Tag Archives: Childrens Day

Universal Childrens Day

20 Nov

There is a Japanese holiday on May 5th called 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”), but today (November 20th) is “Universal Children’s Day“.

Google's logo for "Universal Children's Day"

Google’s logo for “Universal Children’s Day”

The Japanese 「こどもの日」 (“Children’s Day”) holiday is a day for parents and grandparents to celebrate their children and hope for their future health and well-being.
Universal Children’s Day is different. As Wikipedia explains:

“…Universal Children’s Day is not simply a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination…”

Japan does have an event for children around this time every November. For girls aged three and seven, and for boys aged five, Japanese celebrate 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”) (Click here to read my short explanation of it.)

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 ("Shichi-Go-San").

Every November, you can see young kids in Japan dressed in kimono for 「七五三」 (“Shichi-Go-San”).

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子どもの日

6 May

Yesterday was 「子供の日」 (“Children’s Day“) in Japan. The final day of “Golden Week“.
Today most everyone in Japan went back to work or school.

Yesterday, we went to the 「藤まつり」 (“Wisteria flower Festival”) at 「亀戸天神社」 (“Kameido Ten-Jinja Shrine”).

Sign says 「亀戸天神 藤まつり」 ("Kameido Tenjin" Shrine "Wisteria Festival")

藤 (Wisteria flowers)

The "Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen from this shrine.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" (under construction)

Festivals in Japan have booth selling foods, drinks, etc

It was "Golden Week", so it was quite crowded.

(Click here to see a post I wrote that has a picture of a 浮世絵 (traditional Japanese woodblock print) of this shrine, and how it hasn’t changed much since).

From there, we went to 「亀戸香取神社」 (“Kameido Katori Jinja Shrine“) which honors, among other things, 「亀戸大根」 (the “Kameido Daikon” giant Japanese radish).
This radish grew in the Kameido area of Tokyo even during times of drought. So this shrine lets people “thank” the Kameido Daikon for helping to keep the people of Japan from going hungry during hard times.

This sign says "Kameido Daikon". And "Kameido" is written with the characters resembling a turtle (for the town's name means "turtle door") and a Daikon radish.

There were 八重桜 ("Leafy Sakura") in bloom.

「亀戸大根」 ("Kameido Daikon")

Wash 恵比寿様 (Ebisu-sama) and they'll ensure your good health and fortune.

Spring customs

13 Mar

I don’t remember most of the lesser known American holidays, so correct me if I’m wrong.
But, as I remember, in America there are some spring customs but no legal holidays.

First, February 2 is “Groundhog Day” in America.
A groundhog is a type of マーモット…

A groundhog.

Not to be confused with 「モルモット」, which means “guinea pig” in Japanese.

A guinea pig.

In America, on Groundhog Day people watch a groundhog to see if he leaves his burrow or not.
If he does, that’s supposed to mean that spring will start soon…if he returns to his burrow after sticking his head out, that means the cold winter weather will continue longer.

At least that’s how I remember it. It’s an odd custom.

April 1st is called “April Fool’s Day“.

On this day in America, people play practical jokes on each other…if someone falls for one of these practical jokes, then he’s labeled a “fool” for the day–the “April Fool“.

Also Easter, I believe, is on the first Sunday of April.
This is a religious Christian holiday.
Many people in America, Canada (and maybe some European countries too) paint Easter eggs and “the Easter Bunny” gives baskets of chocolate to children.

School students get a week or so “Spring Break” holiday from school…but it’s not the end of the school year yet (as it is in Japan). Summer Break is the end of the U.S. school year.

In Japan spring is different.
Here, the school year ends in March and begins after spring in April.
Students in Japan who will be starting high school or college must take Entrance Exams. (My second daughter passed her Entrance Exam and will be starting high school next month).

At almost the same time as Groundhog Day in the U.S., Japan has Setsubun on February 2nd every year.

