Now, in Kyoto, plum blossoms are fully bloomed.
Even it is still cold, beautiful flowers give us hope for spring.
When we talk about plum blossoms, the theme of "Kitano Tenmangu shrine" is indispensable.
Kitano Tenmangu shrine is located in the west of Kyoto city where the God of learning, Sugawarano Michizane is enshrined.
Sugawarano Michizane was a great scholar but at the same time he was a politician in 9th century.
Some aristocrats got jealousy of him, especially for his talent and the power as a politician, so Michizane had a lot of difficulty for his work for the government at that time. He was talented person but he was un happy.
After the death of Michizane, a lot of disaster occurred, and people thought that it was because of curse by the spirits of Michizane.
This is why the shrine named as "Kitano Tenmangu" was established to enshrine Michizane.
As Michizane loved plum blossoms tree, we can see a lot of beautiful plum blossoms there.
In the 25th February of every year ,the festival of plum blossoms is held in Kitano Tenmangu for the death anniversary of Sugawarano Michizane. ( A long time ago, pelple celebarate the festival with the seasonal flower "Rapeseed flower, but the system of calendar has been changed, then we celebrate it with tea ceremony in enjoying plum blossoms which MIchizane loved so much.)
This year, as we have the difficulty to get together under the pandemic, we can enjoy only plum blossoms flowers quietly in the garden of the shrine without tea ceremony. If we see well the flowers, it seems that plum blossoms flowers also pray the end of pandemic with us.
So, now, we have to enrich the moment of "stay at home" in enjoying the plum blossoms flowers.
This life style might give you the tip to enjoy your life with different from others, for example, to prepare good Japanese meals and have them with good quality chopsticks!
■Origin of chopsticks, "Wakasa Nuribashi", Wakasa Laquerware
There are a several kinds of chopsticks in Japan.
Today, we will introduce the "Wakasa Nuribashi",a kind of chop sticks made in Obama city of Fukui Prefecture,100km northeast from Kyoto (1h 50min by car from Kyoto), you will be able to visit there when you come to Kyoto next time.
Wakasa Nuribashi is the origin of the chopstick culture in Japan which is made by wood or bamboo coated by Japanese lacquer with the beautiful decoration on the bottom parts; it expresses the undersea of beautiful Wakasa bay with the fine inside parts of shells which have various shiny colors, and traditional colorful lacquers in many layers.
Japanese traditional lacquers become transparent if you use them for a long time, the bottom decoration of chopsticks will get shiny and you can enjoy the pattern of shell decoration better.
If we talk about Japanese traditional lacquer, it is called as natural coating system. You can see a lot of Japanese traditional crafts coated by traditional lacquer, it makes not only smooth touch and makes but also great protection against the mold and humidity.
And, please look at the tip of chopstick.
It is so thin and called as "beak of crane".
This is because to use easily to catch food , like a piece of baked fishes, row fishes, and pickles.
As the shape of tip "beak of crane" shall bring you happy long life for the reason that it is one of the lucky item. The item relevant to cranes are considered as the symbol of happy couple and longevity in Japan. If you are looking for some gifts for your family and friends, this kind of chopsticks would be great as a gift.
And, if you are looking for useful chopsticks for yourself also, we recommend you ones have thin tips like "Wakasa Nuribashi", at the same time you can enjoy beautiful decoration.
Please see here if you are interested in good quality Japanese chopsticks.