Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Carpe Diem #657, Zooni

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

January is almost over and I am already busy with creating our new promptlist for February and I think February will (again) be an awesome month. As I told you in earlier posts the classical kigo for New Year (the classic fifth season) are sometimes a little bit strange and today our prompt is also a little bit strange. Today we have Zooni for prompt and there isn't really a good description for this classical kigo for New Year, but I have found an explanation of this kigo.

Zooni is a kind of mixed vegetable soup for the new year and is eaten on January first in the morning, usually after the first shrine visit and prepared with .. the first well water (wakamizu) of the year drawn at the double-hour of the tiger (tora no koku, from four to six in the morning) . This water was supposed to bring health and wellbeing to the people who drink it. It is also renown for bringing back youth to the people ("young water" waka mizu).

Zooni (picture taken from a Japanese website)

The water is drawn only by chosen "men of the year" (toshi otoko, but referring either to the "man of the house" or to men who are born in the animal sign of the coming year) which are thought of as having special heavenly power with them. This ceremony is the very first male activity of the New Year. Women had to stay away from the well. Is some parts of Shikoku island, however, it is the lady of the house who fetches the first water.
From simple farmers to temple priest to tea ceremony masters, all took this custom very seriously. The well where this water was drawn is usually decorated with New Year decorations.
In Western Japan, it is the custom to add a lot of yellowtail (buri) to the broth of vegetables. People greet each other on the first of January: What did you eat in your zooni? After that, no hot food was eaten until January 4, to give the housewife and the kitchen and hearth deities a short holiday.

I have found a nice haiku written by Issa with this kigo in it:

waga io ya ganjitsu mo kuru zooni uri

to my hut too
New Year's arrives...
the zooni vendor

© Issa (1817)

Note: In Japan it’s not usual to work three or four days around New Year, but the Zooni-vendors are busy like bees on those days.

Maybe you have a special kind of food around New Year. And that can be a nice item for your haiku inspired on Zooni.

fetching water
for my first ever home made soup -
New Year's Eve

© Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong haiku ... but I felt that I had to write/compose one.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 31st at noon (CET). I will (try to) post our next episode, First Dream (Hatsuyume), later on. Have fun!


  1. You always have interesting prompts, Kristjaan. Today, I just couldn't stop with only one haiku verse...and had to add a question. Thanks for your patience when we don't always follow haiku "purist" form!

  2. Lynn,
    Good question! Apparently anything goes in a zooni! Couldn't post in your blog, Blogger not one of those accepted!


    1. Sorry you couldn't post, Hank (I'll ask WP about it)...thanks for your comment!