In March, Japan has Doll Festival on March 3rd, and White Day on March 14th (tomorrow). But those aren’t legal holidays (I mean, they’re not days off).
But around March 20th is 「春分の日」 (Spring Equinox) is a legal holiday. This year, Spring Equinox is Sunday, March 21st…so it’ll will be observed the next day—Monday, March 22nd will be a day off.
Many people visit their family grave on this day.

A big holiday season in Japan occurs in spring. It’s called “Golden Week“.
Golden Week is technically May 3rd – May 5th (「憲法記念日」 (Constitution Day), 「緑の日」 (Greenery Day), and 「子供の日」 (Children’s Day) respectively)…but often 「昭和の日」 (Showa Day), which is on April 29th, is included.
So, some people get Golden Week holiday from April 29th – May 5th.

And, of course, a very important springtime custom in Japan is 「花見」 (Cherry-Blossom Viewing).

欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の仮装大賞

5 May

今日は子供の日 (Today is Children’s Day).
Families with sons with often decorate their homes with 鯉のぼり (Carp streamers) and Samurai dolls and eat a special meal on this holiday.

Today on 日テレ (Nihon TV) is a semi-annual TV show that I enjoy watching alot.

nihontv

The show is 「欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞」 (Kinchan & Shingo Katori’s All-Japan Costume Talent Contest).

(click image to go to the show's website)

(click image to go to the show's website)

The last time this showed aired was on 8 January 2009. I wrote a post about it in January, and included a couple YouTube videos of skits from the show. Click here to see that post.

Tonight 「欽ちゃん&香取慎吾の全日本仮装大賞」 (Kinchan & Shingo Katori’s All-Japan Costume Talent Contest) will be on 日テレ (Nihon TV) from 19:58 – 21:54 (7:58 – 9:54 PM)*.

(* In Japan, television shows are often scheduled to begin and end a couple minutes before the hour (such as 7:58PM). That often seems odd to foreign visitors to Japan).

On this show, a panel of five judges watch people’s skits done with homemade costumes and props and the judges can award the contestants up to four points each (for a total of twenty possible points).
If the contestant earns at least twelve points, they have a chance to win one of the cash prizes.

Here’s another video of a skit from the show (besides the ones I already have on my earlier post here). It’s titled 「スーパーマリオ」 (“Super Mario“). At the end you can see they get the full twenty points…and they’re very excited!

If you’re in Japan, you should watch this TV show tonight. It’s great!

Golden Week

6 May

Right now, it’s “Golden Week” in Japan.

黄金週間 (usually referred to by the English name “Golden Week” or simply “G.W.”) is May 3 (健保記念日 (“Constitution Day”)), May 4 (緑の日 (“Greenery Day”)), and May 5 (こどもの日 (“Children’s Day”))…but just before these holidays is 昭和の日 (“Showa Day”) on April 29, so some companies give their employees the week of April 29 until May 5 off for Golden Week.

By the way, until 2006, Greenery Day was on April 29 and May 4th was called 国民の記念日 (Residents’ Day).

(If you want to read a bit more about Japan’s holidays, click here to see my summary of Japanese holidays on my FAQ page.)

This year May 4 is on a Sunday so Greenery Day is observed on Tuesday, May 6. So this year’s Golden Week is from Saturday, May 3 til Tuesday, May 6…a four day weekend.

So today’s the last day of Golden Week…tomorrow we go back to work (or school, in the kids’ case), so we’re just relaxing at home today.

Yesterday, though, we went to 原宿 (Harajuku). We knew it’d be especially crowded during the holidays…but Harajuku is where all the teenagers hang out and shop, and many stores were having sales for Golden Week so my kids wanted to go there.

Here’s a couple pictures of the famous 竹下通り (Takeshita Street)…it’s always crowded there, but it was unreal yesterday:

From there, we walked to 表参道通り (Omotesando-doori), which is like the Rodeo Drive of Japan with all the luxury brand stores. We went to the giant “Kiddy Land” toy store.

Then we got dinner and went home.