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New Year

Osechi: Traditional Japanese New Year’s Food – Meaning

In my previous post about osechi, I mentioned that each dish has its own meaning and significance. You can think of juubako of osechi as a box full of one’s desires or wishes for himself or for his families for the New Year.…

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Osechi: Traditional Japanese New Year’s Food

“Shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu”, Happy New Year to everyone! How did you spend your year end vacation? I guess, everyone is still in their vacation mode. Did you eat osechi during “sanganichi” (三が日)? How was it? Did you know that each dish has its own meaning and significance?…

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Fukubukuro – Japanese Lucky Bags

Fukubukuro (福袋 literally means “lucky bag”, “mystery bag”) is a Japanese New Year custom in which merchants make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them for a substantial discount, usually 50% or more off the list price of the items contained within.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan: Hatsumoude

Happy New Year! Everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year will turn out.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan : Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)

- Beethoven - Illustration from Illust-ya The Symphony No. 9, a.k.a. “Choral”, is probably one of the most famous and beloved classical music in Japan. I played the (probably shortened) 4th movement on accordion as a member of a band when I was an elementary school student.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan : Mikan

Mikan is one of the typical fruits in Japanese winter. When my siblings and I were ever-hungry children, my mother always bought a box with 15 kg (approx. 530 oz, 33 lb) of mikan in winter. We could easily eat up 15 mikan each at one sitting.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan: Nengajou

For some other parts of the world, Christmas is the time for sending holiday greetings through postcards and mail. It is not much like that in Japan though. The Japanese receive holiday greeting cards in New Year’s Day (January 1), thus called Nengajou or the New Year’s Card.…

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New Year Holidays in Japan : Kotatsu

- Kotatsu - Photo from flickr In Japan, except northern cold areas like Hokkaido, houses are usually built to suit Japanese hot humid summer. This means many Japanese houses are drafty, and in other words, it can be freezing even indoor in winter.…

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