July 25, 2017

Doyo no Ushi no Hi/土用の丑の日

Doyo refers to the period of about 18 days before any one of the shiryu (lit. four starts, i.e., rikka (start of summer), risshu (start of fall), ritto (start of winter), and risshun (start of spring)). The shiryu are part of the twenty-four solar terms.
no = 's
ushi = ox, one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac
hi = day

Doyo no ushi no hi (often referred to as the "midsummer day of the ox" in English) refers to the one or two days of the ox, depending on the year, in the doyo before the risshu (start of fall). There are two doyo no ushi no hi this year, June 25 and August 6.

It is customary to have eel on doyo no ushi no hi. It is said that Hiraga Gennai started this custom.

土用(どよう)とは、四立(しりゅう)、すなわち、立夏(りっか)、立秋(りっしゅう)、立冬(りっとう)、立春(りっしゅん)の直前の約18日の期間を指します。四立は二十四節気(にじゅうしせっき)の一部です。

土用の丑の日(英語ではよく"midsummer day of the ox"と呼ばれる)は、立秋の前の土用の丑の日(年により一日か二日)を指します。今年は、丑の日が7月25日と8月6日の二日あります。

土用の丑の日に鰻(うなぎ、ウナギ)を食べる習慣があります。平賀源内がこの習慣を始めたと言われています。

Last Saturday, I bought two packs of cheap imported eel kabayaki for 780 yen a pack. We three of us shared one pack as part of lunch today (July 25).
先週の土曜日に、安い輸入のウナギの蒲焼きを2パック買いました(1パック780円)。今日(7/25)、昼ごはんに、3人で1パックを分けて食べました。

8 comments:

9895039531 seeandoh said...

We have a yellow and grey coloured eel found here in the muddy ponds and rice paddy fields. Cat Fish and Eels are believed to have medicinal powers than most other fish.

Hiroyuki said...

seeandoh: Oh, you can still found them nearby?! Japanese eels are now an endangered species!

Sunil Kumar Prasad said...

I think that it's piece of fish.

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Nerd Mom said...

Unagi is insanely expensive in the Asian markets around here. I used to be able to get the packages of frozen unagi kabayaki for about $6 US. Now they're about $15 US. The fact that it is endangered makes me less inclined to buy it at any price.

Hiroyuki said...

Nerd Mom: Well, it's only the Japanese eels that are endangered. Besides, efforts are under way to culture eels.

Fräulein Trude said...

Sadly the European eel is also an endangered species. Eel population has declined about 90 % since the 1970. In my region there is an huge and famous tradition on preparing and selling smoked eel - since centuries. But there is no more what so ever eel to be found in the local rivers and lakes. Local fishery has to buy glass eel to farm and restock for supply. But glass eel is also on decline. Most of the fresh eel is imported from Scandinavia. Smoked eel nowadays is an incredible expensive treat: 68 Euro/kg. Last time I ate some eel was nearly 8 years ago in Beijing.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: The European eel, too? I didn't know that! Well, it is said that the Japanese account for 70% of total global consumption of eels, and I'm placing high hopes on the cultivation, especially full or complete cultivation, of eels. The same goes for bluefin tuna.

9895039531 seeandoh said...

Eels are still found in our area. But not like before. Their numbers have come down drastically and soon they will be extinct.