Thursday, March 04, 2010

Memoir about dolls crackers

Yesterday was the girls' day (Hina-Matsuri) in Japan. When I was a boy, because boys will be boys, and I wanted to follow suit, I pretended that I did not care about the girls' day at all. However, I actually did care for these things.

As my sister and mother prepared the Hina dolls towards the girls' day, (see the picture from wikipedia below), I would hang around, trying to appear not interested, but actually very very interested.

The white faces of the dolls allured me into a strange kingdom of eternity. The fact that I was able to see the dolls only once in a year added to my enthusiasm. However, I tried my best to conceal my feverish interests, naturally.

The thing to do on the girls' day was to eat "hina arare", or dolls crackers. These were specially prepared rice crackers and sweets to be eaten on and around the girls' day.

Now, it was quite legitimate for a "rough" boy to be interested and consume a dolls cracker. However, even then, it was socially dangerous to appear to eager about it, especially when your fellow boys were around.

It was therefore quite a relief when you could have loads of hina arare without anyone watching it. I still hold it to be one of the most enjoyable pastimes to sit on the sofa with a pack of hina arare, and read my favorite books. Nowadays, of course, I don't care that much who may be watching me doing that. It is interesting how in your childhood peer pressures play such a crucial and sometimes devastating role in forming your state of mind.

A typical Hina Matsuri dolls display.

Typical Hina-Arare rice crackers


Anonymous said...

Very nostalgic and plaintive-sounding as with many of the children's songs composed in our pre-war era...

"Let us light the bonbori
Let us give the flowers, the peach flowers
The five court musicians playing their fues and taikos
Today is the delightful day of our Hina Matsuri"
(Note this is merely my own personal translation of the first verse for the purpose of sharing with others what the song is basically about)

Yuzu said...

Dear: Mr.Mogi
I very like your story of memories anytime.
I feel that want to see you when you a boy.
Anyway I would like to know how your mother take care on “Tango no sekku",boys day.
And what did you do? Did you have cute stories or a good memories?
I have a lot of precious memories on "Hinamatusi" with my mother only.