April 4 – 清明 Seimei
Welcome to the series of posts made in collaboration with Kintoki sweets and ITSUMO Life exploring Japanese culture and seasonal observations.
Today we are going to explore 清明 Seimei, the 5th micro season in the 二十四節季 24 Sekki solar calendar.
Early April in Japan is when the sakura flowers are coming into full bloom. 花見 Hanami (Japanese flower viewing) is in full swing, and an interesting fact, the Japanese school year also starts in April. The strong association Japanese people have with sakura flowers especially and renewal is probably because childhood memories of starting a new year with new friends, happens under the watch of sakura flowers in full bloom.
Here, the salted sakura sable cookies that Sen @kintokisweets made invoke a happy feeling of springtime, anticipating the arrival of new growth and all the different varieties of cherry blossoms we have growing in Vancouver. Perfect sweets to enjoy this micro season of 清明 Seimei which refers to the bright purity of the spring sunshine.
Choosing a tableware to serve our seasonal treats is just as pleasurable as eating for us. The matte black of Bon Appétit plates (by Yumiko Iihoshi Porcelain) contrasts the pastel colour of these sakura sable cookies. As we often draw our inspiration from seasonal or natural elements, a contrasting dark plate is reminiscent of 夜桜 Yozakura (night sakura viewing) in Japan where the cheerful sakura flowers in the day transform at night when they are subtly lit and the thousands of flowers seem to have an ethereal presence against the deep night sky.
It seems like it will be a rainy few weeks but hopefully with the season of seimei the quality of light coming through the clouds will be brighter and warmer compared to the winter rains and will help bring forth new growth.
Until our next exploration,
ITSUMO & Kintoki Sweets