After hearing the rain and strong winds for most of the day, the silence outside in the night seemed unnatural. When I sensed that all was quiet, I quickly dropped by at the 24-hour supermarket to do my groceries. The streets were quite a mess with fallen leaves and tree branches here and there. Bicycles parked along the streets were knocked over by the winds. Few people were out in the streets. Those whom I saw walked with a sense of urgency, as if the quiet might bring with it another storm.
At the supermarket, tsukimi dango was being sold at discounted prices and I bought a packet to try. I had received numerous flyers from supermarkets which featured a range of traditional foods that were being sold for moon viewing (or tsukimi in Japanese). They made me very curious. Unlike the Chinese who eat mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Japanese have the custom of eating tsukimi dango during their moon viewing gathering. Moon viewing, or tsukimi, was said to have spread from China to Japan during the Heian period. In addition to tsukimi dango, another common traditional food in Japan on Mid-Autumn day is taro roots or satoimo. These foods along with a vase decorated with susuki grass and autumn flowers are placed on altars as offerings to the moon for abundant harvest.
My neighbour had also treated me to some of the mooncakes that she had made earlier that evening. They contained meat fillings. I learnt from her that there were many types of mooncakes in China and those containing meat was just one type. It was interesting how a tradition that originated from China was celebrated with different foods in different countries. The aroma of my neighbour's moon cakes still lingered in my apartment. It tasted so good that I am going to try making them one of these days. I don't think we have meat moon cakes in Singapore, do we?
Although we had the traditional foods all ready, the moon was not in sight at all. My first Mid-Autumn Festival in Japan and it had to be a moonless night.