Christmas Time in Japan

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Being that most Japanese are Buddhist and Shinto, Christmas takes on a very different meaning in Japan. The streets are still decorated with Christmas lights and images of Santa Claus. Christmas music still plays incessantly everywhere you go. And, the shops and department stores still have great sales. But unlike in America and other Western countries, Christmas has little of the religious meaning we associate with the holiday and doesn’t center around the family. Instead, it’s just (a ...

Osechi – New Year’s Food in Japan

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Special dishes known as osechi-ryouri (御節料理 or お節料理) are served on New Year’s in Japan. Large stackable boxes known as juubako (重箱) hold the food, and the dishes can stay good for several days since osechi are traditionally eaten through January 3rd. Cooking was finished by New Year’s Eve since long ago it was forbidden to cook during the first three days of the new year. These days, many people purchase osechi in stores since the cooking process is long and difficult, and waiting ...

Japanese Holidays: Taiiku no hi

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This year, Taiiku no hi (体育の日) falls on Monday, October 12th. Known in English as “Health and Sports Day,” this day commemorates the anniversary of the opening of the Olympic games in Tokyo in 1964. The summer games were held late that year in an effort to avoid Japan’s rainy season, and began on October 10th. The national holiday was moved to the 2nd Monday in October in 2000 so as to give students and workers a long weekend. Many schools celebrate with an undoukai (運動会), or ...