Micro Season Part 2 雨水 Usui Rainwater
雨水 Usui ( Rainwater )
The micro seasons for this part are as follows:
February 19–23 土脉潤起 Tsuchi no shō uruoi okoru. Rain moistens the soil.
February 24–28 霞始靆 Kasumi hajimete tanabiku. Mist starts to linger.
March 1–5 草木萌動 Sōmoku mebae izuru. Grass sprouts, trees bud.
At the start of spring in Japan before the cherry blossoms bloom another tree has its moment. For people in Japan this is just as imported. When the stunning plum blossoms arrive it begins the arrival of spring by symbolising renewal and hope. One of the best places to view over 2000 ume trees is the Kitano Tenmangu shrine in Kyoto. They have a plum blossom festival which is held on February 25th the grounds are full with plum blossom and a special outdoor tea ceremony called Baikasai is held. Maiko serve hot matcha tea with wagashi ( Japanese sweets ) they also have a flea market at the same time.
This micro season couldn’t be passed by without talking about Hina matsuri on the 3rd of March. This is also known as dolls day or girls day. On this day parents celebrate their daughters happiness and good health. Traditionally when a girl is born parents or grand parents will buy a special set of Hina dolls, sometimes they are passed down from generations. These dolls are displayed in the house from the end of February until March 3rd. The dolls are a representation of the emperor and empress .
These are my friends Hina dolls that she has displayed in her house. Instagram (@dokodemotokyo)
Sometime girls will invite friends for a party and have traditional foods.
There are lots of foods associated with this time.
Temari sushi, decorated sushi balls take their name from the Temari balls children played with. Temari means hand balls and they are beautiful embroidered balls that are now normally used for decoration. These bit sized sushi balls are easy to make just search Temari sushi for instructions.
Sakura Mochi a traditional spring wagashi for Hinamatsuri and the coming Sakura seasons. Sakura Mochi is a Mochi rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and then wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf. It’s a nice combination of sweet and salty. Just search Sakura Mochi for the recipe.
There are three colours associated with Hinamatsuri white for purification, green for health and pink for luck. Often you will see dango in these three colours which are popular at this time. These are also called hanami dango or Sanshoku dango. Just search dango for recipes.
Cherry blossom cookies are also a nice one to make. Recipe on this website.
Others are strawberry daifuku,cherry blossom rice balls,inari sushi and chirashi sushi (scattered sushi
This year I will be making a chirashi sushi which resembles a cake in the three spring colours known as Chakin sushi.
Seasoned sushi rice which you can either layer using the colours in-between or colour the rice. I like to use natural colours so I used beetroot juice for pink mixed into cooked sushi rice and matcha tea. You can then add the toppings to the top of the rice cake.
I think this would be a lovely one for a party or gathering.
You could even make mini ones cup cake style or make three layer onigiri.
I also decided to make onigiri in the shape of Hina dolls.
If you would like to see things I have made in previous years just search Hina matsuri, I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own celebration.
As I have no children it has also been suggested to me that girls day is a nice day to spend with girl friends or sisters. Maybe if you have no girl children you could plan a day out or go for a meal or celebrate women in general.