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ご挨拶 「夏枯草」夏至〜小暑 Greeting " Kakoso " From Summer Solstice to Slight Heat*





いそのかみ ふるきみやこの ほととぎす 
こえばかりこそ むかしなりけれ
(古今和歌集 素性法師)



The morning sunlight is getting stronger and we start to feel melting summer days.

The days are getting shorter after the summer solstice, although it will be a while before the harsh summer comes.  Woods are greening up and flowers are shining under the sunlight as if they are preparing for the strict summer.  Among such plants, there is a withering plant: Kakoso which is called “self-heal.”  It comes out around the winter solstice, and it withers quietly around the summer solstice.

People of the past did not have many ways to beat the heat.  Instead of technology, they prayed for getting through the summer safely.  They named self-heal “Kakoso(夏枯草)” because it() withered() without passing the summer().  The ancients might feel sympathy for nature.

Iso no kami     Furuki miyako no     Hototogisu
Koe bakari koso     Mukashi nari-kere
By Sosei from the Kokinwakashu

Meaning: Only lesser cuckoo’s chirp is unchanged at the old capital, Isonokami.

The poem made me think about “What kinds of trends Japanese cuisine takes in” and “What kinds of tradition should be protected” in accordance with the times.

*Summer Solstice/ Slight Heat: The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms. “Summer Solstice” is the 10th solar term and starts from June 21st. “Slight Heat” is the 11th solar term and starts from July 6th.


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