Shichijuni-kou (72 Seasons) Calendar Listing
初夏 Shoka: "Early Summer"
Season No. 7: 立夏, Rikka:
"The Start Of Summer"
According to the website theworldofchinese.com, the season rikka (from the Chinese lixia or "start of summer"), was traditionally celebrated by the eating of "red eggs" (double hard-boiled eggs cooked in black tea powder) to help strengthen the heart against summer heat.
Perhaps a lingering tradition borne of this Chinese custom, eggs in some form continue to top the ever-popular summer dish hiyashi chukka (冷やし中華) -ramen noodles served cold with shredded ham, julienned cucumbers, tomatoes and other cool additions. Any food that can soothe an overheated body is welcome this time of year! It's getting hot out there!
Climate No. 21: 竹笋生
"Bamboo Shoots Up"
(May 15 -May 20)
|Bamboo shoots in a planter on display for the "Bamboo Festival" (Takehara, Hiroshima)|
|The famous Chikurin Bamboo Grove behind Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama (Kyoto).|
|Me holding a felled stalk of young bamboo I found on the ground, still soft and pliable like rubber and covered in its fuzzy, protective husk. (Bamboo Joy Highland Park, Takehara, Hiroshima)|
1. Add bamboo salt (竹塩 takeshio) to my cooking.
2. Rest on a bamboo mat (竹シートtakesheet) to keep cool.
3. Use a bamboo scratcher (竹バックスクラッtチャー take bakkusukurattcha) when my back itches.
4. Use bamboo chopsticks (おはし ohashi) to eat with (nice ones, not disposable).
5. Cool myself with a bamboo folding fan (扇子 sensu).
6. Wash with bamboo charcoal soap (竹炭石鹸 takesumi sekken).
7. Place bamboo charcoal (竹炭 takesumi) under my sink and in the fridge to absorb odors and moisture.
8. Practice painting with bamboo brushes (竹筆 chikuhitsu).
9. Use a bamboo paddle (しゃもじ shamoji) to serve my rice.
10. Eat bamboo shoots (竹の子 takenoko) stir-fried with vegetables.
|A dense bamboo thicket in Tamari, Takehara (Hiroshima Prefecture).|
"A cuckoo cries,
And through a thicket of bamboo,
The late moon shines." -Matsuo Basho
|A secret bamboo trail in Takehara, Hiroshima.|
Taste Of The Season: 竹の子, Takenoko, Bamboo Shoots
|Grilled bamboo shoot with special Takehara miso and pickles (Kampo No Yado, Takehara, Hiroshima).|
I gotta put my foot down, here. That is not how they're supposed to taste!
|Braised takenoko in sake broth. (A sweet present from a sushi chef in Takehara, Hiroshima).|
I was treated last year to a fantastic meal at Kampo No Yado (広島県竹原市湯坂温泉かんぽの宿), a hot springs resort with a restaurant featuring local delicacies from around Hiroshima and the Chugoku region. Gracing the menu were fresh-picked bamboo shoots from Takehara, a city famous for (and named after) its seemingly endless bamboo forests. (Takehara hosts bamboo festivals in both summer and winter). It was one of the most memorable meals I've had in Japan, finished off with a small cupful of precious Taketsuru sake brewed just around the mountain.
|A few of the many dishes I enjoyed at Kampo no Yado in Takehara, Hiroshima.|
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