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Monday, March 03, 2008

Hinamatsuri (Girl's Day)

March 3rd is Girl's Day in Japan, called Hinamatsuri (Japanese Doll Festival.) It's a celebration for Japanese girls, and Japanese Boy's Day is May 5th in Japan. People display a set of hina dolls and props in the house, wishing girls' healthy growth and happiness. Parents or grand parents of a newborn girl buy a set of gorgeous hina dolls unless they have special dolls, which are inherited from generation to generation.
Emi starts off her day with a bento. Sage and Abby chose to take last night's chili. Homemade fish cakes with grape tomatoes and takuan, and a tangerine.
Hina dolls are dressed in Japanese ancient costumes and are displayed on the shelves of a stand covered with a red carpet from the end of February to March 3rd. It is believed that any hina doll display should be taken down soon after the festival day; otherwise girls might have to wait to get married. This one is Abby's.

And Emi's.
They had a book fair at the school today, so I bought them each a book since it is the girls' special day and I hadn't really gotten them anything. They also got to drink "ramune", a Japanese soda in a unique bottle.
What makes the bottle unique, is the marble inside. If you chug on it, the marble blocks the opening, so it forces you to drink it slowly and enjoy it.

The girls chose sukiyaki for dinner. Kinda like hot pot cooking. Today's sukiyaki consisted of thinly sliced beef, tofu, udon, baby bok choy, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum), shirataki (yam cake strings), green onion, shiitake and enoki mushrooms. They are cooked in the pan with a sauce made out of soy sauce, dashi (bonito stock), mirin (cooking sake), and sugar.
The kids each got their own, and the big one's for David and I.
For dessert, I made calpis jello. Calpis is a Japanese milk-based uncarbonated soft drink. I used concentrated calpis (called Calpico in the states, because otherwise it would sound like Cow Piss, and who'd want to drink that?), added some water, sugar, and gelatin and chill.

And then topped it with fresh pineapples. The Calpis jello was pretty refreshing. This would be great with berries too.


karen said...

wow. talk about yummy. i just started making shabu shabu. i love it. tell me the mix for the sauce for the sukiyaki. i have only tried once and it was a bit too salty, but then again i didn't use mirin.

Mer said...

Looks like you all had fun! :0)

hadie said...

Wow, I want to come over now. ^_^ I really like reading your blogs, especially when you write about your Japanese culture. Very cool!

Nilmandra said...

Are those cast iron pots for the sukiyaki? I love them!