June 7th, Thursday:
- Kenchin Udon (Udon Noodle, Bamboo Shoot, Spinach, Shimeiji Mushroom, Bean Curd, Carrot, Daikon Radish, Green Onion, Plum Gluten, Konnyaku)
- Pumpkin Mochi
- Tangerine Jelly
Konnyaku is made by solidifying mannan found in the Devil’s Tongue plant. It possesses continuing popularity as a health food due to being high in fiber and low in calories.
An essential item that few in Japan go without is a handkerchief. Most westerners associate the word “handkerchief” with a thin white square cloth used by high-class, snotty people. (I feel so Heian, using puns!)
My own introduction to the handkerchief in intermediate school when I went through a head-kerchief wearing phase. This was followed by a phase during which I wrapped a kerchief around my arm as an armband. I can’t clearly remember, but this may have been a symbol of the Elven tree gang I helped found.
Anyway, a Japanese handkerchief is usually a patterned square of thin cloth. Fine handkerchiefs, of the type usually carried by kimono dressed women, might contain embroidery or consist of two loosely woven sheets bound together at the edges. Sporty women more often carry a handkerchief of terry cloth, that might be more accurately described as a washcloth. The chief purpose of the handkerchief is to dry your hands after washing them. This is both hygienic and eco, two thing for which Japan is known. It can also be used for covering your mouth to prevent breathing in smoke in event of a fire, and probably has many other uses as well. In any case, students at school are taught that a handkerchief is an essential item to carry everyday.