“Gentian”, the flower which brings victory

Previously I introduced the color of the Olympics logo and Gentian, today I will introduce the flower languages of Gentian.

Gentian’s flower languages mostly represent justice and victory, thus along with Gladiolus, Gentian is sometimes called “flower of victory” because of its upward flowering shape.

Notes; The reason for Gladiolus is said that the shape of the leaves looks like “Gradius,” which is a dagger used in ancient Rome, representing victory. It is also said that the name of Gladiolus originates from this word.

Gentian is a really suitable flower for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in that it is deep blue-violet, which reminds of the traditional Japanese color (indigo blue), and also is symbolic of “victory.”

At the foreign cemetery in Yokohama, Gentians besides white Lilies and red Roses are often seen to be laid.
Red Rose symbolizes “Love” or “I love you” and Lily is symbolic of “Solemn.” Plus, Gentian’s another flower meaning is “To feel compassion for your sorrow.”
These languages may be the reasons why those flowers are there.

 

  • Samurai 08
    Rose
  • Siberia
    Lily

  • Gladiolus

 

Original article written by Mr. Murata

The blue flowers that Japan should be proud of

Indigo blue is the selected color for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics logo, and blue is also for the uniform of Japan’s national football team, Japan Blue.
Indigo blue, dark blue and deep blue-violet are now attracting people’s attention worldwide.

At the Morning Glory (“Asagao” in Japanese) festival in Iriya, Tokyo, held at the beginning of July, blue-violet and light blue Morning Glory were selling well just as the brown Morning Glory called “Danjuro-Asagao”. There were also foreigners at the Uguisudani-station near Iriya, who were carrying deep blue-violet Morning Glory that seemed to have been bought at the festival.

  • Morning Glory
  • Morning Glory

 

When someone speaks of blue cut flowers, what would spring to your mind? For me, it is Gentian, truly blue flower. The shipping amount of cut Gentian is at its peak in this month.

  • 170724C104Ashiro-no-Natsu
    Gentian
  • 180423S518Gunjo
    Iris

 

  • Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon flower)

 

Japanese flower industry needs more promotion to overseas.
For example, flower arrangements featuring blue-violet flowers, not just Gentian but Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon flower), Iris, etc., would evoke a sense of Japanese harmony. Single-flower vases or decorated vases with blue-violet flowers, and great places decorated with these items can be suggested. It may also be nice to use indigo colored ribbon or accessories for Gentian’s vases and arrangements.

Written by Mr. Takashina
Original article written by Mr. Murata

Japanese tradition “Obon”

180704H101

 

Obon is one of the important customs in the Japanese summer, which is to pray for the repose of ancestors’ spirits when they are believed to come back home every year.
Have you ever heard about Obon? Let’s check out what it is.

 

✤What is Obon?
Obon’s official name is “Urabon’e.” This originates from the Sanskrit word “Ullambana”, literally means hanging upside down. That sounds scary, though it represents the Buddhist service for saving those who are suffering as if they were hang down, and that turned to be the teaching of caring one’s forefathers, or so called filial piety.

  • 180704H105
  • 180704H108
  • 180704H111

 

✤When is Obon?
It used to be held on July 15 in old lunar calendar, as the date is called “Chuugen-setsu.”
After the solar calendar was introduced to Japan in the 19th century, the date of Obon ended up varying from regions to regions. Today they can be divided into three types.

July 15 in solar calendar (New Bon)>>> July 13-15: Tokyo, Yokohama, Shizuoka, etc.
August 15 in solar calendar (Month-delay Bon)>>> August 13-15: Other regions
July 15 in lunar calendar (Old Bon)>>> Around August 20: Okinawa etc.

 

✤Obon’s schedules in this year are…
【New Bon】
・Friday, July 13: Welcoming fire “Mukaebi”(Beginning day of Obon)
・Saturday, July 14: Mid-Day
・Sunday, July 16: Sending fire “Okuribi” (Finishing day of Obon)

【Month-delay Bon】
・Monday, August 13: Welcoming fire “Mukaebi”(Beginning day of Obon)
・Friday, August 14: Mid-Day
・Thursday, August 16: Sending fire “Okuribi” (Finishing day of Obon)

 

What is the welcoming fire “Mukaebi” ?
Firstly,
set up a Shoryo-dana shelf (please see below) to invite the spirits of the dead.
Secondly,
visit a grave bringing paper lanterns. At the grave you pray for the ancestors with a candle and incense sticks. Then you lit the paper lantern using the candle’s light, for bringing it back home.

Thirdly,
when you are back home, get the light from the paper lantern to the Shoryo-dana’s candle and pray with incense sticks.

Finally,
at the entrance of your house, lit up the firewood called “Ogara” for welcoming the spirits of the dead.
※Remember to leave the half of the Ogara for the later sending fire.

