Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Christmas Day is really Valentine’s Day in Japan

From where I come from (Singapore), Christmas Day is a time to drink and party way too much, with the occasional obligatory gift to colleagues and family. Unless you’re Christian or Catholic, Christmas is just another public holiday.

In Japan, it’s similar in that respect — religion has no presence on December 25. In fact, you don’t even get a day off and I think it seriously affects expats who are used to celebrating it seriously. They feel kind of sad and lost in this strange land that doesn’t see it as a day for bonding with family.

And the weirdest part about Christmas in Japan is it’s really Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day exists, too, but it’s not really for lovers. In Japan, it’s associated more with corporate culture where the women are expected to give chocolates to the men. It’s always the opposite here. Then, there’s White Day, which is March 14, when the men have to return the favor, so the chocolates go back to the ladies in the kaisha (office).

When I taught English to Japanese adults a year ago, all my students complained of this tiresome ritual and chocolate jumps twice in price the day before. Most penny-pinching folks will buy boxes two weeks before the actual day to save money and it’s not too early so that the chocolate goes bad.

But Christmas Day is a time for unicorns, violin playing, diamonds, and marshmallows to come out in great big grand gestures. Even then, only the young and starry-eyed think it’s an important occasion.

Photo: mrhayata

Matsuri Games


In my first article as a guest blogger in Tokyo I want to write about one of the most enjoyable things here in Japan: O-matsuri! When I arrived end of May I was told I am just in time for matsuri season – yay, many festivals that offer a fun glimpse on Japanese culture!
Matsuri offer the opportunity to relax, to celebrate, to have a lot of fun – even when you are just watching and eating (like I did) and not actively taking part in carrying a mikoshi. At the shrine-festivals you won’t see any earnest salary men in black suits, no: here people are enjoying themselves and many are dressed in yukata and special matsuri gear. That can look very pretty and sometimes.. uuhm.. quite exciting ;)
What amazes me the most is the array of games for children never seen before somewhere else in that form. Those distinctly Japanese (correct me if I am wrong) kid’s entertainments include many water games, which are thought to be refreshing during hot summerdays. For example fishing rubberballs or other toys out of a swiftly moving water stream, which is enjoyed mostly by the little ones.
Although the animal rights activist in me had to keep both eyes shut, it is great fun for schoolkids to try to catch real goldfish (and I read sometimes even tiny turtles – aaw) with round paper-covered frames. This demands a lot of skill because the paper soaks and rips easily, especially when the victim flounders and struggles not to get caught and the little fisherman keeps his scoop underwater for too long. But some way or the other the kids seem to become experts pretty fast and you can see many of them walking around proudly with their prey in small plastic bags.

After Golden Week !!

After the long holidays, I got little tired. I mean I bet many Japanese are in the same way.
I decided not to travel during this busiest time of Spring, instead I spent many days with my friends.
It was really great Golden Week to get together to just chill.

On the other hand, my brother was busy traveling to Kyoto with his GF.
Coming back from work yesterday, he had souvenirs from cucumber to ramen.
Not to mention he also bought kyougashi(sweets from Kyoto) from his trip.
So, even though Japanese people enjoy the Golden Week, they always have to think
about their job at the corner of their mind…

Unfortunate to such a terrible accident happened on a roller coaster in Osaka,
I hope many people had a great vacation.

Summer Holiday

How many days do you have for summer holiday?
My company gives employees only 3 days :(
So we usually use paid holidays together, plus weekend, then make summer holiday longer.
I have no plan for my summer holiday though, I will get 9 days.

How about you ?

Yesterday’s best shot


Originally uploaded by lhuga.

I met this pretty green eyed cat whilst I was cycling yesterday afternoon.
It stayed there calm…no meeooow!

大桟橋から戻る途中に この子と遭遇。きれいな毛並みのおとなしい猫。

Elsewhere on Metblogs: Eid


Muslim families around the world are now in the midst of celebrating Eid ul-Adha. Head over to the following for Eid mubarak holiday greetings from writers at other Metblogs city sites:

Coming of Age Day (成人の日)

Every year, the second Monday of January is a Japanese national holiday, Coming of Age Day (成人の日). People turning 20 dress up in formal wear. I took this photo of two celebrants in kimono at Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro.

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