Let’s enjoy March

Let's enjoy March

March is the season for students to finish their school year, or graduate. They prepare for a new school or a new school year. The settlement of a company’s accounts  will also be done in March.

In Japan, March is the last month of the year. To give a brief background behind that, there is one anecdote. Because Japan was an agricultural country, it is said that only two months (November and December) were not enough time for farmers to pay their taxes to the government after the autumn harvest. And after payment, the government had to prepare the next year’s budget. So the government added three more months,January, February and March, to make it easier for people’s yearly payment.

Anyway, it’s a happy season where people and plants all await the arrival of spring. The scent of daphne flowers and the scent of plum blossoms come out of nowhere along the road. Let’s enjoy the season of March in Japan.

The plum grove in Osaka Castle Park is one of the places you should definitely see in Japan. You can enjoy not only the well-known Osaka Castle, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but also the wonderful plum blossoms and scent of this season.

Osaka castle park
https://www.osakacastlepark.jp/?lang=en

3月は子供たちにとって学年が終了したり、卒業をする季節でもあります。 子供たちは新しい学校、新しい学年を迎える準備をします。

日本では3月は年度末の月になります。一説によると昔日本は農業国で秋の収穫からそれをお金にかえて税を納めるのに2か月くらいは必要だし、次の予算を組むのに3月まで時間があるのは国にとって都合がよかったようです。

とにかく、3月は人も草木も全てが春(4月)の訪れを待つワクワクとした季節です。道をあるいているとどこからともなく沈丁花の花の香りがただよい、梅の香がただよってきます。

大阪城公園の梅林はぜひ見ていただきたい場所の一つです。豊臣秀吉が築城した大阪城をみるだけでなく、ぜひこの季節の見事な梅の花と香りをたのしんでください。

Hina Matsuri

Hinamatsuri means the Doll’s Festival. Known as a girl’s festival, this event is to pray for the healthy growth of girls. After Setsubun on February 3rd, Hina dolls will be displayed at homes. 

There is also an interesting superstition connected with this event. After March 3rd, if you don’t get rid of the Hina dolls right away, it is said that the girls in the family will get married late. This is a lesson implying that those women who leave such precious things out for a long time, being too lazy to clean up, wouldn’t be suitable for  marriage. After all, it’s just a superstition, but they’re taught to clean up what they put out, especially for Hina dolls on a sunny day.

In the past, Hina dolls were displayed on tiers, but in recent years, due to housing circumstances, there are many kinds of Hina dolls such as small cute ones and wall decorations. There are many traditional Hina doll shops in the Matsuyamachi shopping district in Osaka, so be sure to check them out. Matsuyamachisuji Shopping Street is a place where you can enjoy the lively atmosphere just by walking through it. This street is a must-see and here are many kinds of shops lined up selling not only Hina dolls but also traditional dolls of all seasons, toys and sweets.

The second picture above is the small Hina doll decoration that I made before. The size of each doll is about 5 cm. Detailed work is necessary! 

Matsuyamachisuji Shopping Street/松屋町筋商店街
https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/matsuyamachisuji-shopping-street

ひな祭り

女の子の節句といわれるこのお祭りは女の子の健やかな成長を祈る行事です。節分(2月3日)をすぎると女の子のいる家庭ではひな人形を飾ります。

3月3日をすぎるとひな人形をすぐに片付けないと結婚するのがおくれるという面白い迷信もあります。これは、大切なひな人形を出しっぱなしにするようではお嫁に行けなくなるよという教訓だそうで、本当にただの迷信ですよ。

出したものはきちんと丁寧に特にお雛様は晴れた日に片付けるようにしましょう。

昔は段飾りでしたが、近年は住宅事情により小さなかわいいものや壁飾りになっているような物までたくさんの種類のひな人形があります。大阪市松屋町商店街には伝統的なひな人形のお店が沢山あるのでぜひ行ってみてください。松屋町筋商店街は見て歩くだけでも楽しめるところです。(ひな人形だけでなくあらゆる季節の伝統的伝統的な人形や、おもちゃお菓子などたくさんのお店が集まっています、必見です)

Syun (seasonal food)

The food I recommend in March

Chirashizushi

Scattered sushi, known as chirashizushi, is the best choice (or most commonly eaten) for the Doll’s Festival. At the Doll’s Festival, traditionally each family makes chirashizushi.

At my house, I make all the ingredients myself. It’s a part of the fun to enjoy the process of making it with your kids and family members.

Here are brief steps on how to make chirashizushi
It’s a long process to cook it from scratch, so here I’ll introduce you to an easy version of chirashizushi and ※rice balls (the picture above is what I made.). 

