芒種 Bōshu (Grain beards and seeds)
June 6–10 蟷螂生 Kamakiri shōzu Praying mantises hatch
June 11–15 腐草為螢 Kusaretaru kusa hotaru to naru Rotten grass becomes fireflies
June 16–20 梅子黄 Ume no mi kibamu Plums turn yellow
Midway through the summer micro seasons the rice is planted in the wet paddy fields of Japan, their little stalks looking almost like the praying mantis. Fire flies start to dart around in the early evening, a truly magical event. Japan’s rainy season will soon arrive . The rainy season is called Tsuyu meaning plum rain, the rain that falls when the plums are ripe for the picking. It is an important part of Japanese culture, harvesting the plums to be made into liquor or preserved in salt to make umeboshi. I have a few recipes on my recipe pages using umeboshi why not give them a try over this time. The sweet and sour tofu is a particular favourite, as is umeboshi onigiri.
In Japan over the rainy season you may see ghost like pieces of cloth hanging at windows these are called Teru Teru Bozu, they depict a weather monk and are said to be used to pray for a sunny day. Often children might hang them the day before an event or by farmers.
Rainy season is celebrated in Japan like any other and it is at this time the ajisai (hydrangeas) bloom and many people go to the gardens to see them. If you would like to make my soup for the rainy you can also find that in my recipe section, a bright green soup to represent the lush vegetation at this time, you can also read more about places to see Ajisai on this post.
I am also thinking it might be a good time to set goals for the rest of the year. Planting that rice paddy and letting it grow ( metaphorically speaking ) . As many of us have been slowing down over the last few months let’s not be too eager to rush back into our old hectic lives. I know many of you like myself have been getting out and enjoying nature more. I speak personally when I say it does indeed have a calming effect. Many people especially in the countryside of Japan enjoy the changing seasons and cook seasonal foods. Doing this can help us feel more connected to the earth. This is why many of my recipes are seasonal either enjoying produce of the time or relating to some Japanese custom of the year. I think many of us tend to get lost in our everyday lives and I think as we start to move forward from this trying time of 2020 it would be nice to keep some of the slowness that we may have found. I hope that you might try making some Japanese food for yourself. Try to find some local seasonal produce, maybe choose a recipe you could use them in and set aside time to cook it. Do it in a peaceful environment. While your preparing the food think about who you are making the food for sending love and good energies into the food. This is a nice meditation that you can use while doing everyday tasks.