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.
Several neighboring houses have grape vines that are old and productive. I saw this green-tinged grape trellis on my way to the sento one night recently.
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.