Story

  • CHICHINOHI - Father's Day -

    CHICHI means a father in Japanese. The 3rd Sunday of June is called CHICHI NO HI, Father’s Day, in Japan.People celebrate the day to send a thank-you-message, a gift, and sometimes yellow flowers to their father to show appreciation. It is also a day to reunite the family, especially with the father by spending time together.This Father’s Day was brought from the United States, started to be recognized around 1950 in Japan and it needs some time to become an annual event till 1980. As is often the case in the world, it is said that this tradition has expanded as one of the marketing tools for department stores to increase sales.Typical gifts on Father’s Day in Japan are alcohol, high-class food, something to wear like glasses, ties, belts, clothes, bags, grooming sets, and technical gaskets also popular nowadays.However, a recent statistic shows Father’s Day is less popular than Mother’s Day and people spend less on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day in Japan as well as in the world. Hope it does not mean mothers are more important than fathers, but fathers might be thought that they are less contribute to the home life under the modern society, which the value of Japan's traditional patriarchy has been almost fading away. Both Mother’s and Father’s Days are to show how much you care, appreciate and love not only your mother and father but also all mothers and fathers in the world. Such evens surely give us a nice excuse to get family together and realize again how important to thank your parents and someone you love.The lock-down has been finally lifted, so it might be a good chance to visit your father and say “thank you” on the coming 3rd Sunday of June this year.Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan-oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • HAHANOHI - Mother's Day -

    The second Sunday of May is called HAHA NO HI, Mother’s Day. HAHA means a mother in Japanese and comparing Father’s Day it is a much larger event in Japan.The concept was brought from the United States in 1913 and first stared in 1931 to celebrate the birthday of Empress KOJUN (the mother of Emperor HEISEI, the one before the current Emperor REIWA) on the 6th of Mach. During the Second World War the country prohibited the western culture, so this custom was faded out for a while. After the war ended, Mother’s Day changed to the second Sunday of May following the United States and became popular widely across Japan. It is very common to send flowers such as carnations, hydrangeas and roses with a message and gifts. It is said one of the busiest seasons in a year for flower shops.Apparently, it has a great commercial aspect, so most of the department stores and shopping districts make a precise marketing plan for this day and work very hard to sell their products as gifts.Both Mother’s and Father’s Days are to show how much you care, appreciate and love not only to your mother and father but also mothers and fathers in the world. Such evens surely give us a nice excuse to get family together and realize again how important to thank your parents and someone you love.Japantotheworld.com is ready to introduce more Japan oriented stories, please inform us if you have any specific themes you would like to know.

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  • GOLDEN WEEK HOLIDAY 2022

    Some people might think that Japan does not have a long holiday and Japanese always work longer. It gives us a kind of impression people in Japan just work all the time without taking any holidays, but that might be wrong. Apart from annual leave, Japan has relatively many national holidays in a year.  “Golden Week Holiday” is the busiest season, starting from 29 April and ending on 5 May. If you take a day off on 2 May and 6 May, you will have ten days off, a long holiday this year. Holidays in Golden Week in 202229 April - Showa Day, the birthday of former Emperor Showa3 May - Constitution Memorial Day / KENPO KINENBI4 May - Greenery Day / MIDORINOHI5 May - Children’s Day / KODOMONOHI, A day to celebrate children’s happiness and wish their healthy growth. It was common for people to take some straight days off by using their paid day-off and companies with the good work-life balance are likely to be closed for the entire holiday period. Usually, sightseeing spots get very crowded and all transport and accommodation in tourist area are fully booked months in advance. Of course, the price goes up over the period. It accounts for most of the annual sales for some companies in the travel and tourism industry. There are four major holiday seasons in Japan, Golden Week Holiday in April and May, OBON Holiday in August, Silver Week Holiday in September, and Year-End & New Year Holiday in December and January. They are not a long vacation like Europe but it shows Japanese are not working all day long without holidays. If you would like to take your time visiting one place, you better avoid Japan during these long holidays. Japantotheworld.com can suggest fantastic ideas of your Japan travel. Please contact us if you have any questions and requests.

