I have lots of happy childhood memories of summer holidays. Every year around this time, I think about them.
Japanese academic year starts in April so that the summer holidays come between the first and second terms.It starts around 20th of July and ends at the end of August. It is the longest time off from school during the year. Homework is often given, however, kids have plenty of time to play outdoors, go camping or travel with family.
When I was in school, we had a couple of assembly mornings to attend so that the teachers could check on us. It was a bit of a nuisance, but it wasn’t exactly compulsory and often, it came with a swimming session which I loved.
Most schools in Japan, public or private have their own pool. It may not come with a roof and only available in summer, but it is fantastic to have one. I spent more time in the ocean, but that was out of necessity. Swimming in clear water was a treat.
After swimming, we were offered ‘Shogayu’ served by dinner ladies.
‘Shogayu’ is a Japanese version of ginger tea. More consumed in winter, it is used as a home remedy to treat sore throat and the common cold. I enjoyed it in summer. It is thick and syrupy since cornstarch is added at the end of cooking.
1 Tbsp ginger juice
1-2 Tbsp honey or sugar
2 tsp Katakuriko (potato starch) or cornstarch plus 2 tsp water
Grate ginger, squeeze the juice.
In a pot, add water, ginger juice and honey, and put on medium heat until just before boiling.
Mix Katakuriko and 2 tsp of water well in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the tea and stir well. Heat for a couple of minutes until it has thickened a little.
When your body is cooled from swimming, having this ginger tea was so nice and comforting.
I am utterly amazed at the achievements of Japanese swimming team at the Olympics. They have been doing so well.
Those swimmers spend 5-6 hours or even more in a pool every day, swimming over the black lines. What a determination and commitment!
And behind every athletes, there are Mums and dads, carers and siblings who have been supporting them. When the athletes are still young, parents accompany to training sessions and galas. There are teachers and coaches and volunteers. It is a team effort, and I have done that myself.
I spent long enough hours waiting around at leisure centres to be able to publish knitting books!
So, well done to Olympians, well done, mums and dads!