Bebe Taian: Otsukimi: 15th Moon-Viewing

September 25, 2018

Otsukimi: 15th Moon-Viewing

Otsukimi isn't coming until later on the 'new' calendar, but it has already passed on the traditional calendar at the first Full Moon of the Autumn Equinox- the same holiday when moon cakes are delivered in China. I delivered some to former bosses (who are Chinese) but I never know what flavour to get- so I typically get azuki, since the red colour is lucky, and their Americanized young kids might like the bean flavour more, since it's more common in ice cream and other snacks here.

In Japan, the holiday takes on a very mochi-flavoured tone: instead of wheat and mung bean/egg yolk moon cakes, balls of pure white mochi are boiled to resemble the moon, and stacked in an arrangement of 15 in a pyramidal shape on a beautiful tray. These are accompanied by clear sake in cups that catch the moon's reflection, susuki branches (a silvery, tall Autumn grass), and rabbit motifs.

Other lucky things to eat are things that resemble a full Harvest moon- fried eggs, yolks intact, things like this. Also, the weather is supposed to cool off by now, so something warm on a cool night would be pleasant.

Since ro weather is to be over now, kimono are being put away for lined items. In Florida... the weather is still in the 90s or hotter, we are still facing hurricanes, and it rains frequently- the blinding kind that causes accidents because you can't even see two metres in front of you while driving. The kind where the ground, the sky, and the cars are all the same silvery colour- and Very Special Drivers don't think they need to turn their headlights on so that you can see them. Obviously, this is no time for me to put away my summer kimono, unless it is to go from a very well air-conditioned place to another well air-conditioned place in something synthetic and washable. This description fits many of my summer kimono, so I wear them all year.

But in this one case... I faced both the humidity and heat to wear relatively seasonally appropriate kimono for Otsukimi, a kimono set I wear only on this night a year.

I own only one woolen, unlined kimono with a pattern something like kenjo-gara in pastel purple and silver, against a background of deep maroon and black, which I did not ever envision myself in but I kept it to pair with my one woolen, unlined obi in brilliant indigo blue with red, purple, and gold motifs.

The obi features round motifs containing rabbits and what looks like it could be a horse? I've never figured out what they were, or what the item near them is... but abstractly, it looks a little like a highly stylized pumpkin, and since this is also close to Halloween, it's adorable. The obiage is a golden yellow with a large white circular haze pattern in it, colours of the Harvest moon. The obijime is to match the purple tones in the kimono; the haneri woven with chrysanthemum patterns.

It rained so much that night, the moon wasn't visible for long in the city. Too many tall buildings, not enough open spaces, so many lights on top of that... but for what we could see, it was pretty nonetheless. <3

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