In the calendar of the 24 Seasons of Japan, Winter begins from this day. The wind gets chillier and chillier day by day. Kogarashi is written 木枯らし (literally, “tree withering”). The character 凩 is a variant of the same word and this Japanese kanji is one of the kokuji, or national characters that were invented in Japan. The character’s shape may be derived from the image of a tree blown by the wind.
Speaking of kogarashi, many of us would think of the children’s song Takigi (“Campfire”), which goes, “kogarashi, kogarashi, samuimichi” – “wintry wind, wintry wind, the chilly street”. Yes, this is the blustery 3rd verse of the song.
Kogarashi is the wind that blows around the time of Ritto or “Winter Begins”. You must have heard the phrase ‘the first kogarashi’: According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, when a strong wind blows from the North with a velocity of over 8 m/s in the Tokyo region and Kinki region between mid-October and late November, they announce the first kogarashi. This wind lets us know of the arrival of Winter. Just hearing this weather announcement makes us shiver. On such a day, we should warm ourselves up from the inside with a hotpot!
Sasanqua is one of the flowers that bloom around “Winter Begins”. This flower also appears in the 2nd verse of the song “Campfire”: “Sazanka, sazanka, saita michi” – “Sasanqua, sasanqua, blooming in the street”. The flower looks a lot like a camellia. So many new varieties have been created it is hard to describe with a broad brush, but one of the characteristics of the sasanqua is that its petals fall individually, whereas with camellias the whole flower falls off all together.
The Language of Flowers symbolized by the red sasanqua is ‘modesty’, ‘charm’ for white sasanqua, and for the pink sasanqua it’s ‘eternal love’.
For chilly days with kogarashi blowing, it is good to have a knit cap to fend off coldness.
As a hat covers your entire head you might think that you don’t need to think about your hairstyle, but that is the most important point. If you have short hair it might well be covered by the cap, but if it’s a little long then the hair that comes out of the cap makes a difference in how you look. Just putting your hair down is nice, but loose braids are also pretty.
This knit cap made of cashmere is light and soft and makes you feel like it’s gently covering your head. It can be washed at home but please hand wash it.
Number Twenty-One cashmere knit cap: ¥10,800
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 1st Floor Ladies’ Goods Hats
As the saying goes, “fires and fights are the flowers of Edo”, but fire is one of the things that Edo folk dreaded the most. That is why it was common practice amongst the general public to bring out hibachi (a Japanese-style brazier) and kotatsu (a low, wooden table frame covered by a futon, or heavy blanket, upon which a table-top sits with a heat source underneath) on the day of the pig in the month of the pig. The pig falls into the category of “water” and “yin” in the yin and yang five-element theory. This is why people believed that this practice would fend off fire and protect them from fire-related harm.
In the world of The Way of Tea, the stove is lit on this day as well.
We used to eat “Pig Cake” on the 1st day of the pig of the 10th month of the old lunisolar calendar. The Inokomochi (“Pig Cake”) of Tsuruya Yoshinobu uses smooth sweetened adzuki paste wrapped in gyuhi pounded rice-cake to emulate the shape of a boar piglet. Black sesame seeds are kneaded into the gyuhi. Its roasted aroma gives an accent in the confection. You would like to enjoy it not just on the day of the pig!
Tsuruya Yoshinobu Inokomochi: 1 piece ¥432
Isetan Shinjuku Main Building 1st Basement Floor Kannomi
Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store Main Building 1st Basement Floor Japanese Sweets
Ginza Mitsukoshi 2nd Basement Floor Japanese Sweets
*This product is available from Wednesday, November 1st till Thursday, November 30th.
When we are at home, our feet can get surprisingly cold. But if you have these slippers at hand you need worry no more. The outer is plaid fabric, with boa on the inside.
This plaid pattern is the well-known Scottish tweed called Harris Tweed. The fabric has beautiful colors and retains heat well. The Harris Tweed Association grants its crown-motif orb as a guarantee of quality.
The hand-woven cloth is dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, giving these slippers made of splendid fabric a long history. Please think about the craftsmanship when you wear them at home.
Product Project slippers: ¥4,968 (Size M) / ¥5,400 (Size L)
Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store Main Building 5th Floor Kitchen Goods