Celebrating the Girls



March 3rd is Girls Day in Japan. To all of us with double x chromosomes, congratulations!

You get nothing.

No presents, no national holiday, no flagpole outside announcing how many of you your family is blessed with, no free zoo tickets, no special baths with weeds in it, no parades. None of the stuff the boys get on Boys Day, which insultingly enough is called 子供の日, Children’s Day, as if it were understood there are only one kind of children that really count.

Not that I’m bitter. Just my insights as a foreigner, and repeating a bunch of garbage HRH said.

And maybe I’ve overstated my point a bit. Most people purchase Hina Ningyo dolls for the daughters first Girls Day, which wasn’t the case in past generations. MIL said her parents couldn’t afford to “waste” money on their only daughter (though of course they had a kabuto warrior display for their three sons,) but they took her to a relatives house to see her dolls every year. These dolls are important because supposedly they are able to take on injury or worse in place of the daughter in case of fire or natural disaster. If they are damaged, you can’t just throw them away. You must send them to a shrine where they are blessed and given thanks for sparing your child, then disposed of with dignity. All for a price, of course. There was an article in the newspaper about dolls pulled from the ruins after the tsunami last year. Very sad.

In this part of Japan, you can’t hand down the dolls. People think the bad things they’ve absorbed for their original owner will be transferred to the new owner. So every female in the family has her own set.

Convenient for the doll makers, eh?

Girls Day turns out to be what your mother makes of it. If your mother does nothing, then it passes like any other day.

Needless to say, I make a big deal out of it.

It seems like all of the things we celebrate for girls and women: graduation, weddings, baby showers, etc., are really just ways of easing a hard transition and pretending it’s something to be happy about. That’s no different here. 七五三, shichiーgoーsan, Entrance Ceremonies, eating celebratory red rice upon menarche, Coming of Age Day, weddings are all just the beginning of a newer, harder time for the female being “celebrated.” Girls Day, though, is a chance to just be happy you have a daughter and pray for her health and happiness. Sounds like a good idea to me.

This year, Girls Day was on a Saturday. It hasn’t been on the weekend since Me Too was born. So I had to orchestrate it in conjunction with the in-laws.

Danger danger danger

MIL has no daughters. This was the first year she’s been on the prep side of Girls Day. In past years PIL were working so Girls Day passed unnoticed (by them.) The kids and I just did something at home. This year, however, MIL was dead set on doing a traditional Girls Day spread: chirashi zushi, clear soup with candy colored balls, pink and green mochi rice cakes. All of that is nice, really. Except that the girl being celebrated won’t eat any of it.

Apparently Me Too isn’t the only one with this problem. The supermarket was full of child friendly alternatives: pizza, sandwiches, non-raw seafood containing sushi (I saw some with fried shrimp inside. Unheard of in Japan!)

I suggested pizza for the kids. They really shouldn’t be eating raw fish yet, anyway.

Somehow this turned into me making me pizza from scratch.


Me Too helped roll out the dough. She insisted on having a heart shaped pizza, which we managed somehow, and she ate most of it. So, yay. We ordered a very cute ice cream cake, which was quickly devoured inspire of everyone being double stuffed with pizza and sushi. Good evening all around.

MIL’s “sushi cake” there at the top looked great, but she put parsley in it for some green, so it tasted really weird. Nothing wasabi couldn’t fix, but if you, gentle reader, decide to make a sushi cake I’d suggest using cucumber or avocado instead. She’d obviously gone to a lot of trouble, and for once thank goodness the menfolk refrained from making nasty comments about the food.

MIL can’t just sit back and not be in charge of something, so she kept invading my pizza space. Apparently she loves onions on pizza. She kept loading them on, I kept re-distributing when she wasn’t looking because raw onions on pizza are just wrong, I don’t care what country you’re from.

BIL didn’t show up.

He’s missed Brother’s birthday, his mother’s birthday, his father’s birthday, his parents’ anniversary, and now Girls Day in the past three months.

Apparently, though, he was on a date. So woo-freaking-hoo. Maybe he’ll get married and then can take on some of his descended-from-heaven oldest son duties.

I’m a little worried about how my children will feel when/if the in-laws get their long awaited uchi-mago. They won’t be the center of attention anymore, and that is bound to hurt. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

But back to Girls Day. You are supposed to put the dolls away as soon as possible after Girls Day (but the weather must be good), or your daughter will suffer the insurmountable embarrassment of a late marriage. Yeah, well….I alway leave Me Too’s out a day or two too long. She’s worth waiting for.






8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. debut dad
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 09:21:45

    I think it’s great that you chose to celebrate it in your own way. The food is making me hungry too… and that cake… WOW! I love cakes.
    Have a look at the cake that was made for my son too if you have a moment :)


  2. gaijinwife
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 11:37:51

    I have just put Marina’s dolls away, although hub said I could leave them out for the month. LOVE your heart shape pizza. I’m feeling a pizza night coming on. nom nom. I didn’t realize you called them uchi-mago. How fuckin ridiculous. Do you think mine are uchi-mago, even though hub is the third son? and Granny K doesn’t see the eldest son’s non-blood daughter (which surely isn’t an uchi-mago. god help me) or the second eldest’s hardly ever. She hasn’t seen the second eldest’s daughter for coming TEN years.
    Hey. Its March.
    See you soon


  3. Beth
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 12:12:30

    The icecream cake and pizza look nummy. Love the heart theme – daughters are awesome and need lots of love. Glad to hear that BIL didn’t show up to be his usual a-hole self.


    • hamakkomommy
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 18:41:21

      Oops, replied in the wrong place! Sooo sorry. The ice cream cake was yummy, I suppose, if you are one of those sick people who like chocolate ice cream. Apparently that is everyone in the world except….well, me…. It was beautiful, though! They also had this little display of single scoops decorated to look like Hina sama. Sooo cute!

      So many cute cakes and stuff at the bakery, too. Great holiday, all around. Girls need to be celebrated.


      • hamakkomommy
        Mar 07, 2012 @ 18:44:15

        Woohoo, I fixed it. Look how computer savvy I’ve become. Maybe I’ll graduate from counting on my fingers, too. Not likely.

        Am I morally obligated to warn POS GF that he is a nutter? Is it like in the sisterhood manual or something?

  4. Xana
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 11:16:27

    Some poor woman is going to marry AH bil AND live with PIL?!? She must be a clueless foreigner, someone help the poor girl!


  5. Xana
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 20:24:06

    No, on second thought, you haven’t met her, have you? Could be they deserve each other, or she could be the one who makes him want to be a better man (I don’t actually believe that, but…)


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