Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Children's Day

Happy Children's Day, a holiday in Japan that always falls on May 5th. Once upon a time Children's Day was Boy's Day, but in an effort to recognize all kids, the holiday is now gender neutral. What follows is a personal post-skip if that kind of thing annoys you.

Traditional Children's Day decorations include enormous koi flags like the ones pictured above. If we were all in Japan right now, riding the train through the countryside, or perhaps venturing from city to city, we'd see these flags everywhere. Nobody celebrates the beauty of childhood like the Japanese. Not even, I'd venture to say, the Victorians. (Photos from here and here).

Our own flying carp are much more modest here in Astoria. But thanks to my friend Atsuko, in Japan, Ewan has this to look at as he lies on the floor, while the fan whirls overhead and I curse at the rising temperatures.

Actually, maybe Ewan isn't just lying on his back. In honor of Children's Day, he seems to have decided to roll over. I saw him grabbing his foot this morning and just as I was going to take a picture of that, he suddenly flipped.

We actually celebrated Children's Day over the weekend at Japan Society, which does wonderful events for children. The afternoon began with a play--a reenactment of Momotarosan, or the Peach Boy. He's a folk hero who, true to hero status, slew a pack of wild onis or demons, along with the help of a monkey, dog and bird.

Here's Ewan, after the play, posing with the actor who played the dog.

In addition to snacks and treats, the kids made crafts. Here you see some girls coloring and assembling their own koi streamers (Ewan has a complete one thanks to Daddy).

It was also traditional on Boy's Day to display a set of armor. You know--to show off budding male strength. We don't have a helmet for Ewan, but fortunately the Japan Society activities included origami helmets out of newspaper.

Here, Ewan models his own.

Saturday was also my mother's birthday. So we capped out the evening at Aburiya Kinnosuke for some tasty Japanese food. They had a special namasake available and I am still craving it four days later.

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