More photos from the recent tayasumi / Takenoko Matsuri.
tayasumi means “rice paddy break”. This is to celebrate the completion of planting all the rice. Usually this is to be completed by the end of May, but this year, due to slow spring, everything got pushed back a week. It happens to coinside with the bamboo shoot season (takenoko), so the guys from the village head up into the mountains in the morning and pick some shoots. We bring them down to the shrine in the center of our hamlet where the everyone sits together and sorts and peels them. The good ones are packaged and sold, so this communal day of processing shoots is very helpful because doing it all alone is a long and tedious job. Those shoots not fit for sale are used to make a big pot of bamboo shoot soup that we all share.
The soup is OK, I am not a huge fan simply because, for some reason, people in this area add canned mackerel. I have nothing agains mackerel, but the cheap salty flavor of the canned stuff really detracts from the fresh shoots, and other veggies in the soup. Still its worth a try if you find yourself in the area. You can usually get a bowl at the Sakae Michi-no-Eki road stop.
When the soup is ready, all the families gather together and we have a big pot-luck picnic where each house brings a dish from their own family recipe stash. The beer and sake flows freely, and soon the hamlet karaoke machine makes its debute. This year we have a brand new one because apparently the earth-quake did some damage to the old one, so you can rest assured that the aid money you sent us being well spent.
Unfortunately the rainy season started early this year, so we were forced inside for the picnic, instead of enjoying the shrine grounds on a beautiful spring day, which is oneo f my favorite parts of the day. This type of event where everyone gets together and just relaxes only happens twice each year, so to have it rained out makes me feel like Margot locked in the closet for the brief moment of sun.