer cards after the rainy season has finished.
People send cards with summer images depicting hanabi, summer flowers like morning glory, melon or fish, to family and friends. It is custom to enquire about the recipients health and add a personal update. I think more than any year this would be a lovely thing to do right now.
Japan make the most beautiful and elaborate cards. Here is one such Shochu-Mimai that I received some years ago from a friend in Japan, depicting a traditional Japanese house and garden on a hot summer evening . It even comes with lights and sounds when you press the button on the card, how wonderful!
It’s something I have kept for many years. Why not send a special summer greetings card to a friend to surprise and delight them. Even if your not in Japan I’m sure you could find a suitable card.