I'm a little early but November15 is the traditional day for Shichi-Go-San which is a festival to celebrate children who have reached the ages of 7, 5 or 3 years old. (shichi means 7, go means 5 and san means 3 in Japanese). Odd numbers are considered lucky in Japan and long ago I suppose if any child lived to these ages it was a cause for celebration. For girls, the special ages are 3 and 7 for boys 5.
For the past couple weeks we can often see little children all dressed up in kimono in celebration of Shichi-Go-San and relatives gather together, families visit the shrine for a blessing and formal pictures are taken. In my family, I really wanted to dress my kids up in the kimono just so I could take pictures and show my American family and friends so Tetsu went along with the idea. We did the kimono part and the picture taking but instead of going to the shrine we went to the church for our blessings. The Japanese churches have adopted the custom of "Blessing the Children" in the month of November so that Christian families don't miss out on the tradition. Last Sunday was "Blessing the Children" day at our church.
So here a couple of pictures of my kids when they were very little. This is Takumi when he was 5. For this picture we went to a photographer who had a little boy's kimono that he let us use for our pictures. Takumi was a fairly big child and though the kimono wasn't a problem, once at the studio we found that his feet wouldn't fit in the little boy Japanese split toed socks called tabi. The photographer's wife had to run upstairs to their house and get a pair of her own ladies' tabi and Takumi wore those with the heels stuffed under his feet.
Isn't Leiya a little dumpling! She had just turned 3 when we had this picture taken. My neighbor's daughter had dressed her little girls in this kimono and let me borrow it for a day so that we could have pictures taken. (You can tell by the carpet and the background that it was the same photographer that we'd gone to withTakumi two years earlier). I recall that Leiya wasn't too thrilled with all the fuss of me trying to put up her hair etc. She was unusually somber for the picture session too.
And then there are pictures of Shichi-Go-San when Leiya turned 7. I guess I'll continue showing those tomorrow since I have a few more details to write about that day.
"Mata ashita?" ("See you tomorrow?")