September 2017: The Otsukimi Box

Otsukimi or Harvest Moon Festival is a major festival celebrated across Japan on September 15. Otsukimi, literally meaning “moon-viewing”, is an occasion when people gather together to appreciate the moon which is believed to be the brightest and the most beautiful in this time of the year.

Otsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from pampas grass (susuki) and eating Tsukimi dango (round rice cakes resembling the full moon) to celebrate the beauty of the moon and wish for a good autumn harvest. Seasonal produce such as sweet potatoes and chestnuts are also displayed as offerings to the moon.

The moon, and as such Otsukimi, has long been associated with rabbits and mochi (soft glutinous rice cakes). Japanese believe that a rabbit lives on the surface of the moon and that the image of the rabbit pounding mochi with an old-style wooden hammer can be seen in the moon.

The Otsukimi Box contains a wide variety of special items to celebrate Japan’s Harvest Moon Festival at home. Let’s explore this beautiful and unique tradition of moon appreciation with us!

The Lifestyle Box

1. Mino-yaki Rabbit & The Moon Ceramic Plate
The pattern on the plate illustrates a rabbit jumping forward over a pampas grass (susuki) field, with the full moon in the background. It indicates Otsukimi tradition as pampas grass is an iconic decoration item for the festival as well as prosperity as the rabbit is leaping forward.

2. Mino-yaki Rabbit Chopstick Rest
The pattern on the chopstick rest illustrates a rabbit watching the bright moon, next to some pampas grass.

3. Rabbit Chopsticks 
Use these with the rabbit plate and chopstick rest and the rabbit tableware collection is complete!

The bunny chopstick collection featured in the Lifestyle Box.

4. Rabbit & Sakura Furoshiki 
The Furoshiki come in 2 colors Red and Blue. Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used to wrap gifts, clothes, and actually just about anything!

These Furoshiki cloths are from the Osaka Apparel Cooperative.

5. Rabbit & Sakura Small Drawstring Bag 
There is one black, red or blue drawstring bag in a box. Use the bag to store your coins, accessories or other small belongings. It’s small and convenient enough to carry around. These handmade drawstring bags are made from Japanese crepe fabric (chirimen) by artisans in Kyoto.

6. Rabbit Roly-poly Toy Doll (Okiagari Koboshi)
As these toy dolls right themselves when pushed over, they are thought to represent the Japanese concept of resilience and the proverb “Nana korobi ya oki – Seven times down, Eight times up” which essentially encourages people to get up and keep trying no matter how many times they get knocked down.
The dolls are also handmade crafts from Kyoto. No two dolls will look exactly the same!

7. Rabbit Makie Bookmark
Makie is a thousand-year-old technique for lacquerware decoration in which designs are made by laying metal powders including gold and silver on the lacquerware using a special brush.

8. Teika no Tsuki (Teika’s Moon) Rice Cracker 
The product line is inspired by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241), a Japanese poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura periods who deeply admired the moon.

Number of items: 8. Total Retail Price: $70

The Snack Box

1. Green Tea Cream Daifuku
Daifukumochi or Daifuku (literally “great luck”) is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling.

2. Ogura Meigetsu (Ogura’s Moon) Rice Cracker 

3. Kamakura Hangetsu Wafers
Hangetsu means “Half Moon”. When putting the wafers side by side, you’ll get a full moon!

4. Baked Sweet Potatoes

5. Rabbit Sticker Sheet
Decorate your journal with these adorable rabbit stickers! The sheet has all kinds of stickers for you to plan your daily activities.

6. Ariake Yokohama Harbor Double Marron
The cake is shaped like a ship which represents the port city, Yokohama. The ship illustrated on the package was inspired by RMS Queen Mary 2, a world-famous cruise liner.

7. Ariake Yokohama Harbor Milk Pumpkin
This product belongs to a project that supports Kumamoto Prefecture which went through a big earthquake in April 2016. Thus, it uses pumpkins from Kumamoto, and Kumamon, the famous mascot of Kumamoto, is illustrated on the package.

8. Old Yokohama Station Chestnut Cookies
This is a commemorative product of Japan’s first railway that opened in 1872 between Shimbashi (Tokyo) and Yokohama. Back then, railway sleepers were made from chestnut trees.

9. Iyemon Instant Genmaicha
Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea combined with roasted brown rice. It is considered easy to drink and helps one’s stomach feel better.

Number of items: 17. Total Retail Price: $45