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July 7 – 小暑 Shousho (Tanabata)

Welcome to the series of posts made in collaboration with Kintoki sweets and ITSUMO Life exploring Japanese culture and seasonal observations.

Today we entered the11th micro season called 小暑 Shousho often known as 七夕Tanabata in the 二十四節季 24 Sekki solar calendar. Shousho, season of “little heat” (小暑), starts with Tanabata, aka 星祭り hoshimatsiri star festival in Japan💫

Of ancient Chinese origin (Qixi or Qiqiao festival) the 7th night of the 7th month is when the “Summer Triangle” stars are visible nicely around midnight and the mythical celestial couple represented by the stars Vega and Altair cross the Milky Way on a bridge (represented by the star Deneb in the triangle) to reunite for one night.

One of the customs in Japan for tanabata is to write wishes on thin strips of paper called 短冊 tanzaku and hang them on fronds of bamboo. Many households will have a length of bamboo displayed with colourful tanzaku fluttering in the wind for the night of the 7th🎋

Featured sweet for this occasion is a type of 干菓子 higashi or dry wagashi (Japanese confection) called suhama. Sen @kintokisweets made this with matcha, toasted soy flour and sugar. Using our stainless steel vegetable cutter, it’s shaped into bamboo leaves. The vegetable cutter we offer at ITSUMO come in multiple shapes and sizes, can be used for slices of carrots and daikon into shapes, and of course great for small sweets like cookies and gelées to make them look more fun.

Bamboo and bamboo leaves are a favourite summertime motif in Japan, partly because of its association with Tanabata but also because the leaves were used as natural packaging for many summertime treats due to its antimicrobial nature, keeping them from spoiling in the summer heat.

For serving, we selected our “bon appetit” plates, copper “meshibe” dessert knife by Yumiko Iihoshi Porcelain and a wooden tray designed by Ifuji to accompany our afternoon tea time.

Tanabata season reminds me of some fond memories of my childhood in Japan personally. When I look towards the sky, whether clear or cloudy, the little starts are connecting us, the past, present and future all under the same sky⭐️

Until our next exploration,
ITSUMO & Kintoki Sweets

Styled With

Masashi Ifuji Round Tray – Veg-dyed BlackMasashi Ifuji Round Tray – Veg-dyed Black
Kuromoji Meshibe StickKuromoji Meshibe Stick
Kuromoji Meshibe Stick Sale price From $12.00
Bon Appetit Plate – BlackBon Appetit Plate – Black
Bon Appetit Plate – Black Sale price From $35.00
Bon Appetit Plate – WhiteBon Appetit Plate – White
Bon Appetit Plate – White Sale price From $35.00

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