Tag Archives: Japanese Emperor

Emperor’s 80th birthday

20 Dec

This is another three-day-weekend in Japan.
Monday, December 23rd is 「天皇誕生日」 (“The Emperor (of Japan)’s birthday”).

The Emperor will turn 80 years old on Monday!

When I participated in the 「深川八幡宮水かけ祭り」 (Fukugawa-Hachiman-gu Water-throwing Festival) in August 2012, I passed in front of the Emperor and Empress who had come to watch the festival.

In Japan, Christmas isn’t a legal holiday. It’s a regular working day.
But the Emperor’s birthday is a holiday…almost everyone has the day off.

The Emperor of Japan greets the public at the palace grounds twice a year. On his birthday and on January 2nd.
These are the only two days a year that the public are permitted into the inner palace grounds.

Water-throwing Festival

20 Aug

I am a member of group that carries a two-ton 神輿 (portable shrine) every three years in the 深川八幡祭り (Fukagawa-Hachiman Festival).

This festival occurs in Tokyo on the third weekend of August. The festival is held every year…but the big, main festival is only every three years.

It was last held in August 2008 and was due again in August 2011 (last year)…but after the 2011 March 11th earthquake in the Tohoku area of Japan, the 2011 festival was postponed a year.

So, it was held eight days ago (on 2012 August 12th) and will be next held in 2015.

In 2008, I wrote a post about the festival with many photos and videos that my wife took. (Click here to read it.)

Anyways, this festival is nicknamed the 「水掛け祭り」 (“Water-tossing Festival”) because all along the 6km (3.8 mile) course, people vigorously throw water on the people carrying the portable shrines.


Also, the Tokyo Volunteer Fire Department sprayed us with fire hoses!

When we “carry” the 神輿(portable shrines), we don’t simply “carry” them…the teams often turns them around and around…and also toss them up and catch them!

From start to finish, it’s a ten-hour day! I was very sore and tired the next day…but it was fun.

One big thing that made this year’s different from previous years was that a team from the earthquake-stricken area of Tohoku joined the festival…and the Emperor and Empress of Japan came to watch!

The 神輿 (portable shrine) from the earthquake stricken area of Tohoku, Japan.

The Emperor and Empress of Japan (天皇皇后両陛下) at the festival! 

The Emperor and Empress of Japan (天皇皇后両陛下).

Were you one of the estimated 50,000 spectators at this festival? Were you, like me, one of the 3,000 participants?


Does your country have a festival anything like this?

“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.

The Emperor honored a great actor

7 Nov

Last Thursday (November 3rd) was 「文化の日」 (“Culture Day”), a Japanese holiday on which the Japanese Emperor personally presents medals and awards to people who have contributed to Japan culturally in some way.

At this year’s ceremony, the Emperor presented awards to novelists, historians, scientists and actor 大滝秀治 (Hideji Otaki).

Japanese actor Hideji Otaki

Mr. Otaki has acted for over sixty years and has starred in numerous Japanese movies. But, for me, his greatest role will be as the grouchy father in the Kincho bug spray TV commercials a few years ago.

There’s one commercial in particular that I like. In this one, he asks his “son” what’s so special about Kincho bug spray and as his son begins to explain, he yells 「つまらん!お前の話はつまらん!」 (“Boring! What you say is boring!”).
I have always liked that commercial.
Here it is:

(On the subject of Culture Day awards, my wife’s late grandfather received a medal from the Emperor on 「文化の日」 (Culture Day) a number of years ago for his fifty years of service as a volunteer in the Tokyo Fire Department.)

Does your country have any ceremonies similar to Japan’s Culture Day awards that honors citizens’ contributions to the country?
And are there actors in your country like Hideji Otaki?

Emperor’s birthday

24 Dec

Today is Christmas Eve.

In many ways X-mas and New Years are exact opposites of each other in Japan and Western countries.

In Western countries, Xmas is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering Xmas cards, many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts to children.
And then New Years is celebrated on New Years Eve and quietly ends the next day.