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  • WAHUGETSUMEI

    In Japan, months are commonly called 1-12 numbers + Gatsu (means Month), like 一月IchiGatsu (means First Month, January), 二月 NiGatsu (means Second Month,  February), 三月 SanGatsu (means Third Month, March) and so on. Apart from that, there are other beautiful names of twelve months.   Have you heard of WahuGetsuMei?   和 – WA = Japanese 風 – HU = Style 月 – GETSU = Month 名 – MEI = Name   Japan has been using the new calendar based on the solar calendar (Gregorian calendar) since 1873, though they used to use the old calendar by the lunar calendar (old Chinese calendar). WahuGetsuMei was named based on this old lunar calendar.   新暦(太陽暦) - ShinReki ( TaiyoReki ) = New Calendar 旧暦(太陰暦) - KyuReki ( TaiinReki ) = Old Calendar   The old calendar starts around three to seven weeks later than the new calendar, so the names of WahuGetsuMei do not match the current season. It might be easier to understand the words are about one month behind the recent seasons. For example, the name below 弥生(Yayoi) March shows April at present.   There are many things uncertain about WahuGetsuMei, the history behind, when it started, where it came from and how these twelve names remained. It is said that people have been using the current style since the 17th century. Each name has its own origin with various different stories and we will introduce the most common ones as below.   First of all, it might be useful to know how we call a month in Japanese.   月 – Tsuki or Zuki = Month     睦月 – MuTsuki = January A month of harmony, family and people gather around to celebrate the New Year.   如月(衣更着) – Kisaragi = February A month you need to wear many layers as it is cold.   弥生 – Yayoi = March A month of seeds sprouting and flowers blooming, the beginning of spring.   卯月 – Uzuki = April A month of Deutzias blooming   皐月(早月) – SaTsuki = May A month relating agriculture, especially rice-planting.    水無月 - MinaTsuki/MinaZuki = June It literally looks like ‘No Water Month’ as 水無 means ‘No Water’, but it means ‘a month needing water’. A month you need to draw water into paddy fields just after the rainy season.   文月 - FumiZuki/FuZuki = July A month of the ear of rice bending downward for harvesting There is another story that at 七夕Tanabata festival on July 7th people used to hang out books in the sun to dry. It is called Fumi Wo Hiraku (means open books), and has changed to FumiHirogeTsuki and became FumiZuki eventually.   葉月 - HaZuki/HaTsuki = August A month all leaves start falling down   長月 - NagaZuki/NagaTsuki = September A month with long nights   神無月 – KannaZuki = October The origin of the word is ‘a month of the Gods,’ but it is more common for now that no gods around as all deities in Japan go to Izumo 出雲 to meet up at Izumo Shirin 出雲大社 IzumoOoyashiro/IzumoTaisha, one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Japan.   霜月 – ShimoTsuki = November A month of frost   師走 – Shiwasu = December A month teachers and priests run around busily   Even though these names are not used in our daily conversation, they are seen in books, poetry, traditional Japanese flower arrangement, Japanese calligraphy, formal letters and speeches and so on. These names are not only words but a kind of expression for Japanese people to feel seasons.  

