Hello, this is Kimono Rental Wargo Togetsukyo Store.
Recently, the words 「土用の丑の日」 or the “Midsummer Day of the Ox” started to appear on the supermarket leaflets. It is said that July 27th is the day of the Midsummer Day of the Ox this year. Do you know what “Midsummer Day of the Ox” is? First of all, 「土用」 technically means “mid-season”, a word which shows the period of about 18 days before the starting of summer, autumn, winter and spring in traditional Chinese calendar. And the day was counted by the zodiac in the old calendar by twelve zodiac signs, 「丑の日」 means “day of the ox”. 「土用の丑の日」refers to the “day of the ox” that appears during the period of “mid season”. Because the period for midsummer is different every year, “Midsummer Day of the Ox” also changes every year. In addition, it is common to think that “Mid-Season Day of the Ox” only comes in summer, but there are also Mid-Season Day of the Ox respectively in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Next, why eating eel on the “Midsummer Day of the Ox” only happens in summer? There seem to be various theories, and the strongest theory is that Hiraga Gennai was the one started this custom. In the Edo period, it is said that there was a time when the eel shop was troubled because the eel was not sold well. The shop owner consulted to Gennai, and the shop owner was advised to paste a paper “Today is the Midsummer Day of the Ox”, because there was a custom in Japan, saying that “You will not lose to summer heat if you eat the food which starts with ‘U’ letter on the Midsummer Day of the Ox”. It is said that the eel shop became very prosperous after pasting that paper.
In addition, in a poetry from Manyoshu (The Man’yōshū is the oldest extant collection of Japanese poetry), it is said that eating eel in summer, when it is easy to get sick, is good. Eating eel is believed to strengthen your body because it contains a lot of nourishing properties. Besides eel, eating other foods started with “u” letter such as udon, uri, umeboshi, horse (uma) meat, beef (ushi), and other foods with “u” is said to be good.
There are many shops where you can enjoy the delicious eel in Arashiyama, so please come! Change into yukata and take a walk around Arashiyama before having your meal! All the staff are waiting for you.
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