Shichijuni-kou (72 Seasons) Calendar Listing
初夏 Shoka: "Early Summer"
Season No. 7: 立夏, Rikka:
"The Start Of Summer"
The daytime air is warm continuously, now. Heaters and fuzzy blankets are stowed away, no longer needed. But the rainy season is still a week off and the lack of moisture makes early summer life dry and comfortable. By the sea, a cool morning fog hangs over the waters, fading for awhile in the heat of day, only to reappear like a ghost in the evening. In mountain country, the night air is sweet with the intoxicating mix of cedar, pine and cypress, sharp and cooling in the nose like a whiff of mint ice cream. And everywhere in Japan, the evening air is filled with song.
Climate No.19. 蛙始鳴
Kaeru Hajimete Naku:
"Frogs Begin To Sing"
(May 5 -May 9)
|A friendly face (Nagahama, Shiga).|
|"Cling" (Tone, Ibaraki)|
|A very patient amagaeru (Japanese tree frog) hanging out with my pet turtle Shippo-chan.|
The Experiment: Raising Tree Frogs From Tadpole To Adult
|A juvenile amagaeru I raised from a tadpole in my living room. :-) (June 2005, Tone, Ibaraki)|
Fortunately, a co-worker told me that her kids successfully raise tadpoles on a no-frills diet of boiled, mashed spinach. All I had to do was drop a few pinches of spinach pulp into the water whenever the critters looked hungry. Only after a few weeks of feeding them, their legs had sprouted and they started crawling on their own out of the water and onto the sides of the bowl. At this point, I supplied them with any winged thing that entered my apartment. As soon as their tails shrank up and disappeared, I set them free, placing them on a paddy ledge and grinning from ear to ear. I couldn't have been a prouder surrogate froggy mom!
|Frog Heaven! Ancient stone-edged, terraced ricefields in Takashima, Shiga.|
It's always a boon whenever I spot these precious water babies. To me, they're the perfect example of flexibility and resilience as they move effortlessly between the worlds of land and water. May I be just as fluid in my own life.
"An old pond;
The frog jumps in.
'Plop!'" -Matsuo Basho
Taste of the Season: サザエ, Sazae, Horned Turban (Turbo Snail)
|A delectable Turbo cornutus (horned turban) grilled to perfection at Namiki Cafe (Kure, Hiroshima).|
|Hunting sea snails on the beach (Akitsu, Higashi Hiroshima).|
|Two wrasses swim in a tank full of ill-fated sazae (turbo snails).|
When he finished serving us our sazae, the chef jumped off the patio onto the sandy beach and began retrieving a few snails that escaped the tank the night before. "I have to do this every day. They're smart," he said. "They know the sea is nearby."
It made us think twice about our meal, but only for a moment. With a bamboo skewer, we dislodged the operculum and pulled out the curled, twisted balloon of cooked flesh. The chef said we could eat the whole thing, intestines and all. It was only a biteful, but a pleasant experience soon to be repeated.
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