Nagoshi no Harae : Summer Purification

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Since the old time, on the last day of the first half of the year (the last day of June) we have a purification ceremony at shrines in Kyoto.
This is called ’Nagoshi no Harae’ (summer purification).
We visit the shrine to purify every bad thing in the first half of the year and to pray for happiness and good health during the rest half of the year.

Chi-no-wa at Okazaki Shrine, my favourite shrine, here is really quiet
We pass through this big ring and pray.

Minazuki : In rainy June

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Minazuki is the old name for June,
to be precise, the sixth month of the lunar calendar.
Minazuki means month of water.
I love the old Japanese month-names, they are poetic.
by contrast, the modern month-names are not interesting;
just numbers are used!

Uzuki showcase in minazuki;June
flower: hydrangea

Fot this year's,I use a little yellowish, bigger ume fruits,'nankoubai'.

This is 3rd year's

Umeshu:sweet plum wine - Have a glass of cold umeshu
and you'll feel cool & fresh!

Ume is Japanese plum (or apricot).
ume tree gets in fruits in June. Also we have the rainy season
in June. I love viewing the wet and glistening ume fruits in the quiet rain.

Usually ume fruit is not sweet, not juicy, we seldom eat the fresh ones, but when they are cooked, they're tasty. The most typical ume food is umeboshi(pickled ume), which is very good for rice balls. And umeboshi has an antiseptic effect, so rice balls with umeboshi are good for packed lunch; it keeps them fresh. My grandma's umeboshi was very tasty. Although I try to make umeboshi, I haven't made the same good one yet, so far.

I make umeshu; sweet plum wine every year. It's not difficult to make; simply you put some young ume and rock sugar into Japanese sake(rice wine). But it's a kind of slow drink! You have to wait for about one year at shortest to have it.
The flavor of umeshu is very nice, and by aging its taste gets better. In the evening, after taking a bath, wearing yukata(summertime cotton kimono) I love to have cold umeshu. It makes me feel cool and fresh quickly. Umeshu can be a kind of dessert wine as well.
But I shouldn't have much! In The Tale of Genji Genji says, “Music, Poetry and Sake (Wine) are the three friends of the life, but, unlike the other two, one is not always a good friend.”

Early summer dish: Zaru udon; udon-noodles with seasonal vegetables & herbs

Early summer sweet:
Shiratama dumplings with amanatsu(a kind of summer orange) and
red bean paste.

Today's soba is with stuffed Kyoto-green peppers (Kyoto green peppers are not hot)