23 December 2009

Review of a Japanese Custom

Yesterday was the winter solstice. The shortest day of the year...
Nothing to really have a party about, but I take note of it
..simply because it is on the calendar and is the first day of my least favorite season.
Well at class last night...
My fabulous students introduced me to their custom of soaking in a bath of yuzu.
This is a yuzu:

[photo via Wikipedia]

This fruit is small, typically very tart, and part of the citrus family. It is rarely used in food, in Japan.  But can be used like a lemon just to add some zest to a dish. Other ways to use it is in liqueur, marmalade, cakes, vinegar, and some sauces.
I used it in a bath.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
"Yuzu is also known for its characteristically strong aroma, and the oil from its skin is marketed as a fragrance. In Japan, bathing with yuzu on Toji (the winter solstice) is a popular custom. The whole fruits are floated in the hot water of the bath (sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag), releasing their aroma. The fruit may also be cut in half, allowing the citrus juice to mingle with the bathwater. The 'yuzuyu,' or yuzu bath, is said to guard against colds, warm the body, and relax the mind."

Last night would have been perfect for a long relaxing bath after a night of teaching & such.
But, the universe had other plans... the Hubby rolled his ankle in a basketball game & my washer decided to leak its disgusting standing water all over my kitchen floor.
So this morning, after the Japanese maintenance guy made my house smell gag-worthy..
and after I scurried around picking up the small messes we had made over the past few days..
and after the Hubby came home with Burger King that made my house smell additionally gag-worthy...
and after I put my 3rd load of laundry in...
and after I blew out all the candles I lit to hide the smell of the said gag-worthy smells....

I stopped everything I was doing.
I turned on the hot water.
I lit one, lavender-vanilla, candle.
I grabbed a warm-fluffy towel from the dryer.
I turned on some Christmas music.
I listened to the [BYU v OREGON ST.] game that the Hubby was watching in the living room...
I pulled up my hair.
and I soaked in yuzu.filled.water.

The aroma is very soothing. I cut them slightly. Wrapped the yuzu up in a washcloth and tied them off with a hair-tie. I soaked for about 20 minutes. It was wonderful.
It's amazing. I am so warm. Warm enough to cuddle up on my bed for an afternoon nap!
Oh the joys of being on vacation. siighhh.. yawwn...
After my snooze, the Hubby and I are going out for dinner with his co-worker & his girlfriend that just arrived to Japan for Christmas.
We are going to a local brewery for some italian food and beer!

Happy day-before-Christmas-Eve!
Stay Cozy!

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