A friend told me about a Japanese group called the Ikebana International. Ikebana means “arranging flowers” and refers to the Japanese art of arranging flowers. Ikebana International has kept its traditional foundation of flower arranging and expanded to include so much more.
Today, I attended my first meeting of the Kamakura Chapter #51 of Ikebana International. The meeting was the inaugural event for the 2016-2017 season. The event was a lecture by Madame Lise Frederiksen, wife of the Danish Ambassador to Japan. It was held at the Daibutsu Kotoku-in Temple, the residence of Mrs. Sato who is the head priest of Great Buddha Temple.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, other than a lecture and lunch.
The lecture by Mme. Lise Frederiksen was an introduction to Denmark culture with a focus on food and flowers. As Mme. Frederiksen spoke in English, a Japanese member translated. It was interesting to hear about Denmark and observe Japanese interpretation.
After the lecture we were provided lunch in the form of a bento box.
As with most things, the presentation of the meal was delightful. The bento box was beautifully decorated and wrapped. Chopsticks and a wet wipe accompanied the meal.
Opening the bento box really made me happy! KAWAII!!! Seriously, there is a rice flower! And the carrot is cut like a leaf! Look at the bottom right, the sesame chicken is wrapped in bamboo and kept away from the sesame meatball and shrimp. It is hard to tell, but the caviar is in a little plastic container to keep them together. Absolutely adorable.
When lunch was over, the rain had cleared and I was able to take a few pictures of the garden. The residence and garden is right beside Great Buddha and not open to the public. It was so fun to see behind the scenes!
Tonight is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. This is known as the Harvest Moon. At the temple, there was a small shrine established for the occasion.
One last little note. In Japan, the rabbit is associated with the full moon. The legend states the rabbit was in the moon pounding out rice for rice cakes (Mochi) when there is a full moon. Hearing the story, children began to see a rabbit outlined in the craters of the moon. To answer your question, what is Mochi? Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made by pounding the rice and then molding it into the desired shape. If you look again at the bento box picture, there is a piece of Mochi in the top right square underneath the veggies.
PS. After posting, I saw this pictures on FB from Ikebana International FB page. I had to share. See if you can find me.
Here’s a hint…