No, I haven’t forgotten about this lovely project. This is the wagashi for February: Kobai (red plum).
It’s such a shame that my photos cannot show the delicate and elegant color of this wagashi. These photos do not show the beautiful gradation of reddish pink to very light pink – almost white – unfortunately.
There’s one thing I learned after I started this project of combining photos of wagashi and plants/flowers of the season that it represents. The fact is that the wagashi is supposed to go a little ahead of time. In other words, they make and sell, for example, persimmon-shaped wagashi before persimmons are actually in full season.
It is probably because of the custom in tea ceremony. They seem to value the ability of sensing a subtle sign of seasonal changes as early as possible. So it is often difficult to get the photos of certain wagashi and flowers at the same time. Last autumn I had to give up on some ideas for this project because when the flowers became available, the wagashi was already gone from the shelves of wagashi shops. I was very lucky that it worked out this time with red plum. :)
I took this shot at a nearby shrine.
Plum trees in Japan originally came from China more than 1,000 years ago. Initially, white plum blossoms were popular, but later in Heian period, around the time when “The Tale of Genji” was written, red plum blossoms became more favored, though that kind of trees do not bear fruit.
* Wagashi by Ogasawara
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Posted by obachan at 2/28/2006 11:52:00 PM