Strolling around Naramachi, you can enjoy tasting the atmosphere of the good old Nara .
But, today, it is scorching!!
I take a rest at a small and cozy Wagashi ( traditional Japanese confections) shop "なかにしNakanishi" in Naramachi. Wagshi are symbolical, edible art objects which actually please our five senses; the eye, the palate, the nose, the touch and the ear. The ear? Because each Wagashi has a beautiful poetic name. Each name sounds pleasant to the ear. Wagashi represents the seasonal scenery, events or features of the year, usually a little bit in advance. I'd like to introduce what I enjoyed here this month, June.
" 雨の音 Sound of Rain"
Can you guess what this sweet depicts?
The ripples on the water represent quietly falling rain. One-month-long rainy season will be over soon.
This is my image of rainy season.
”雨あがり After Rain"
"軒わたり From Eaves to Eaves"
June is the month when swallows migrate to Japan and raise babies.
The swallow-shaped sweet jelly is on the Wagashi.
Swallow babies. To be a mother of five chicks is tough, but to survive as one of five chicks is also tough.(The 5th one is behind four chicks.)
At the beginning, all of the flowers are white,
and gradually turn blue, pink, purple or more.
I admire this aesthetic sense of a Wagashi confectioner.
”青梅 Green Plum"
The rainy season is called 梅雨（Plum or Apricot Rain)
as fruits of Japanese apricot start to get ripened
during the rainy season.
"縁日の帰り Coming Back From Summer Festival"
Fish are from goldfish scooping.
"庚申さん, Koshin Deity" (You can enjoy this all year around.)
This Wagashi represents a red and white stuffed monkey
which is called a substitute monkey.
It is a charm to protect people,
which accepts misfortune, disease and disasters instead of people.
The monkeys are the messengers of Koshin Deity.
Wagashi is said to be originated in Nara. Near Kintetsu Nara Station, there is a small shrine dedicated to Mr. Rin who came to Japan from China in the 14th century, started to make the prototype for Wagashi in Nara.
To consume too much sugar surely harms our health. But relatively, Wagashi are healthy food as almost all ingredients are made from plants and are rich in fiber, high quality protein, vitamins, and minerals while on the contrary, western style cakes contains animal fat and are high in calories.
Which one do you want to try?
Buds of lotus flowers are still tightened.
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