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  • TOKYO SANPO

    Do you know where Tokyo is actually located in Japan? Tokyo, the capital of Japan, consists of 23 special wards, the Tama area, and some islands. The impression of the political and economic center, cosmopolitan with about 14 million citizens probably come from the image of the 23 wards where 70% of people live.General idea about Tokyo might be something like;+ the center of politics, economy, finance, education, culture, and anything in Japan.+ extremely crowded in a small area (most populated of Japan)+ skyscraper+ high cost of living+ global and diversity+ busy and noisyTokyo is not only a megacity surrounded by lots of concrete. If you visit Tokyo, you might be amazed to find Tokyo has lots of greens and nature. Visiting many famous sightseeing spots quickly is one way, but it is also great to wander around the city on foot. Japantotheworld.com introduces some carefully selected walking routes to assist overseas visitors to enjoy the stay.Let’s look at Japantotheworld.com’s first recommended walking route.<Walking Route>   Shibuya 渋谷 – Harajuku 原宿 – Omotesando 表参道First, let's start from Shibuya station. Shibuya station is one of the busiest commuter rail stations in Japan along with Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Ikebukuro, and Tokyo. It is operated jointly with JR East, Keio, Tokyu, and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Hanzomon Line, the Fukutoshin Line, so it will be easy to come to Shibuya station wherever from your accommodation.West Side of Shibuya station - Hachiko ExitThe statue of Hachiko is a popular meeting spot. Hachi is the name of the Japanese Akita dog remembered for his loyalty to his owner, waiting for years after his owner’s death which story was made into several movies. The Scramble Crossing located in front of the station is a popular shooting spot in Tokyo. There is a police station nearby, so you can ask them if you need any help. Don’t worry they speak English at least. If you feel thirsty, you can start the day with a cup of coffee at an extremely crowded Starbucks across the street. After taking some pictures at Hachiko Exit, let’s move to the other side of the station.East Side of Shibuya station - Chuo Higashi ExitThis surrounding area is always under construction like forever and changes its scenery every day. As of the end of November 2020, it is still a maze with massive constructions underway. You would look up the giant screen of Shibuya Scramble Square. Let’s cross the street to Big Camera and start to walk along Meiji street (明治通りMeiji Dori). Walk straight along Meiji street, you can find Rayard Miyashita Park where shops and restaurants are gathered around. The special outside-restaurant area with many Japanese Izakaya would give you a great experience of typical Japanese nightlife. Let’s get back here at night and keep walking straight for now. Yoyogi Park 代々木公園, Meiji Shirin 明治神宮, Harajuku 原宿 Keep walking along Meiji Street, you will reach Gingumae Crossing where big shopping buildings are around, the area called Harajuku, the place of the mecca of Japanese pop culture. You can find many Kawaii cute things at small shops on back allies.If you turn to the left at the corner of Gingumae Crossing, keep going straight the street, you will reach Meiji Shrine (明治神宮Meiji Jingu) at the end.Let’s visit the shrine and appreciate the Japanese solemn atmosphere surrounded by lush green nature. You will need 30 minutes at least to walk around this area. If you want to relax more, there is Yoyogi Park next to the shrine. It is like Central Park in NY, a big oasis in a big city, featuring fresh greens, ponds, wide lawns, and a jogging course. Many people enjoy gathering and picnicking every weekend. It is also the best place for Hanami (cherry blossom party) and Momijigari (red autumn leaves). If you want to visit Yoyogi Park, go out of the shrine once and go right along the street, and you will find the entrance of this urban park.After you recharge the power, let’s move on walking again toward Harajuku Station. The station is renewed in 2020 and some shops newly opened. There is also a world-famous Uniqlo. You can get one if you need some urgently needed clothes, which sometimes happens when traveling.There is a street called Takeshita Street where some Tokyo guide books are likely to introduce as a go-to-spot, but it is not as lively as before, so we will choose another route. If someone interesting in Takeshita Street, go straight toward Harajuku Station Takeshita Exit and you can find the street in front. Omotesando 表参道Omotesando is the name of a station as well as the name of the main street connecting Harajuku Station (Meiji Jingumae Station) and Omotesando Station. OMOTE means front and SANDO an approach to a shrine.It is absolutely pleasant to stroll through the street lined with beautiful zelkova trees, enjoying the seasonal scenery, fresh green air in spring, lushly green in summer, glorious red leaves in autumn, romantic Christmas illumination in winter. The fantastic street might remind you of the Champs Élysées in Paris. The area contains flagship stores of famous fashion brands, fantastic modern architectural buildings, such a very open space with luxurious atmospheres gives you the impression of Tokyo’s sophisticated aspect.You cannot miss must-go-to shops for buying souvenirs for your loved one back home. Two major shops are located in the middle of the street; Oriental Bazaar and Kiddy Land. Before you enter Oriental Bazaar, take a look in the shop window for a moment where some attractive traditional Japanese stuff, such as Samurai armor set, seasonal Ikebana (flowers and plants arranged in a vase), old Japanese antique furniture is displayed. Once you go into the shop, you are surrounded by Japan, enjoy your shopping on spacious floors. On the other hand, Kiddy Land sells typical modern Japanese Kawaii products. It is great fun to see toys, figurines, stationeries, miscellaneous character-themed items, you would forget all about the time.If you feel thirsty, you can find vending machines, convenience stores, coffee shops everywhere. Many fancy restaurants are also available, so take your time and enjoy strolling around.When you arrive at Omotesando crossing, you have some options to spend the rest of your day.Option1) Omotesando –> Shibuya, going back to Shibuya station through Aoyama street via Miyamasuzaka, about 30 minutes' walk.Option2) Omotesando –> JinguGaien, continuing walking through Aoyama street to another fantastic line of ginkgo trees, close to the National Stadium of Tokyo2020 Olympic and Paralympic, about 30 minutes' walk.Option3) Omotesando –> Ginza, going to the Ginza area, about 15 minutes by the Tokyo Metro Ginza line.Option4) Omotesando –> Asakusa, the Ginza line is such a convenient metro to take you to many Japanese sightseeing spots, about 30 minutes by the Ginza line.※This useful map is available at some Information centers in Shibuya. Enjoy your time in Tokyo Walking!

