Minazuki means June. It is a Japanese-style of calling for the sixth month in the lunar calendar.
Minazuki has two opposite meanings: the month that water will dry up (Rice planting takes place in June, so that rice paddies need a lots of water.) and the month that overflowing with water.
Both meanings are related to the event of rice planting, but according to various theories, the second one (the month that overflowing with water) is considered to be the prevailing theory.
As well as, June is a rainy season.
In this season, beautiful hydrangeas blooming in the rain all around. There are many temples that are famous for their hydrangeas in Japan, but also hydrangeas bloom beautifully on roadsides. We can see beautiful hydrangeas everywhere.
We call this rainy season as "Tsuyu".
The weather is humid , it is not comfortable to be honest. Every year, the start of the rainy season is reported on the TV news. Then we think “Oh, it is coming on this year too…”.
In Kanji (Chinese character), "Tsuyu" is written in “Plum (Japanese apricot)” and "Rain", also the pronounce of "Tsuyu" means "Water drops". The reason of “Plum (Japanese apricot)” is that it ripen in this rainy season in Yousuko area, in China. The ward of "Tsuyu" was brought from China long time ago.
You can find green Japanese apricot, icing sugar and white liquor are on sale at super markets in this season of the year. And then, we make Japanese apricot wine! The process of making Japanese apricot (plum) wine is a little bit hard work. Washing apricots, soak in water for 2 hours to remove the scum, and dry it well. Then carefully removing the heft of each apricot one by one is so hard work.
We can drink it from 3 months later. If you soak it more than one year, the taste will be richer. The wine that you make on your own is especially delicious!
Maybe, you should have a nice glass to drink the wine.
Another “Minazuki”, Japanese sweets
Oh, we forgot to mention about the Japanese sweets, “Minazuki”.
Minazuki is a Japanese confectionery in the shape of a triangle. It is made by Uiro with Azuki beans, looks like Yokan (Azuki beans jelly). The conbination of the chewy texture of Uiro and sweet Azuki beans. The plump texture is perfect for even hot summer. In Kyoto, around the middle of June, many Japanese confectionary shops sell Minazuki.
It comes from the custom of eating ice on June 1st of the lunar calendar to prevent summer fatigue and to ward off the heat.
The event was originally held at court during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). But, the citizen could not afford to buy ice which was a luxury item. Instead, they ate sweets Minazuki, similar appealance to ice to prevent the summer heat. This was the beginning of the wagashi Mizunashi.
Why don’t you try it with lacquer ware plate? Lacquer ware plate is perfect for sweets.It is light weight, and useful for just quick serving. If you have a guest in your house, you can entertain them with a nice hospitality by serving drinks and some (Japanese) sweets with the lacquer ware.
The glass in the picture is "Edo Kiriko Heat Resistant Glass".
It is made of hard glass and can be used either cold and hot drinks.
Another design "Edo Kiriko Heat Resistant Glass".
Please enjoy the pleasant difference from ordinary days using high quality of Japanese crafts!