It was this time last year that I had the pleasure of sharing the moon viewing experience with Tina and my friends in Hino Cho Japan. Last year it was between the 13th and 16th September my birthday. This year it occurs on the 1st of October and celebrates the August / Autumn rice harvest.
I have noticed that the moon usually appears extra large at this time of year, and has been a cause for celebration for over 1000 years. Sometimes the celebrations were so riotous that they were banned during the Edo period. Last year Tina, my friends and I marked the occasion by the presentation of specific foods as offerings. The principal item seems to be Tsunami dang, rice dumplings. These are wonderfully moon like in construction. They are often shown grouped in pyramidical piles of 15 (to represent the 15th day of the month) or 12 (to represent the 12 months of the year ). I enjoyed eating them together with chestnuts which are in season. We also displayed Pampas grass (Susuki grass) to represent the rice harvest. We placed a grouping of these on the Veranda which was bathed by moonlight. Sometimes a Tanka poem is read to salute the moon. The whole event can be washed down with a jug of sake – most enjoyable! We all repaired to a special local restaurant where I probably had my best meal ever. Maybe that’s another blog!