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  • The Year of COVID

    2020 is the year of the Rat. The Rat is the first animal of the repeating 12-year cycle in the Chinese and Japanese zodiac. It is said that the Rat year is the year of chaos with many changes, which actually occurred. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our general lifestyle. We needed to adjust both our minds and lives themselves. Let’s see what happened in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, together with some Japanese annual events.2020 = The Second Year of Reiwa EraJanuary1 – 3  OSHOUGATSU = Japanese New Year Holiday13  SEIJIN NO HI = Coming of Age Day, when all those turning 20 celebrated being new adults.https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20191223Happy New Year in Japan. We had beautiful days during our new year’s holiday. Many people started to work in 2020 on Monday, the 6th of January. The rumor about this strange flu-like disease was started spreading around this time.February       3  SETSUBUN = The day to celebrate the coming of spring by throwing roasted beans11  KENKOKU KINEN BI = National Foundation Day23  The REIWA Emperor’s Birthdayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200203Masks, toilet paper, thermometers, even rice started to be gone at stores, people making long queues to get them. March  3  HINA MATSURI = Dolls’ Festival / Girls’ Festival20  SHUNBUN NO HI = Spring Equinox Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200302Some travelers still found in Tokyo, even people newly entered from overseas, including China. Most people in Japan knew about the Coronavirus but did not seem to take it seriously. AprilEnd of April to Beginning of May = Golden Week Holidayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20191109The Japanese government officially announced that we stay home, Japan going into a mild-lockdown nationwide. Many shops, stores, restaurants, schools closed but transport.May   3  KENPOU KINEN BI = Constitution Day   4  MIDORI NO HI = Greenery Day   5  KODOMO NO HI = Children’s Day10  HAHA NO HI = Mother’s Day  https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200522Japan started a long holiday together with the annual long golden week holiday and kept telling us to stay home. It is the time that the Blue Impulse Japan Air Self-Defense Force Acrobatic Team flew over central Tokyo’s blue sky to show respect and appreciation to all medical workers fighting against the Covid19.June21  CHICHI NO HI = Father’s Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200620Gradually people were back to the cities. Some schools, shops, and stores were still closed.July  7  TANABATA = Star Festival23  UMI NO HI = Marine Day24  SUPORTS NO HI = Sport’s dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20190930The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo was planned to begin on July 24, but as everybody knew, it had to be rescheduled for 2021 July.The government announced starting a GOTO travel campaign under limited conditions. They encouraged people to go travel to spend money in the market. It was a month with lots of rain. AugustMiddle August  Obon seasonhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200803Less people moved to visit the graves during Obon season this year. Needed careful consideration of the joyful family reunion event this summer. The 2020 Olympics were supposed to close on 23 and start the 2020 Paralympics on 25. Many local festivals, such as BONODORI (dancing), MATSURI (festivals), and HANABI (fireworks) needed to stop due to the virus. The hot summer came as usual, and Tokyo seemed to be recovering day by day.September21  KEIROU NO HI = The day to show respect for the elderly 22  SYUUBUN NO HI = Autumn Equinox Dayhttps://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20200829Typhoon season arrived as happens every year. People tired of self-restraint so started to go out gradually. Sadly, this month’s long holiday triggered the 2nd crisis of COVID19.OctoberOctober is the only month that does not have significant holidays and national events. No national holidays in October as usual, very sad.Followed by the GOTO travel campaign, the government started a GOTO eat campaign, while the number of patients began to increase again. Halloween event was downsized in the nation.November  3  BUNKA NO HI = Cultural Day 15  SHICHI GO SAN = Child Festival to celebrate their growth 23  KINRO KANSYA NO HI = Labor Thanksgiving Day The number of patients kept increasing this month too. The nation was experiencing a kind of lockdown burnout.December31  OOMISOKA = New Year’s EveThe COVID-19 is at a critical stage, even may call a new emergency stage, but people seem to carry on with their everyday lives. We all are waiting for vaccines and finding the cures as of Dec 5. It is said that the impact of the Coronavirus was minimal compared to other countries, but it was not obviously small at all, as it has affected the economy, politics, people’s daily lives seriously. The year of 2020 undoubtedly swayed by the crisis of Covid19, but “everything that has a beginning has an ending.” Keep your hopes up.https://japantotheworld.com/story/story_20201016Japantotheworld.com wishes you all happiness, good luck, and normal lives in 2021!!2021 MO Japantotheworld.com WO YOROSHIKU NE. YOI OTOSHI WO.  

