I put my new year’s shimekazari decoration on my bike’s “grille”



I cleaned my bike with magical pink solution on new year’s eve, and Shu helped me attach the mini-shimekazari to the front.  For the next week, this bit of rice, pine, paper, and berrry may give the gods some place to rest as I bike to the late night sento.

Shobu, or sweet flag, floating in sento’s outdoor bath

Last night at the sento, I was surprised to see what looked like leeks floating in the outdoor bath. Turns out it was shobu (ショウブ), commonly called sweet flag or acorus calamus. This sword-like plant represents samurais’ bravery, and is a traditional decoration for Boys’ Day (Tango no Sekku, 端午の節句) on May 5. It’s also medicinal.