Tag Archives: 冬至

Winter solstice

22 Dec

今日は「冬至 (touji)」 (Today is “winter solstice”).

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Click here and read the post I wrote five years ago about the Japanese traditions on this day (there are also some videos I took in a traditional area of Tokyo).

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“Christmas Cosplay” Contest

25 Dec

Last Thursday was 「冬至」 (Winter Solstice). I’ve written about it before.
This is a day in Japan that pumpkins and Yuzu fruit are important for one’s health.

Click here to read the post I wrote that explains more.

And last Friday was 「天皇誕生日」 (the Japanese Emperor’s 78th birthday).

Members of the Japanese Royal Family, including the Emperor and Empress, in front of the crowd that came to the Imperial Palace to listen to the Emperor's birthday speech.

And today is 「クリスマス」 (Christmas).
Yahoo! Japan is currently running the 「第4回クリスマスコスプレ・コンテスト」 (4th annual Christmas Cosplay Contest) for pets.

It’s a photo contest of pets dressed up for Christmas that Yahoo! Japan is running on their website.

People can upload a photo of their pet in a Christmas setting and visitors to the site can vote for their favorite photo.

Here are some of the photos:

I like this one a lot...but it's currently only at 390th place!

#42

#79

#94

#19

#148

Fifth place

And the top three…

Third place

Second place

First place

Last year, I wrote about another pet photo contest that Yahoo! Japan ran. Click here to see that post.

And I also wrote a post about a popular Japanese parenting magazine’s funny “Crying Baby Video Contest“. Click here to visit that post.

2010 in review

23 Dec

Yesterday was 冬至 (Winter Solstice). In Japan, many people eat pumpkin and take a bath with Yuzu fruit to prevent catching a cold.

Click here to read a post I wrote with more detail about this Japanese tradition.

Today is a holiday in Japan. It’s 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday). He’s 77 years old now.
This is one of the two days of the year that the public are invited into the Emperor’s Palace grounds to see him and listen to his speech.

Click here to read my FAQ about it.

Anyways, every year the Mitsukoshi Department Store in 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) has an exhibit of press photos of the biggest news stories of the year.

We often go to see it. And we went to this year’s exhibit today.

It was quite good, as usual. There were nearly 300 photos that showed many big events of this year…from the World Cup and the Olympics to the miners rescue in Chile.

2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada

Of course, there was photos of the closing of the Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.
Click here to read my post about this famous theater’s closing (with photo that I took).

The closing of the famous Kabuki Theater in Ginza, Tokyo.

If you’re in Tokyo you should check out this exhibit. It’s free of charge and runs until Sunday (2010 December 26).

All photos in this post are from the Mitsukoshi 2010 Press Photo Exhibit website.

X-mas Illumination

22 Dec

Today is 冬至 (Winter Solace).
Click here to read my post about it last year and see how fruit plays an important part of this day in Japan.

In Japan, at Christmastime, many places put up beautiful X-mas light decorations…or 「イルミネーション」 (illumination), as it’s called in Japan.

Couples in Japan like to look at the Xmas illuminations on dates at this time of year.

Last night we went to Tokyo Tower to see the it lit up special for Xmas. On TV they said that every evening until x-mas, Tokyo Tower will be lit up with a heart in the center of the tower from 7:30 – 8:00 PM…so we went to see it.

After that, we went to Tokyo Midtown in 六本木 (Roppongi) to see their elaborate display.

冬至

22 Dec

Yesterday was 冬至 (Winter Solstice). This is the day (in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere) that daytime is the shortest and nighttime is the longest in the year.

夏至 (Summer Solstice), when daytime is the longest, is around June 21; and the two days that daytime and nighttime are an equal twelve hours each are 春分の日 (Spring Equinox), on about March 21, and 秋分の日 (Autumn Equinox), on about September 21.

There’s a Japanese tradition to eat かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and take a ユズ湯 (a bath with yuzu* floating in the water).
*(yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit).

It is an old Japanese belief that eating かぼちゃ (pumpkin) and taking a ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) on the 冬至 (Winter Solstice) will help prevent colds.

We ate かぼちゃ (pumpkin) with our dinner and took ユズ湯 (yuzu bath) yesterday. I have a bit of a cold…I can use the help. 😉

+++
Yesterday afternoon, we went to 柴又 (Shibamata, Tokyo).
We’ve been there a number of times before…and once before I wrote a blog post about it.
(Click here to read that post.)

It’s a nice 下町 (traditional area).

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Here’s a store that was selling ダルマ (Daruma*):
(*Daruma are bought at New Years with no eyes. You make a New Years wish and color in one eye. When (if) the wish comes true, you paint in the other eye. Then at the end of the year, whether the came true or not, you bring the Daruma to a temple to be burnt down. The you buy a new one for the following year).

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The old-fashioned Japanese candy shop there had this sign out front that said 「本場アメリカのピンボール・ゲームありマス。」 (“We have pin-ball machines from America.”)

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Some of the candy (including powdered fake-beer drinks!)

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The famous and ever-popular 寅さん (Tora-san):

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A sign warning children not to play too close to the river’s edge:

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This is a boat service that has been taking people across the river for many, many years (there are bridges now, so people ride this ferry only for fun now).
(I wrote about this boat before…click here to read that post):

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This cat was very friendly:

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I took a couple vidos today, too.

This one’s of a おせんべ (Japanese rice cracker) shop:

And this one is of a shop that makes hand-made candies: