Shobu bath

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Golden Week winds down today with Children's Day, the last in a string of spring holidays.

In our household we have no reason to fly carp streamers (it's traditional to hang out one for each boy in the family) but thanks to my friend Elizabeth Andoh's timely Taste of Culture newsletter, I did partake of another holiday ritual, shobu yu.

Shobu are the leaves and stems of Japanese iris. Shobu is also a homonym for victory and for warlike spirit, making a shobu bath just the thing on a day that celebrates boy children. A shobu bath is supposed to ward off illness, too. I soaked a nice long time, and expect the benefits to last until next year.

I made the bath even more relaxing by dotting the room with the lovely (waterproof!) electric candles that Jim & Yuka gave Tod for his birthday yesterday. Their reflections in the water with the floating reeds made me think I was sitting in a crystal clear pond. I tried standing the reeds upright and ducking my head under the water to pretend I was a fish, but there's not enough room to maneuver in the tub.

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