Category Archive: Interesting Tidbits

Feb 03

Happy Setsubun!

   While Setsubun (“seasonal division”) is not a national holiday, it is an important festival held in early February, one day before the start of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar. For many centuries, the people of Japan have been performing rituals with the purpose of chasing away evil spirits at the start of …

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Jan 14

Coming of Age, Japan-style

Another public holiday in Japan?  Of course!  Today we’re celebrating “Seiji-no-hi” (Coming of Age Day).   Although young adults reach legal age on their 20th birthday and from there on are entitled to vote, allowed to smoke tobacco, purchase alcohol, and have all of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood, local governments hold special ceremonies on …

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Jan 06

Japanese New Year

    O-Shogatsu (New Year’s Day) is the most festive occasion of the entire year for Japanese citizens . While we are scrambling for deals over the post-Christmas season, Japan is “closed for business”.  The Emperor’s birthday is celebrated on December 23 followed by traditional ceremonies and customs that last for several days.  Most Japanese people …

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Dec 06

Kids Shop…Kids Rock!

I had the privilege of taking part in a special Christmas shopping fair called KIDS SHOP on December 1st in Bellingham, WA.  Kids, armed with $1 bills, set off in search of just the right present for family/friends/teachers.  There were 33 vendors with amazing crafts.  One little girl, a very discerning shopper, kept touching some …

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Nov 23

Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan

Thanksgiving is celebrated worldwide in so many different and unique ways.  In Japan, November 23 is Labor Thanksgiving Day, a second national holiday in November!  It became a holiday in 1948 as a day for citizens to express gratitude to one another for work done throughout the year and for the fruits of those labors. …

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Nov 15

Shichi-go-san celebrated today in Japan

Shichi-go-san is a festival celebrated by parents on the 15th of November in Japan, to mark the growth of their children as they turn seven, five, and three years of age. Shichi-go-san literally means seven, five, and three. These ages are considered critical in a child’s life. Particularly, at the age of seven, a young …

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Nov 11

Behind the scenes with iBook vocabulary2: Greetings

Fly Catcher Boy introduces the reader to the “Top 4” greetings commonly used in Japan. First, ohayo (Ohio).  Ohayo is a casual, informal version of the more polite “ohayo-goziamas” which you should use when entering the school staff room or the local grocery store (after the staff shout “irrashai-mase” or welcome, in unison).  A humble head …

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Sep 23

Autumn Equinox Celebration in Japan

Right on the heels of Respect-for-the-Aged Day comes Autumn Equinox Day, another national holiday celebrated on September 22 or 23rd in Japan. It’s a day not just to mark the changing of seasons but also to pay respects to deceased parents, grandparents, and other family members.

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Sep 21

Celebrating National Holidays in Japan

I arrived in Japan in the fall of 1994 and with the help of good friends I settled into my new life and began working as an English teacher.  It soon became apparent that Japan likes to celebrate….most anything, really!  Each month of the year a national holiday is celebrated…..many fall on a Monday, whether they like it …

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Sep 05

Full moon viewing (tsukimi) in September in Japan

Tsukimi (moon viewing) is a Japanese custom to appreciate and honour the full moon in the middle of September.  The moon is called “chuushu no meigetsu.” The custom was introduced from China, and spread in the Heian period (794-1192). The full moon in the clear autumn sky looks especially beautiful, and  hidden slightly by thin cloud is …

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