August, 2003 

This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at ou
r previous issues.


Hi, I am Shuma.
Nice to meet you!

Shuma is a yearling!

 Hi, friends!
 I hope you remember Yoko, who arranges flower for Yoyokaku, whom I introduced in the previous issue of May, 2003.
 She is very proud of her first grandchild, Shuma Yamashita, and she agreed to let me introduce him in this page. So I will introduce a Japanese baby, with some explanation of how Japanese families celebrate a birth of a boy.

 Please enjoy meeting our Yearling.

Shuma was born on July 17, 2002.
He is the first child of Toshiya and Rie.

He was 50cm tall and weighed 3090gm.
Daddy took a photo of Shuma's foot.
Look at his tiny foot, smaller than the Lucky Strike.
Grandma Yoko took Shuma to the Shrine on his 31st day.
It is called "Miya-mairi"
Boys go on the 31st day, and girls, 33rd day. Families pray for the health and happiness of the child.

In the Shrine, when the Ritual began, drums were beaten. The sound made Shuma cry.
To let the baby cry is a very important thing. We can know that this baby is healthy.

Can you see envelopes hanging from the grandmother's neck?
They are the Congratulation Money given from the friends and relatives.
On the 100th day after birth, families celebrate the First Eating of the baby.
The menu is: Sekihan (rice cooked with red beans), Tai-fish(sea-bream, which is used in a happy occasion), some kind of soup, and red and white vegetables meaning celebration.

Of course the baby doesn't eat them yet. Mother brings some food with chopsticks to his mouth, and the baby looks as if eating.
The first New Year for a boy.
Brand new Arrows are decorated to celebrate this small Samurai's New Year.

Great-grandmother Hideko is so proud.

The only person in the house who is unhappy in this happy ceremony is Yoko's puppy San-chan.
San-chan cannot quite understand why these days Yoko gives Shuma more hugs and kisses than to her sweet-heart puppy.
Toshiya and Rie were married on April 13, 2003. It was a postponed wedding.
Two years before, they were preparing for the wedding. On May 6, 2001, Shinji Yamashita, Toshiya's father died of a sudden death. He was only 47.

The wedding ceremony was postponed.
The young couple were legally married, but for the reception they had to wait for two years because Rie was going to be a mother.

Shuma was all smiling during the wedding.
He was the Hero there.
May 5 is the Boy's Day.
Families boast new Koi-nobori(carp). and the Flag specially dyed for the boy with his name on it to let everyone of the town know that they have a boy.

Inside the house, relatives (most of the time grandparents) present a decorative set of Kabuto (warrior's helmet) and weapons like bow and arrows.

The baby wears a helmet, made with cloth or paper,

Boy's Day cake, shaped as Carp.
The flower Iris is a symbol of the May 5 's Festival which originates from China.
Leaves of Iris get rid of the evil of the world, so we put the leaves in the hot water and bathe.

The party for Shuma's Boy's Day.
Friends and relatives get together and eat and drink.

Mom Rie and the young Samurai Shuma.
July 17,2003 was Shuma's 1st birthday.
Grandma holds his hand because he tries to catch the fire of the candle.
"Happy birthday, Shuma!"
A traditional ceremony of stepping on the rice cakes, wishing the baby the best luck for his lifetime.
Don't misunderstand that he is going to pee. Grandma is holding him from his back not to let him fall down.
"Mochi" (pounded rice cake) is still soft. You can not see, but there are two Mochis, white one under, and red one on top.
He wears straw sandals.
After Mochi stepping, the family let the baby choose one thing from some materials on the floor.
Dictionary, calculator, book, ladle, scissors, hammer, even money.
Which does the baby choose?
It tells his future!
Shuma grabbed a ladle with red handle!
Is he going to be a great cook?

Grandma wanted him to take the hammer, because her father was a carpenter.
Nobody wanted the red ladle. But, God will dipose.
Mom Rie said she will be happy enough if Shuma grows up safely and happily.

Dear friends, this is the story of a Japanese boy for his first one year.
Walking is a little slow, but he climbs up the sofa, and crawls on the floor very fast.
I am sure he will be a good swimmer.

Thank you for meeting our Yearling. See you again.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

Proprietress of Ryokan Yoyokaku

  Mail to Harumi Okochi