  1. Cook rice. Just add a chirashizushi mix (source or powder) to rice.
  2. Mix mentsuyu and an egg together to make a thin seasoned omelet and cut it into strips. Cut carrots in a flower shape and simmer them in boiled mentsuyu. Cut the green beans (or cucumber) into thin strips. Sprinkle sakura denbu (or any sprinkles or ingredients of your choice).
  3. Place chirashizushi on a plate and sprinkle shredded eggs, flower-shaped carrots,    shredded green beans, etc. on top.

※ Make rice balls and wrap them  in ham, seaweed, thin egg and cucumber, etc.

We Japanese enjoy our dishes not only by tasting them but also by viewing them. So enjoy chirashizushi by touching, looking, smelling, and last but not least, tasting on March 3rd!

ちらし寿司

一から作るのは結構手間なので超簡単に作れるちらし寿司とひなおにぎりでも作ってみましょう。ぜひ3月3日に作って、目で楽しんでおいしくいただいて下さい。

  1. ご飯を用意します。ちらし寿司のもとを入れて混ぜるだけ。ふりかけでもOK。
  2. 次にひな祭り用にデコレーションします。卵にめんつゆなどを入れて味をつけて薄焼き卵を作って千切りに。にんじんはお花の型でぬいてめんつゆで薄味に煮ておきます。さやえんどう、なければきゅうりを千切りにしておきます。さくらでんぶ(スーパーで売ってます。なくても可)
  3. ちらしずしをお皿に盛ってその上に卵の千切り、花型のにんじん、千切りのさやえんどうなど   を散らしてできあがり。

Sakuramochi

My other sweets recommendation during this time is sakuramochi. Sakuramochi is a pink rice cake filled with red bean paste wrapped in a salt pickled cherry leaf. The cherry leaf may or may not be eaten, depending on  individual preference. Especially Kansai style sakuramochi is the most delicious one yet. Pickled cherry leaf is edible, and I recommend eating the leaf and mochi together because that combination is really tasty. Let’s try to eat sakuramochi without peeling the leaf.

If you go to a department store or a mall, you will find a lot of seasonal items such as Hina cake and Hinamatsuri chirashizushi. Don’t miss the food department and confectionery department of department stores and malls. There are Hankyu Department Store, Hanshin Department Store, Daimaru Department Store, Osaka Takashimaya, Kintetsu Department Store, and more.

百貨店やモールにいくとひなケーキやひな祭りのちらし寿司なども、この季節限定の物がたくさんあります。百貨店やモールの食品売り場、お菓子売り場も必見です。阪急百貨店・阪神百貨店・大丸百貨店・大阪高島屋・近鉄百貨店など

I love all the seasons in Japan. My mother has a great sensitivity to nature, sincerely loving every season. So thanks to my mother, I grew up embracing each season we have in Japan. I hope you too can experience and enjoy that seasonal beauty of Japan.

私は日本の季節が大好きです。私の母はとても感性豊かな人で季節を愛して生きているような人です。私たち家族はその母のおかげで、いつでも今はどんな季節なのか感じながら育ってきました。季節を愛でる。。ぜひ色んな日本の季節をたのしんでください。

Chisato.A

By Chisato.A

I live in Osaka. I love cooking, gardening, traveling, and making small decorations. I want to communicate with a lot of people in the world.

6 comments

  1. Thank you for your blog. I enjoyed reading it. We made chirashizushi for ourselves last year, and we’re going to make it for our daughter this year.

    1. Thank you for reading my article, Takahiro san. Eventually I really enjoyed writing my article and learned about Japanese customs and traditional events that I didn’t know. Please show me your familiy’s chirashizushi that you and your family made. Thank you so much😍

  2. SO CUTE, Chisato!! I especially love the food recipes that you shared!! 😍😍😍😍 Thank you for writing this lovely article. 🥰🥰🥰

    1. Thank you for reading my article, Kris😍. I really enjoyed writing my article this time. Explaining for Japanese customs and traditional in English is difficult, but I learned a lot of things from this experience.
      When I was talking with you, I wish I can explain about everything to you better in English. Anyway, I’ll try next one,too . Thank you💕💕.

  3. I love reading your articles and watching these cute decorations you made including the food, especially, charaben(キャラ弁).
    Lunch boxes or kyara-ben, which can’t be seen outside of Japan.
    We also have some shops selling various samples of food.
    Here’s one around in Kapabashi(合羽橋) Asakusa, Tokyo.
    https://www.ganso-sample.com/shop/kappabashi/

    Those arts fascinate people coming from all over the world.

    I’m wondering if you’ve already known the website ‘Etsy’

    https://www.etsy.com/jp/

    My daughter loves this artist using ‘Etsy’, anyway.
       ⤵
    https://www.katiedaisy.com/

    You can update your online shop with your original works too.
    Good luck!!

    1. Thank you for warm comment and sharing. As you know, I love cooking. I’ll check up ‘Etsy’ later. Thank you so much, Takako.

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