Children's Day is all about boys. And while the Girl's Day celebrations are quite quiet and the dolls displayed in the guest room/ parlour/ the genkan bench at a stretch the Boy's flying carp are far more ostentatious. In the cities and towns they fly from balconies and rooftops and the odd portable flagpole temporarily erected in the garden.
Here in third/ fourth/ fifth/ fifteenth generation farm country where sons- and especially eldest sons- are celebrated and lorded and a source of bragging rights and sighs of relief the carp fly high. Very high. Permanent flagpoles are cemented into the ground outside the houses reaching up to the sky. Or way above the roof of the two story house anyway. As well as the spinning whirly gig and the rainbow windsock and three/ four/ five carp flying from the flag pole there is a second flagpole with a flag that looks like a samurai standard. It has the family crest at the top and a number of other symbols or pictures pertinent to the family in question. The whole thing is visible from a long way away, very impressive and awe inspiring as I assume it is supposed to be.
This year it has been incredibly windy and the big farming families' carp have spent more time chilling in their apple crates than flying high but even so Meg and Amy have had a severe case of carp envy.
"Why don't we have carp?"
"We don't have any boys."
"Daddy's a boy!"
"Daddy's a man. Carp are for boys."
"We want carp, too!"
No amount of reasoning was going to work. And so, in a Golden Week where every single day was spent outside in either the garden or the rice field, when we decided to take a break on the afternoon of Children's Day and do something with the girls and we asked them what they wanted to do Amy said watch tv (poor kid, deprived of all that tv while playing outside) and Meg said all four of us make carp together. Having a horrible premonition that she was going to want a four metre flag pole and metres long nylon carp I calmly asked how you make carp.
"With construction paper and markers. And crayons. And tape. I think you need lots of tape."
Ahhhh! This we could do! (phew!!!)
I upped the excitement and suggested we use paints to boot.
It was beautiful out in the garden in the sun with the wind a merciful light breeze.
From the top the wind sock (Christmas wrapping) Amy's carp, Megs, K's and mine. Completely upside down and inside out of the order you are supposed to fly them but hey, we are a boy-less carp-needless family after all.
And Meg? Thrilled!
And Amy didn't even remember that she had wanted to watch tv...