Friday Photo: February 2016

Oh my goodness, this month has been crazy. February might be the shortest month of the year, but it sure has been the busiest! I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I hope to remedy that in March.

February is the lead-up month to Hina Matsuri on March 3rd. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that this colorful holiday celebrating girls is one of my favorites in Japan. I love the large tiered displays of Heian-era dolls, I love the hand-stitched animals and characters that hang on strings surrounding the displays and I love stumbling across the small details in shop windows and restaurants and hotels that indicate Hina Matsuri is fast approaching.

I’ve seen a few Hina displays this month, but this month’s photo comes from one I was just at earlier today at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku. Every year, the hotel puts on a display of Hina dolls, usually with a different focus.

This year, the entire bottom floor of the hotel hosted an exhibit of tsurushi kazari, the strings of hanging good-luck symbols that are stitched by female family members on the birth of a daughter and usually surround a Hina doll set. In years past, most families couldn’t afford the huge multi-tiered doll sets that richer families invested in, so they relied on the cloth creations to protect their offspring. Each of the characters holds a different meaning – the triangle-shaped doll, for example, is said to represent medicine and will protect the daughter from sickness.

In the hotel lobby, this Hina doll display sat surrounded by tsurushi kazari. It’s not the most atmospheric of settings but the display was stunning.


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