Thursday, May 26, 2011

hatsu zekku : 初節句

celebration after celebration.

a few days before kou-chan turned one he also celebrated his first ever children’s day; an important “first” in japanese culture called “hatsu zekku” (初節句).

although children across japan and many parts of asia celebrate children’s day annually, the 1st and the 5th children’s day are considered big events in japan for boys.

kou-chan celebrated his hatsu zekku with both his grandparents and all but two of his uncle and aunties. pretty special in my book.

unfortunately uncle N from japan was away in some exotic location in east-asia on business and untie A; (my sister), was in paris on holiday.

a special dinner was out of the question as you don’t wanna be dining in some posh restaurant with a tired toddler, so instead we booked in for lunch at the top-notch shiba tofuya ukai (芝とうふ屋うかい); a beautiful japanese restaurant at the very foot of tokyo tower.

as the name suggests this fine establishment focuses on tofu.
they produce all their own tofu which is made at their own in-house workshop in the foothills of the okutama mountains. the beans (yup, tofu is made from beans) are grown in hokkaido.

the lovely ladies who were serving our private dining room didn’t seem to mind that kou-chan wanted to be the first to get his hands on every dish that they served.
in true japanese service they simply smiled, commented on what a cute little boy he was and gracefully shuffled around the tatami mat room in their modified kimono dress.

(above photos from shiba tofuya ukai website)

not only did k-chan and I have to interpret all being said between the grandparents (my parents only know “hello”, “thank you”, and how to count up to 10 in japanese, whereas k-chan’s parents, well her dad anyway, is good at mimicking phrases from hollywood movies like “oh no” and “come on baby” and “fu*k you”…), but we also had to control a wriggly kou-chan AND try to enjoy our meal.
because of such circumstances we do not have that many photos of the “big event”, but we do have some wonderful memories.

restaurant info:
shiba tofuya ukai
minato-ku, tokyo
tel: (03) 3436-1028 (reservations recommended)

nearest station: akabanebashi station (oedo line) or kamiyacho station (hibiya line)


pascale said...

Omedetou! :)
How time flies... enjoy every moment because it will just fly by... my 4 years did, I still feel like it's a couple of months ago when my girl was born! haha.

What a good choice of restaurant!
I happened to have been there before too and I loved it! I bet all of Kou chan's grandparents loved it :)

Again, omedetou :)

Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah said...

Photographs help, but at the end of the day memories matter more. The experience is everything, no?

What a lucky little boy Kou-chan is to be surrounded by all his loved ones. :)

world of sekimachihato said...

* Pascale
we must have good choice as we seem to go to the same places even in Thailand! hehehe
would like to dine here at night with Tokyo tower lit up above. bet their garden looks beautiful too all lit up.

world of sekimachihato said...

ooh, I see your putting you name up here too.
re kou-chan's hatsu zekku, it's a shame he won't remember this special gathering, but we do have some photos for him hanging out with the clan.

Luuworld said...

congratulations! celebrating is fun. oh and nice pictures! that tofu place sounds wonderful. i LOVE tofu! some people say it doesn't taste anything, but they're wrong! i love tofu in any form. au naturel or deep fried...

haha, k-chan's dad's fondness for hollywood movie phrases made me laugh!

katieleigh said...

thank you for popping over to my blog. i am very envious of your living in japan. i hope to one day do it myself (bit scared to step outside of the naive only english speaking box).

glad you recognised my huka falls photos. unfortunately the weather wasn't too pretty (grey skies) but the water colour made up for it :)

world of sekimachihato said...

* luuworld
I think my dad was one of those people who thought tofu didn't really have any taste, but hopefully he now knows that there are so many delicious ways in which it can be prepared.

yes, k-chan's dad comes out with some of the weirdest English phrases sometimes (usually at the most inappropriate time too), he was pretty well behaved at this gathering though.
like they say, it's easiest to learn the "bad" words of any foreign language first!

world of sekimachihato said...

* katieleigh
thanks for the comment.
it is kinda hard to step outa that box but once you do it you won't look back.

judging by your post I take it you are on vacation in nz? or is it a long stay?
always nice to see "home" through someone elses eyes.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how hectic the whole event was for you as a daddy AND an interpreter. But it sounds like everybody had a good time. omedeto gozaimasu.

I am cheap, so I don't pay enough for my tofu, but it makes a great difference to pay proper money on tofu, doesn't it?

Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah said...

Photos and the memories of his loved ones, their stories of him, for him - those are treasures for the future. :)

Re: your reply to Luuworld - Yeah, I tend to learn the cusswords first when tackling a foreign language for the first time, haha. It's universal! :D

world of sekimachihato said...

* aixxx
you're right that price does make a difference; when paying top dollar (erm, yen) the texture is much more smooth and creamier. but good old "cheap" tofu is pretty good too.

world of sekimachihato said...

* life for beginners
true true. we will be able to look through the few photos which we took and tell him some family stories which he will be able to treasure for all time.

Make it Easy said...

oooh omedetou kou-chan!!!

ooh yes i heard about the typhoon in tokyo! is everything okay? i hope the weather clears up!

and also!! i am planning my trip to japan now!!
i am going in late september to late october!!
i will be "living" in japan for a month! haha

pascale said...

I've never been there at night but my friend likes to go there with her hubby for a mini get away from reality said it's really really gorgeous! (when will I ever get to do a get away? haven't even thought of it before come to think of it, hah)

world of sekimachihato said...

* make it easy
thanks. the typhoon wasn't too destructive, and not as violent as the ones we used to get in hong kong.

so wow, you will stay in japan for a whole month! will you be in Tokyo or some other area?

world of sekimachihato said...

* Pascale
mini get away, man that sounds nice.
I agree with you, when are we ever gonna get to enjoy a mini get away?! talk about impossible!

Gaijin Wife said...

Congratulations! I think all we did for Shou was have rellies round here for an ordered lunch. Not particularly memorable as I spent the time handing round pickles and filling up beer. Joy joy. The mother of the boy of honor. bleh. like most things to do with children were the grandparents in charge of paying? I hope so :)

world of sekimachihato said...

* gaijin wife
I think the way you celebrated was probably the "best" way.
and nope, this time it was our shout...
after seeing the bill we really should of had the family come over for nibbles at home.

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