Japanese 24 Seasons – Keichitsu-

March 6, 2020 Juju Kurihara Culture, Language, Lifestyle, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

From the 5th of March until the 19th of March is Keichitsu (啓蟄) the third season of Nijushi Sekki. 啓 (Kei) means “open" and 蟄 (Chitsu) means "the insects which are hibernating”. This is the time when all the insects feel the warmth of the spring and come out to the surface.

 

There will be wild plants (山菜/Sansai) from the mountains at local greengrocers at this time. They are not particularly tasty but people tend to eat to feel the spring. Typically people eat them as tempura. 

 

If you have visited Japan during winter, you might have seen trees are covered with rugs made of straws. They are called Komo (菰) and used to attract pest insects which get inside it to avoid the cold weather. When Keichitsu comes, these komo are taken away and get burnt. I always thought these were for protecting the trees from the cold weather. 

[caption id="attachment_9354" align="aligncenter" width="640"]http://bit.ly/2VSXuAb

 

This event is called Komo Yaki (菰焼き). However, it has been discovered recently that no pest insects use  komo as a shelter but only spiders which actually eat the insects are hiding. Still Komo Yaki remains as a seasonal event. 

 

Komoyaki (菰焼き) in Okayama.

 

 

http://climbingrose.jugem.jp/?eid=278&pagenum=3
http://climbingrose.jugem.jp/?eid=278&pagenum=3[/caption]If you still leave Hina Ningyo, please store away. It is said that “later you take the dolls away, later your daughter gets married”. Ideally, you need to put them back in the boxes by the middle of March. Make sure you dust them off and dry them before keeping them in the boxes. You don’t want them get moulded, do you?

 

 

Not only the real insects but also we have some in ourselves. In Japanese there are phrases such as:

– 虫の知らせ (Mushi no shirase/news from a bug)

– 好奇の虫 (Koki no mushi/curious insect)

– 虫唾が走る (Mushizu ga hashiru/feel the stomach acid=loathe)

– 虫が好かない (Mushi ga sukanai/unloved insect=dislike someone)

 

I personally like to have fun and good insects but I guess it’s not up to me. Wash your hands well and keep yourself warm. It’s still cold outside! 

   

 

 

 

References:

Fountain of knowledge: https://afun7.com/archives/7454.html

WirelessWire: https://wirelesswire.jp/2016/03/67880/

Koyomi Gyouji: http://koyomigyouji.com/24-keichitsu.htm

 

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