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Sekihan The Menarche


It’s pronounced (muh-nahr-kee), and it’s the first menstrual period or the establishment of menstruation for young women in Japan.


Sekihan, is a red bean rice made by steaming glutinous rice( especially sticky variety) together with red beans which turn the rice red, go figure! Sekihan is also served on other special occasions like weddings and birthdays but more so for the celebration of young Japanese women's Menarche.


I had acquired my red wings decades ago, but to have a celebratory traditional food dish named for it is extremely rare in the world. This is one of the reasons I love Japan so much. So much emphasis is placed on natural things and attention to details about the every day things that non-Japanese take for granted.


I have never had an aversion to this natural process a woman goes through. I think it’s beautiful. Around March 26th, almost like clock work, all day today I had women coming in and complaining to me about cramping and lower back pain, I smiled. I am so used to seeing these signs on women here. I’m always kind and supportive and tell them that what they’re experiencing in quite natural and that there’s nothing to be ashamed about.


At least by their admission of this tells me that they trust me and that they feel very comfortable around me. I have seen and heard just about everything under sun, so nothing surprises anymore. I’m a good listener. In the Western world the topic of menstruation is a taboo, and is generally one that’s reserved for women only.


According to Judeo-Christian religions this time of the month for women is regarded as a time of impurity and women are to be separated and barred from entering into so called holy places. Nothing could be stupider! But, like I said, nothing surprises me anymore. (“ We must ban you because you bleed naturally lest you defile our holy clay build blood stained alters”).


This brings me to a another NSFW episode in my past where I had to teach a 21 y.o. Japanese girl what a tampon was and even how to use one. What the hell she was doing prior to this is beyond me. This all happened before I came to Japan by the way. Atsuko, if you are reading this you owe me!


Anyway, it’s nice to commemorate the beginning of something, especially something as natural and beautiful as the development of a Japanese woman's body. Spring is in the air.


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