Saturday, May 5, 2012

5th of May Holidays

Cinco de Mayo

As the mother of a young boy who is a minor history buff, I should have been prepared for the questions about Cinco de Mayo. "Who fought the Mexicans?" "How did they win?" "What kind of guns did they have?" Turns out it was a battle between the Mexicans and the French in the state of Puebla in 1862, and it is thanks to beer advertisements in the 1980s that so many Americans like me know of it.

Kodomo no hi

The fifth of May is also Kodomo no hi Children's Day in Japan. In Japan koinobori carp-shaped flags are flown on the occasion. Samurai dolls or suits of armor are displayed in homes. However, we do not have a set of armor to display and so the Moose used the holiday to weasel a sword letter opener out of me which also involved a bike ride in the rain yesterday. Today I managed to survive several near slashings with said display item.



The Menu

I am uncertain as to what foods are eaten on Children's Day so I pushed the Mexican menu- fresh salsa, guacamole with fresh lime, grilled steak with more lime, homemade refried frijoles with lime and cilantro, monterrey jack cheese, sour cream, and flour tortillas. Besides the kids had eaten kashiwa-mochi sticky rice cakes with sweet beans inside and wrapped with oak leaves at school on Wednesday. The Moose liked the leaves so much that he brought several home- he had asked his teacher for them. Absentee dada was happy to prepare the Mexican menu and to watch it disappear with gusto.

The Sun, The Beach, & Some Lunatics

The sun honored the day by showing up however you call the holiday. After four long days and five racks of laundry, the damp clothes and towels finally dried. With more bribery tactics involving crêpes, the Mule and I convinced the Moose to ride his bike to the beach with us. The thing is once we get the Moose to the beach, he is reluctant to leave. But first he insisted on a game of Connect Four before leaving, and then he insisted on staying at the beach "until Dada" showed up. I pointed to the traffic at a standstill on the road above us and counselled him that his dad was not likely to make it back from his hospital trek in time to include fajitas for dinner. Tomorrow night may be the full moon, but the lunatics have been emerging with enough frequency this week that dada has seen little of his munsters during their school holiday.

Beach Bounty

The beach bounty was so so as there were a lot of beachcombers on such a glorious day. The Mule wondered where they had all come from as we pushed our bikes through the throngs. Once we hit the sand, the Moose switched into stick collecting mode while the Mule and I resumed our blue and white pottery mission. It's a first for me to collect bits of pottery from a beach, but a lot of blue and white pottery washes up on the beaches around here. Yesterday the sea churned up even more goodies including the biggest shells we have found to date. Everyday is a new offering and so if we've the chance, an opportunity to collect, and it has stormed a bit, we are happy to stroll along and see what we can find. I also knew to expect the koi no bori kite and happily by late afternoon, it made an appearance.

At day's end I'm happy we went with the Cinco de Mayo menu and the beach combing. I don't think we'll be able to collect blue and white shards on the shores of a lake in Ohio, but next year we're adding margaritas and more time with Dada to the feast.
Koi no bori carp shaped kites flying on the beach of Kamakura