By chance, I got back to Kagoshima on the 100th day since Kaya's birth. On the 100th day, families celebrate with Okuizome (お食い初め), literally "first meal", or "first eating".
Back in January, when we took Kaya for her first shrine visit, among the things we received from the priests was a set of dishes: a tray, some bowls, and chopsticks.
I thought the dish set was nice gift, but I didn't give it much thought beyond that (or read the instructions that came with the set). I didn't realize at the time that the dish set was for Kaya's Okuizome (even though the instructions clearly state so).
Luckily for Kaya, someone is paying attention.
So, what is Okuizome? On the 100th day of the baby's life, you prepare a meal of special dishes to wish the baby an abundance of good food for the rest of their life.
Kaya's Okuizome consisted of:
- Sekihan (red rice and azuki beans)
- Madai (red snapper)
- Nishime (soy sauce-stewed vegetables like lotus root, carrots, bamboo shoots [harvested by Ryoko and her mom])
- Soup with clams
- A small stone (for good teeth, I was told)
For Okuizome, the baby is only 100 days old, which presents a problem for eating things like food and stones.
The idea is that you help the baby pretend to eat the food. So I held Kaya while Ryoko used the chopsticks to pretend-feed her, and her grandparents watched adoringly.
Happy first 100 days, Kaya. Your Okuizome was delicious.