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  • DARUMA / Dharma

    DARUMA is a Japanese traditional doll and always used as a lucky charm. People used to believe that DARUMA brings  good luck and wealth. Nowadays people believe that DARUMA can also make other dreams come true such as;History of DARUMADARUMA is modeled after a Buddhist monk and a founder of Zen Buddhism called Bodhidharma who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He was born in India and moved to China to spread the Zen Sect.  The legend said that Bodhidharma had a very strong faith in his religion. He lost his limbs  while he mediated deeply and kept sitting in a correct posture to enter a spiritual state of nothingness for nine years.  In the Edo period around 17th to 19th century, the story about Bodhidharma was introduced in Japan and combined with a traditional Japanese talisman called OKIAGARI KOBOSHI which they newly produced the current DARUMA doll. OKIAGARI KOBOSHI is a roly poly toy that always comes back to an upright position when pushed and knocked over. It literally means “If you get knocked down seven times, you will get up eight times anyhow.” and also means that “A man’s walking is a succession of falls.”  DARUMA’s Red ColorThere are some color variations of DARUMA,  the most popular color  red. It is said that Bodhidharma worn a red colored special cloth. Also, the color red represents the sun, fire, blood and life. People believed that red color has a power to protect them from bad luck and disease, that is the reason why the color is used for some sacred sites and buildings in Japan such as TORII gate (a gateway of a shrine).The fatal disease of small pox was spreading like a plague in the Edo period. Smallpox was called HOSO at that time and people believed the disease was brought by the God of HOSO. It was said that the God with evil spirits hates the red color, therefore people used to put red clothes on the patients and paint the toys in red to protect their children. Daruma in red was one of the popular charms for those suffered from HOSO.How to make a wish on DARUMA DARUMA does not have black eyes painted on the face. They are intentionally left blank, so that the person who owns it can draw them in. First the owner puts in its right eye which we call KAIGEN, means literally Opening-Eye, and makes a wish. Secondly the person needs to work for it. When the dream is achieved, the other eye is painted with gratitude.There were many people who lost their eyesight when they got smallpox, so DARUMA with beautiful eyes drawn was very popular and fetched a high price. On the other hand, DARUMA with their eyes not-well drawn were unsold and leftover. The sellers came up with selling DARUMA with their eyes left blank, asking buyers to paint the eyes themselves.Today’s DARUMATime went by, DARUMA became to be a typical talisman to make your dreams come true. You might have seen on television that politicians were drawing an eye after they was elected.Traditionally it is said that the power of DARUMA lasts for one year only. If your wish did not come true within one year, you would need to take the DARUMA to shrines or temples for a burning ceremony.Most common color red represents good luck and good fortune. There are other colors such as Yellow, Purple, Gold, White, Blue, Black and each color has its own meanings depending on the place you purchase. Therefore, find the one to meet your wishes when you get it.Would you like to try and draw eyes for your wish??

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  • OHIGAN

    The coming 20th of March is a Vernal Equinox Day called SHUNBUN NO HI. Japan calls this special week surrounding the Spring Equinox day OHIGAN. The Autumn Equinox Day in September is called SHUBUN NO HI and also called the special week OHIGAN. These equinox days are public holidays since 1948.It is believed that people taking care of family graves during this period will be promised to go to paradise, therefore it is a common family event for Japanese to visit their family graves, pay respect and commemorate their death in the OHIGAN week.In Buddhism, HIGAN implies enlightenment and means the other side of the river. The river divides the land of the living (SHIGAN) and the land of the dead (HIGAN) and represents pains you have to overcome to attain enlightenment.As the length of day and night are almost equal on the day of OHIGAN, it is believed that ancestors can easily cross the River Styx and come back to this side. Therefore, people in the land of the living clean the family graves, place flowers and incense, and offer the dead person’s favorites to appreciate the ancestors.There is a special bean-cake for this season. It is called BOTAMOCHI in spring and OHAGI in autumn though they are all the same flavor. BOTAMOCHI is named after tree peonies called BOTAN in Japanese and OHAGI is named after Japanese bush clover called HAGI in Japanese.People used to make this sticky rice ball coated with red bean paste made from AZUKI at home but nowadays many people buy it at store. They believe this sweet protects from bad luck.There is a Japanese saying that “No heat or cold remains after the equinox”. Each equinox day reminds Japanese people of not only visiting the family graves but reuniting their family occasionally.Contact us anytime if you have any questions about Japanese culture!

