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March 2010
Flavor of the Month:

Dolls Festival (Hina-matsuri) in March

The month of March conjures the color pink to my mind and I believe a lot of Japanese people feel the same way. March starts with warmth leading to something more solemn as the month progresses. It’s also the final month of the annual cycle in schools and businesses. Almost everything in Japan starts in the beginning of April, and ends in March of the following year. Students start their new academic year with cherry blossoms in April and graduate when peach blossoms bloom in March. Businesses close the ledger at the end of March, and prepare for the new fiscal year. It’s a time to look back on the passing year, and get ready for a fresh start.

March 3 is the Dolls Festival (雛祭り), also called the Girl’s Festival (Joshi no Sekku) as well as the Peach Festival (Momo Sekku) which is also the second annual seasonal festive day. On this day families pray for the happiness and prosperity of their girls and to help ensure that they grow up healthy and beautiful. Young girls put on their best kimonos and visit their friends' homes. A tiered platform for hina dolls (hina ningyō) is set up in the home. Hina dolls are a set of dolls representing the emperor, empress, attendants, and musicians in ancient court dres. Many traditional dolls are displayed, surrounded by a number of pink peach blossoms. I don’t know how accurate my perception is, but to my mind the color of peach blossoms is brighter than the baby girl pink or bunny pink. I sense condensed energy in that color. Now matter, this shade of pink is a welcoming sign of warmth – spring – after the long and gray winter season.

I feel that I should do the same with my book café. I realize that I haven’t formally thanked those who donated their precious books to the Carlock Book Café over the last six years. As of February 20, 2010, the Japanese library houses 2864 books. Taking this opportunity, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to:

I might add that about 10% of the books came from my own collection.

It is truly a delight to see those books receiving a second chance to become the literary companion of new readers. I hope that they will continue to make new friends in the years to come.

I hope in the month of March you will reflect on the past year, and spring forward with the knowledge gained and lessons learned.

Chizuko Jaggard

More about Hina Dolls at Wikipedia.

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