Japanese 24 Seasons -Shouman-

June 4, 2020 Juju Kurihara Culture, Language, Lifestyle, Vocabulary Tags: , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

On the 20th of May, a new season Shoman (小満) started. Sho means small and man means fulfilling. The meaning is not a little fulfilled but is will be fulfilled. It’s the early summer and as the weather is becoming better, the plants and the trees are satisfied and growing.

The other theory is, the seeds planted in the last autumn grow in the spring. Seeing this makes us giving a peace of mind (a small satisfaction).

This year’s Shoman ends on the 4th of June. Starting day changes depending on a year, some year it starts on the 20th and some year on the 21st.


What are the best things to eat during Shoman?



Although you can eat barley anytime of the year, now is the season. New barley mixed rice and grated Japanese yum is the best way to enjoy this grain. 





This green vegetable is around for a very short period. Unlike some part of Europe, white asparagus is very rare in Japan but we enjoy a lot with the green ones. What is your favourite recipe? 





Koromogae (衣替え) literally means changing clothes. On the 1st of June, schools and offices who provides their employees uniforms change to the summer ones. This change happens also in autumn and not only the schools and the offices but the people tend to change their closets to the winter clothes. Only problem is, even though it’s very hot, we can’t wear short sleeve shirts although you sweat and your shirt gets wet and creased. Maybe it’s fun to see students and workers suddenly change to summer clothes. 


Enjoy the beginning of the summer! (if you are in the northern hemisphere).



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

A fountain of knowledge: https://afun7.com/archives/12201.html


1 Comment

  1. Beth Parkhurst 3 years Reply

    Even though the calendar says it’s still spring, it feels like summer today. The temperature went up to 32 degrees. I’ll be planting tomatoes and basil tomorrow. Tomatoes grow better when basil is planted nearby.

    Asparagus is just coming into season in New England. I like asparagus that’s been simmered until it’s just tender, and then served with butter. I also like asparagus salad: steamed asparagus that has been chilled and served with a dressing of vegetable oil, toasted white sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. I learned how to make this from a cookbook of simple Japanese recipes.

    My mother told me that when she was a young girl in a tiny village in rural upstate New York, people called the scales on asparagus stalks “the devil’s toenails.” There are a number of folk traditions about the devil. When I was a girl, I was told that when there’s a sun shower — when the sun is shining and it’s raining at the same time — that means that the devil is beating his wife.

    Thank you for teaching about the Japanese calendar. I’m very much enjoying learning about the seasons in Japan.

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