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  • Academic Year in Japan

    The academic year in Japan starts from April and ends in March. Students begin their first semester with beautiful cherry blossoms blooming around this time of the year. There are regional differences with the schedule, but the school year is normally divided into three semesters in Japan. At most elementary, junior high and high schools,* first semester starts from the beginning of April and ends in the middle of July* summer holiday in July and August* second semester from the end of August to the end of December* winter holiday in the end and beginning of the year* third semester from the beginning of January to the end of March* spring holiday from the end of March to the beginning of April.In the Edo period around the 17th century when schools called TERAKOYA were open the door to the general public, they are able to enroll in a school anytime they want. After the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century, the academic year started from September followed by the Western educational system. The current three-semester system has been established in modern society followed by the Japanese fiscal year in the law. Standard Japanese education system includes six years in elementary school, three years in junior high school, three years in high school and two to four (sometimes six depending on your major) years in college or university. Everyone in Japan is required to complete elementary and junior high school by law.Besides, most of the companies in Japan starts and new comers have a company entrance ceremony in April too. Japanese think March is a time of farewell and April is a time of starting a new journey. One of the reasons why Japanese find cherry blossoms so exclusive might be that SAKURA is always there at their very special occasions in their lives.

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  • HINAMATSURI – Doll’s Festival –

    HINAMATURI is the festival for girls held on the 3rd of March. The families with girls display a set of special dolls called OHINASAMA for this event to pray for their girls’ health and happiness. It is also called Girls’ Festival and Peach Festival.  This display-only doll is called HINA NINGYO, not designed to be played as toys. The traditional set of dolls include,- the Emperor : ODAIRISAMA - the Empress : OHINASAMA- three court ladies : SANNIN KANJO- five court musicians (small drum, large drum, hand drum, flute and singer) : GONIN BAYASHI- the minister of the left : SADAIJIN- the minister of the right : UDAIJIN- Trees such as orange and cherry - Some sweets such as sweet rice puffs, sweet Japanese diamond-shaped rice cakes- Some traditional furniture, households, golden folding screens, paper lamps and carriages These dolls wear a very traditional Heian period court costume and are displayed on each platform. People believe that the dolls get rid of evil spirits of girls who own them and it is important for the family to put away the doll set immediately after the event is over. It is said that the girls (actually daughters of the family) will be delayed to get married or even not able to get married if the dolls stay displayed longer. In ancient times, people used to make paper dolls as effigies to take away their misfortune or disease. They threw the paper dolls into rivers or in the sea to pray for their good health.The festival of HINAMATSURI became an annual event after the Edo period.  Today the style is changed and people prefer to display a smaller set of dolls such as the Emperor and the Empress on one platform only to fit in modern Japanese houses. There are some traditional dishes for this event such as;- CHIRASHI Sushi (rice topped with chopped sashimi and ingredients)- Clam soup- Sweet white sake- HINA ARARE (sweet rice puffs in three colors, pink representing “peaches”, green “land” and white “snow”)- Sweet Japanese diamond-shaped rice cakes in three colors, pink, green and white Children sing songs of HINAMATSURI and make origami dolls at school and celebrate to eat the traditional dishes at home. People enjoy it as a seasonal event on the 3rd of March.Japan to the world.com sells OHINASAMA sets for girls. Please contact us if you have any questions and request.

