Tuesday, June 07, 2011

tsuki no usagi

hanafuda Have you ever heard that there is a rabbit in the moon?

In Japanese, they call this "tsuki no usagi".

Recently, my mom gave Satoshi a hanafuda set for his birthday.

Hanafuda (literally flower card) is a game played with cards decorated with flowers or foliage. There are suits for every month and there are four cards per suit.

I remember playing this game growing up, but had to re-read the directions when Satoshi and I actually played this.

He was impressed that I knew some of the terminology and was surprised that we played this growing up.

As a child, the pictures on the cards really made an impression on me as we don't have these types of flowers, plants in Hawaii.

After receiving this set, we've played this several times and Satoshi has almost never won. He's been asking for re-matches ever since...help!

So, getting back to the rabbit in the moon...inside the directions of the game, there was a little story, which I thought would be nice to share.

"A long time ago, the Old Man of the Moon decided to visit the Earth. He disguised himself as an old beggar and asked Saru (monkey), Kitsune (fox) and Usagi (rabbit) for some food.

Saru climbed a tree and brought him some fruit. Kitsune went to a stream and caught him a fish. But Usagi found nothing for him to eat but grass. So, instead, Usagi asked the beggar to build a fire. After the beggar built the fire, Usagi leapt into it and offered himself as a meal.

Suddenly, the beggar changed himself back into the Old Man of the Moon and save Usagi from the flames. He said, "Usagi-san, do not harm yourself for my sake. Since you have been the kindest of all, I will carry you back to the moon to live with me."

Next time there is a full moon, look for the rabbit."


Hopefully it will remind you to show kindness to others too.

16 comments:

jalna said...

What a neat gift!

K said...

What a great story!

Japan Australia said...

Great story with a fantastic message of showing kindness to others.

Japan Australia

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - My mom used to tell me that the rabbit was making mochi during the full moon!

OkiHwn said...

First time I've seen the moon with a rabbit on it!

K and S said...

Thanks Jalna, I wonder where my mom bought it in Hawaii?!

Thanks K!

Thanks J-A!

I heard that one too Kirk, guess that is what he did after getting to the moon :)

It kinda does look like a rabbit when you look at the real moon, Nate :)

Take care everyone!
Kat

Rowena... said...

Very cool story and hanafuda cards. I have a set with me but it's been awhile since I brought it out.

K and S said...

you and MotH should play, then when we meet up we can play doubles :)

Take care.
Kat

Nami @ Just One Cookbook said...

I didn't know about the whole story! Or probably heard growing up but I never remembered! Thanks for sharing this story. It's a cool gift! My dad's family plays Hanafuda, but I never cared to learned it (it was more of men's game in my dad's family)...

K and S said...

That is interesting Nami, in our family it was more of a women's game :)

Take care.
Kat

Anonymous said...

That looks like the set we have. My son's cubscout group sold them as a fundraiser last year.

-myra

K and S said...

hmm I wonder how my mom got this Myra, I don't think she knows any cubscouts... :)

Take care.
Kat

manju said...

Love that story! I always look for the rabbit when I see the full moon -- isn't he making mochi up there??
BTW, you might like the Hanafuda deck with Hawaiian flowers and animals that I found at a craft fair on Oahu but I think the artist was from Maui. Maybe your mom can locate the artist for you, it's a nice tie btw Hawaii and Japan.

K and S said...

will surf around online Manju :) thanks for the heads-up!

Take care.
Kat

Deb in Hawaii said...

It sounds like a fun game to play. Love the rabbit in the moon story too. ;-)

K and S said...

we need more players Deb in Hawaii ;)

Take care.
Kat