Yesterday was 冬至 (Winter Solstice). This is the day (in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere) that daytime is the shortest and nighttime is the longest in the year.
夏至 (Summer Solstice), when daytime is the longest, is around June 21; and the two days that daytime and nighttime are an equal twelve hours each are 春分の日 (Spring Equinox), on about March 21, and 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox), on about September 21.
There’s a Japanese tradition to eat かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and take a ユズ湯 (a bath with yuzu* floating in the water).
*(yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit).
It is an old Japanese belief that eating かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and taking a ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) on the 冬至 (Winter Solstice) will help prevent colds.
We ate かぼちゃ (pumpkin) with our dinner and took ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) yesterday. I have a bit of a cold…I can use the help.
Yesterday afternoon, we went to 柴又 (Shibamata, Tokyo).
We’ve been there a number of times before…and once before I wrote a blog post about it.
(Click here to read that post.)
It’s a nice 下町 (traditional area).
Here’s a store that was selling ダルマ (Daruma*):
(*Daruma are bought at New Years with no eyes. You make a New Years wish and color in one eye. When (if) the wish comes true, you paint in the other eye. Then at the end of the year, whether the came true or not, you bring the Daruma to a temple to be burnt down. The you buy a new one for the following year).
The old-fashioned Japanese candy shop there had this sign out front that said 「本場アメリカのピンボール・ゲームありマス。」 (“We have pin-ball machines from America.”)
Some of the candy (including powdered fake-beer drinks!)
The famous and ever-popular 寅さん (Tora-san):
A sign warning children not to play too close to the river’s edge:
This is a boat service that has been taking people across the river for many, many years (there are bridges now, so people ride this ferry only for fun now).
(I wrote about this boat before…click here to read that post):
This cat was very friendly:
I took a couple vidos today, too.
This one’s of a おせんべ (Japanese rice cracker) shop:
And this one is of a shop that makes hand-made candies: