April 20–24 葭始生 Ashi hajimete shōzu First reeds sprout
April 25–29 霜止出苗 Shimo yamite nae izuru Last frost, rice seedlings grow
April 30–May 4 牡丹華 Botan hana saku Peonies bloom
As for many of us this year we may have been spending more time going for walks to get our exercise. This is something I have been doing as a way to not only get exercise but to release tension and stress for many many years. Over the last few weeks I have really noticed changes almost everyday in the surrounding countryside. Everything at this time of year is such a vivid green, with all that new energy bursting out into the world. Lambs are in the fields and the sky has been the most beautiful blue.
This is a time in Japan that the farmers start to get ready to plant the rice paddy fields.
Part of this micro season is also part of golden week in Japan. A collection of four national holidays starting on April 29th with Showa Day. Showa day used to be the celebration of Emperor Showa’s birthday who passed away in 1989. The next holiday is Constitution day or Memorial Day on this day in 1947 the new post war constitution was put into effect. The last holiday in this micro season over golden week is Greenery Day . A day dedicated to the environment and nature. Golden week is normally a very busy time in Japan and would of been the time I intended to visit some of the beautiful parks and nature this year in Japan whilst on my trip there. However due to the problems with travel at the moment I have had to put my plans on hold. Hopefully next year I will be able to witness the beauty of the wisteria and azalea for my self. Wisteria at the Ashikaga flower park and Kameido Tenjin in Tokyo and the azalea at the Nezu-Jinja Shrine Tokyo and Nagaoka-Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto. Like many even in Japan they will not be able to see these either this year, I expect Golden Week will not be as busy a holiday and I worry about what the effects are going to be on not only Japan’s economy but everyone’s.
I normally try to celebrate Greenery day with at least a walk in nature, I will probably visit my local nature reserve.
I also like to celebrate by making food with a green theme. Maybe you could try my recipe for greenery day matcha rice, or any of my other matcha recipes to give it a green theme.