Monday, March 03, 2008

March 3 2008 Girls Day

Once again the traditional day to pray for the safety and health of younger members of the fairer sex rolls around.Of course Im referring to Girls Day which is celebrated today.
Many supermarkets and food outlets had displays and food on sale to mark the day.

The photo above shows one such bento available today.It has very colourful contents as is the custom of the day and comes in a diamond shaped container decorated in the traditional colours of the festival,i.e red,white and green.The diamond shape and colours of the container mimic that of the hishi mochi biscuits that are also part of todays festival.The diamond shaped hishi mochi are placed alongside the hina dolls that are traditionally displayed in homes prior to March 3.

As mentioned briefly last week I went to the Tokugawaen Gardens and the adjacent Tokugawa Art Museum.
The Tokugawa family was one of the powerful and influential ruling families during the Edo period(1603-1867).The museum has a number of exhibition rooms which display such things as the garments,art,furnishings and armour owned by the various generations of the family.
I was particularly taken by the swords and suits of armour.Early firearms and small cannon are also on display.Other exhibits include kitchen utensils and equipment such as sewing kits.All beautifully made and bearing the family crest or seal which consists of three hollyhock leaves.
However the real purpose of my visit was to see the annual display of hina dolls owned by various generations of the Tokugawa family.Even though it was 10:30 am on a cold blustery Sunday morning I wasnt the only one taking the opportunity to view the large collection.
There were a number of sets of hina dolls on display.The larger sets not only included the obligatory Emperor and Empress dolls that sit on the top of a stage like affair and below them at different levels their retinue of courtiers,musicians and guards but also furniture and pet dogs.
While some of the dolls had what appeared to be porcelain heads and hands as well as scaled down silk clothes there were a number of paper mache animals such as dogs still bright and colorful despite their age.
Nowadays due to lack of space and time most families only display the two main Emperor and Empress dolls on a table.
One also has to bear in mind that a set of hina dolls(which are given by grandparents)are expensive.Judging by the prices at shops and from what Ive been told a simple set runs anywhere from 200,000yen upwards depending on the quality and number of dolls in a set.
Based then on the evidence of the sets of dolls on display,their number and quality as well as the detailed household objects such as fans,brushes and clothes,the Tokogawa family was,to put it in cold financial terms very well to do and their collection is priceless.
The hina doll collection display runs until April 6th.Admission to the Museum is 1,200 yen while a discount is available if you want to visit the adjoining Garden as well.


Hai Yen said...

Dear Tim:

I reached your blog by accident when looking for some information.
From then, I become the frequent reader of your stories and experiences in Japan.

I'm a Vietnamese, right now studying in Kumamoto Japan. I really like the information you gave about all your activities in Japan, which is also very useful for me to understand more about Japanese culture.

So long for now, thank you for your writing! And please keep up your great work!

a Vietnamese reader-

tim said...

Greeting Hai,
Thanks for your kind comments.I bet you also have some interesting stories about your time in Japan.
I see from the newspaper that the cherry blossoms have bloomed in Kumamoto Prefecture.I hope you get to see them as this is one of the best times of the year to be living in Japan.
Good luck with your studies!