Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's in Japan


Akemashite Omedeto

This is the greeting for New Year's in Japan. However, when to say is a little bit different from the way you say Happy New Year. While you say Happy New Year from the end of December to the beginning of January. We never say this in December because "Akemashite" means "New Year has come." Actually, some tourists from Japan said this on New Year's Live last night and Erica asked Anderson if he could tell what language was it. He couldn't answer that.

In this post, I'll tell you a little bit about Japanese NewYear's.

New Year's Cards

We are supposed to mail New Year's Cards by December 25... or 26? .. around these days. Post office collects them all and store them in the office. On the morning of New Year's Day, they deliver them to each house. These days, so many people are turning to PC to make a card, but I had refused to do that for a lont time. I like handwritten cards because it reflects my character and receiver will feel my heartwarming feeling. I used to engrave wood plate and print them on cards, but I didn't do this year as I didn't have enough time. I finally turned to PC.

I made two patterns. Those pictures are familiar ones for daily visitors to this blog. To me, those were opportunities that might never happen again in my life! You see a big picture of "rat." I don't know how familiar Chinese zodiac years is in other countries, but in Japan, most people add a picture of the animal of the year on the cards.

Visiting a shrine
We visit a Shinto shrine for New Year's. We make a wish before the "God" of the shrine. Each shrine has its own "god." I'll tell you what to do at a shrine.
  1. Wash your hands at the entrance of the shrine. You must purify yourselves before you see God.
  2. Go to the God's house and ring the bell to call him/her. Bow twice in front, clap your hands twice, make a wish and bow once again before you leave.
  3. They sell paper fortunes, on which oracles are written along with the word which show how lucky you will be throughout the year. There are 7 rank and I got the luckiest! I haven't got that one for more than decade so it really made my day.
This is a picture of me and my brother.


Nadine, Pittsburgh, PA said...

Hi Mio,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks for sharing your card and the shrine visit tradition. It is fascinating.

I wish you all the best for the New Year.

copperfish said...

If you didn't specify that that is your brother I would think that he's your special someone, lol!

Délie said...

Thanks for all the explanation and the pics! Your cards are beautiful! It's nice to see your (cute) brother!
I'm impressed with your post office! They store the cards and deliver them the New Year's Day! Wow! If only we could have the same service in France... It's holiday in France, and by the way, the post office here are pretty "low"! We send New Year's cards in January. Not before (or only for business). We try to do that in the two first weeks but we have all the month to do that. I know people who even like to wait for the last day of the month to send their cards! Of course, now, we send lots of e-cards! But I still send paper cards.

andyargentina said...

Hi Mio, I love to read your comments about Japanese tradition because I can know many things of your culture. Thanks a lot for sharing your personal cards and photos .


Anonymous said...

Your brother is so skinny....
He should really eat well. lol:p

Molly C. said...

Hi Mio-san,

Akemashite Omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mou yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

I wrote you last year asking when AC360 was on in Japan because I was planning a trip which didn't work out. Since airfares have really jumped, I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it to Japan again, but I would like to wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy New Year!

mio_bella said...

I'm glad you enjoy hearing about New Year's in Japan. I like introducing Japanese cultures. I introduced just a little bit. I'll tell you more later. Or next year!

My brother and I are good friends, and we often hang around together. No wonder people see us as a nice couple!

I'm proud of our post office. They do have a nice service. Punctualiry is considered to be virtue here, and I think this is a perfect example.
e-cards are really convenient, but I like making original cards, which tell my tastes.

I'm glad you liked my explanation. How do you celebrate New Year's in your country?

Anonymous person,
Actually, he is trying to lose weight and eat less. Maybe it is me that must do that! My face looks way too round!

Molly C,
You know a little bit of Japanese! Yeah, I remember you having asked me that. You wanted to go to Nagoya, didn't you? Airfares are skyrocketing these days and we cannot expect them to get lower. We can do nothing but comply... When you have chance to come here, please let me know!