 

What is the sending fire “Okuribi”?
Conversely with Mukaebi,
lit up the candle and incense sticks at family’s alter, and get the light to the paper lantern for bringing it to the grave.

At the grave,
get the light from the paper lantern to the candle and pray with incense sticks.

Finally at home,
pray with the incense sticks and lit up the Ogara for sending the spirits of the dead.

This fire of Ogara is a sign for the spirits of the dead to go back to their grave.

 

✤What is Shoryo-dana shelf?
Not only its dates and schedules, the style of arrangement of Obon is also depending on the regions and the Buddhism sects. The typical Shoro-dana shelf is like the picture below.

  • bondana
  • 180704H116
  • 180704H115
  • 180704H114
  • 180704H117

 

✤Plants for Shoryo-dana shelf 
✼Nelumbo Nucifera’s flower
The flower is closely related to Buddhism, thus it is the national flower of India and Sri Lanka. It is considered as the highest grade flower and it is believed to grow in the Buddhist paradise.

✼Nelumbo Nucifera’s leaf
The leaf is used for the plate to put “Mizunoko” (food offering for souls) on,  which symbolizes celebration of the first harvest in the season. In Buddhism it is said that you may reach the Buddha closer if you are carried on the leaf. It is also used for dish offering for souls called “Hasu-meshi” (steamed rice dumpling wrapped in the leaf).

✼Lythrum anceps
L. anceps in Japanese is called Miso-hagi, and this is the combination of ablution (Misogi), which means rinsing off the evils with water, plus Lespedeza (Hagi). You can rinse off evil spirits at the Shoryo-dana shelf or entrance using the L. anceps soaked with pure water.

✼Physalis alkekengi
P. alkekengi in Japanese is Hoozuki and its characters have the meaning of “monster’s light.” The spirits of the dead are believed to gather at the light of paper lantern, that is why P. alkekengi is served as a signpost because of its similar looks to paper lantern.

Every plant served for Obon has its reasons to be used as well as the seasonal reason. When you learn more about these customs and traditions so you can carefully pray for the spirits of our ancestors.

 

by Saori Yamamoto

Seasonable Flowers from JA Minami Shinshu

180528S100

Grower: Nagano Growers’ Cooperative of JA Minami Shinshu
Item: Dahlia and other flowering plants
We displayed various seasonable flowers from JA Minami Shinshu in our show case.

✤In Minami Shinshu area,
about 600 members belonging to JA are growing various kinds of flowers at the different heights of land from 400 up to 1500m altitude.
Among those flowers, JA Minami Shinshu has become the largest year-round producer of Dahlia after the first cultivation in 2005.
As a “grower with a good sense of season”, JA Minami Shinshu ships over 200 varieties seasonally including flowering trees, fruiting plants, and other flowers besides Dahlias.

Please take a special look at the flowers from Minami Shinshu all year around.

 

 Dahlia 

  • 180528S102Kokucho
  • 180528S104Jessie Rita
  • 180528S106Aka Boshi
  • 180528S108Nessho
  • 180528S110Garnet
  • 180528S112Asahi Temari
  • 180528S114La La La
  • 180528S116Koi Kingyo
  • 180528S118Micchan
  • 180528S120Moon Waltz
  • 180528S122Hamilton Junior
  • 180528S124Pair Beauty
  • 180528S126Siberia
  • 180528S128Saisetsu

 

 Others 

  • 180528S130Lilac
    Marie Simon
  • 180528S132Oxypetalum
    Pure Blue
  • 180528S134
    Baptisia australis
  • 180528S136Astrantia major
    Rome
  • 180528S138Clematis
    Edinburgh
  • 180528S144Delphinium
    SP Platinum Blue
  • 180528S146Delphinium
    SP Grand Blue
  • 180528S140
    Stemona japonica
  • 180528S142
    Ribes rubrum

 

Interpreted by Ms. Yamamoto

Lisianthus from Atsumi Growers’ Cooperative

180430S101

Grower: Atsumi Growers’ Cooperative of JA Aichi Minami
Item: Lisianthus
We displayed lisianthus from Aichi prefecture, in our show case.

The receipt of shipment has been increasing since May.
Please take a careful look at differences of white color varieties!

  • 180430S102Celeb Blue
  • 180430S104Nagisa
  • 180430S106Soiree Marin
  • 180430S108Rosina Lavender
  • 180430S110Celeb Milky

 

  • 180430S112Amore White
  • 180430S114King of Snow Premium
  • 180430S116Bolero Flare White
  • 180430S118Celeb Rich White
  • 180430S120Celeb Crystal

 

  • 180430S122Propose
  • 180430S124Reina White
  • 180430S126Bon Voyage White
  • 180430S128Granas Light Pink
  • 180430S130Monroe

 

  • 180430S132Chris Hart
  • 180430S134Celeb Pink
  • 180430S136Exe Lavender
  • 180430S138Granas Lilac