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