Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tsukimi 月見 Moon Viewing

Sunlight on Mt. Fuji
Hiking Mt. Fuji last year was a memorable experience, and one I do not plan to repeat. Visualizing plodding elephant legs as I slightly lifted my booted foot forward, just skimming the ground,  got me to the top. Last year I was thinking of sunrises, this year I am thinking of the moon and light.

A full moon is coming: 12 September 2011
There will be a full moon tonight. It is my friend's daughter's birthday so I asked my friend if there were any associations with full moons in Japanese culture. Turns out there is a long history of moon viewing in Japan, Tsukimi 月見 - it seems no opportunity is missed to admire nature here. Westerners may think of Tokyo, city life, as Japan, but I am guessing that the city dwellers in Tokyo pay more attention to the rhythms of nature than New Yorkers.

What to do to honor the full moon besides watching it? Why cooking of course. My friend said she will make dango a pounded rice dumpling made from rice flour. The balls look like a full moon. The tastiest thing to do is have you watch "Cooking with Dog" on Youtube. They will show you how. These are a variation as they have tofu in them but it just makes them healthier and no less tastier.

Boil dango until they float then be ready with skewers and toppings!

I also couldn't pass up this poem, The Word, by Tony Hoagland about sunshine which was posted via The Writer's Almanac:

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,
between "green thread"
and "broccoli," you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."
Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend
and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,
and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing
that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds
of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder
or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,
but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom
still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,
—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.
"The Word" by Tony Hoagland, from Sweet Ruin. © University of Wisconsin Press, 1992. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)


  1. It is a wonder and a delight to dip into your blog. A very short while ago I bumped into it again (after I had read some starting reflections a few years ago) and my heart swooned with the deliberate, quiet movement of your prose. Tonight I was checking in to send a link to an auntie I think would enjoy it and I see this poem by Tony Hoagland. Just had to point out the sweet serendipity--he was my poetry professor in college.

    The late summer rains were so plentiful this year that they took all of the heat and have moved us immediately to hints of the drafty floors to come.It seems early but I've seen some persimmon fruit starting to blush and am waiting to smell the kinmokusei. Ohaiyo! Great state to land in after Japan. Hope the hills are beautiful.

  2. The hills are alive with color-- the past two weeks I have driven around thinking of "Maria" singing in the alpine hills, really, I can't not think of it.

    I read the poem again and felt it's beauty. How lucky I am to have been reminded! I love how connections keep linking us.

    I am honored to know you found something to share from here, thank you.


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