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  • Setsubun

    The 3rd of February is called SETSUBUN, a day to celebrate the coming Spring, a day to pray for your happiness and good health.  Literally SETSUBUN means division of the seasons and a day before the beginning of each season. Therefore, Japan has four days of SETSUBUN in a year. Japan used to begin a year from the first day of Spring called RITSYUN. A day before RITSYUN, that is, SETSUBUN was a New Year’s Eve. Therefore, this 3rd of February SETSUBUN is most important and remained as SETSUBUN for now. It was said that demons which means ONI in Japanese came at SETSUBUN and brought bad luck to people. There are some traditional events for SETSUBUN to avoid the invisible evil power. MAMEMAKI (throwing roasted soy beans) is the most common at home and temples. It started in the HEIAN period around the 8th century. People throw away the beans in and out of the house and shout two times “ONI WA SO TO! FUKU WA UCHI!” which means “Demons out! Good fortune in!”. There are several theories about the origin of this event and some say that MA means evil and ME means destroy, so people throw beans (MAME) to drive away evil demons (ONI). Afterwards people pick up the beans and eat the same number of beans as your age to wish your good health for the year. Each region has their unique events for this SETSUBUN. Some regions say “Both demons and good fortune in!”, some throw peanuts instead of roasted soy beans, some eat the same number of beans as your age plus one, some hang sardine heads and holly branches at the entrance of the house to avoid demons. Recently a sushi roll called EHOUMAKI is popular to eat at a day of SETSUBUN but this custom has started in the Western part of Japan by some stores to sell their food and eventually spread around. It is a commercial even like a St. Valentine’s day. If you visit Japan around this season, you can find many kinds of EHOUMAKI at convenience stores, supermarkets, everywhere in Japan.

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  • SHODO - Japanese calligraphy -

    SHODO means Japanese calligraphy.SHODO is a kind of Japanese traditional art and also the way of writing Chinese characters (KANJI) and Japanese characters (HIRAGANA). SHODO needs special writing tools; brushes (FUDE), ink or an ink stick (SUMI), an ink well (SUZURI), special Japanese paper (HANSHI), a felt mat for the paper and a paper weight (BUNCHIN). These tools have been used for writing since the 5th century.First people need to rub an ink stick (SUMI) on an ink well (SUZURI) and concentrate on writing on the paper. They need to focus on the color tone and shading of the ink, also how they handle and move a brush (FUDE) in the creation. Great calligraphy impresses people by its beauty as well as it can express the creator’s character and emotion.Calligraphy came from China around Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Japanese calligraphy was affected by many great Chinese calligraphers such as Wáng Xīzhī (王羲之). In those days, the high skill of SHODO was essential for those in upper class including Samurai.Nowadays, most of students in Japan learn how to write calligraphy and SHODO is a typical homework during a long holiday and eventually displayed on the wall of the class at school. Some people use a brush (FUDE) to write the seasons’ greeting card and some write their name in the list by FUDE at formal occasions such as wedding parties or funerals. SHODO is not just an art but is an important skill to communicate with people in their daily lives.KAKIZOME, calligraphy for the first time in the year, is a Japanese traditional writing ceremony held on the 2nd of January. People usually write down their New Year’s resolutions.There is a traditional fire event called DONDOYAKI or SAGICHOU on the 15th of January at shrines and temples. It means the end of the new year and is believed the new year spirits go home with the smoke and the fire. People burn the New year’s decorations together with the paper they wrote at KAKIZOME, hoping to improve the writing skills and to make their wishes.SHODO has taken a part in a traditional part of Japanese culture for many years.

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  • HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020

    Season’s greetings and best wishes in 2020 Japanese New Year is the 1st of January. It is called “GANTAN”. This special period from the 1st to 3rd is  called “OSHOUGATSU”. It is the most important time of the year for Japanese. It is time for family reunion like Christmas or Thanksgiving.There are some special decorations for Oshougatsu period. “SHIMENAWA” is  twisted straw ropes and “KADOMATSU”bamboo poles placed in front of the entrance of the house for protection from evils.There are also essential meals to eat on New Year’s Day called “OSECHI” which includes many kinds of traditional foods packed in special boxes, also “ZOUNI” a traditional soup with “MOCHI (rice cake)”. Each area has their own unique recipe of Zouni. They use different local soup stock and even different shape of Mochi. Some area has chicken, some only vegetable but it must include Mochi as it represents good luck through the year.Many people visit shrines to make wishes for the new year during the first three or seven days of January. This event is called “HATSUMOUDE” which means the first visit of shrine.Some might spend all night having parties with friends and being together with families, some might try to climb up the mountains to see the first sunrise of the year. Children get money in a special envelop. It is called “OTOSHIDAMA”. People send each other special cards printed a zodiac symbol (Mouse in 2020) called “NENGAJO” like Christmas cards.Besides, watching TV and eating SOBA (noodles) is a kind of typical,  signature event on New Year’s Eve. Bells in temples are rung 108 times around midnight of New Year’s Eve and after the 108 bells the new year comes.There are many events and customs to spend New Year’s Eve and celebrate the new year’s period. Japan to the world.com wishes you all for a wonderful holiday season and for happiness in 2020 !

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