In Japan, it’s the other way around.
Here, Christmas is often celebrated in Xmas Eve by couples going on a date and families having a dinner of chicken and Xmas cake for dessert (just as many people have this dinner on Xmas Day as do on Xmas Eve). But Xmas ends quietly and people get ready for New Years…Japan’s biggest holiday.
Just like Xmas in the West, in Japan New Years is the biggest holiday of the year with the post office busy delivering 年賀状 (New Years postcards), many stores are closed and families gather to enjoy a big dinner together and give gifts (お年玉) to children.

Click here to read the post I wrote about Japanese Xmas last year.

Also, yesterday was 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday).
Christmas isn’t a legal holiday in Japan…it’s a regular work / school day, but the Emperor’s birthday is a legal holiday.
It’s also one of the only two times a year that the public is allowed inside the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace (the other time is just after the New Year).
People who go into the Palace grounds can see the Japanese Royal Family and hear the Emperor give his annual birthday speech.

Last year, I wrote a post about the Emperor’s birthday too. Click here to read it.

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Completely unrelated, but I heard about a website called 「美人時計」 (“Beautiful Girl Clock“).

It show a new photograph every minute of a pretty girl in the Tokyo holding a board with the current time (of course in Japanese Standard Time (JST)).

This site is extremely popular. So they decided to make another version…now there’s a 「ギャル時計」 (“Gal Clock“) too.
Gal” is a type of 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo) girl fashion.

Click here for the 「美人時計」 (“Beautiful Girl Clock“).
And Click here for the 「ギャル時計」 (“Gal Clock“)

Commemorative coins

12 Aug

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Click here to read it), this year (2009) is the twentieth anniversary of the date that the current Japanese emperor took the throne.
The Emperor and Empress’ 50th wedding anniversary was also this year.

So to mark the occasion, two commemorative coins will go on sale from the Bank Of Japan this November.

These coins are a special gold ¥10,000 coin and a special silver ¥500 coin.

The price to purchase the coins will be ¥80,000 (about US$800) for the ¥10,000 coin or ¥82,000 (about US$820) for both coins.

I have a few mint commemorative Japanese coins for various occasions…but ¥80,000 is too steep a price for a coin in my opinion. If they sell the ¥500 coin alone, maybe I’ll buy one…but not the ¥10,000 coin.

Top: front and back of gold commemorative &10,000 coin.  Bottom: front and back of silver commemorative ¥500 coin.

Top: front and back of gold commemorative ¥10,000 coin.Bottom: front and back of silver commemorative ¥500 coin.

建国記念日

11 Feb

Today is a Japanese national holiday…so we all have the day off.

It’s called 建国記念日 (National Foundation Day).

I have a short FAQ about this holiday on my main website. (Click here to see it.)

This holiday used to be called 起源説 (Empire Day) and celebrated the “divinity” of the Emperor of Japan.

After Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II, the American Occupying Forces abolished 起源説 (Empire Day) and declared the Emperor of Japan was a mortal.

At that point the holiday was renamed 建国記念日 (National Foundation Day) and is a day to commemorate the founding of Japan as a country with the ascension of the first Emperor on February 11, 660 B.C.

If you’re in Japan on a national holiday, you will notice 日の丸 (Japanese flags) on the front of city buses and on the front of 交番 (Koban Police Boxes). This is a custom in Japan on holidays…but especially on 建国記念日 (National Foundation Day).

明けましておめでとうございます

1 Jan

kadomatsu-1

明けましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)!

It’s now the year 平成二十一年 (Heisei 21 (2009))…丑年 (Year Of The Cow / Ox).

(Click here to read my FAQ about お正月 (Japanese New Years)).

Today, as we usually do at お正月 (New Years), we went to my inlaws’ for dinner. And, as usual, my wife’s grandmother (who’s 94 years old now!), her aunt and uncle, and her brothers and sister (and their spouses and kids) all came too. A total of twenty people! So there was lots of family and lots of great food.

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刺身 (Sashimi), 海老フライ (fried shrimp), 御節料理 (traditional Japanese New Years foods), 日本酒 (Japanese sake rice wine), beer, and wine.

I ate alot of great food…and drank alot of alcohol. ;)

Besides getting together with family and eating a traditional New Years meal…at お正月 (New Years), many Japanese people go to a shrine for New Years blessings (and traditional New Years lucky ornaments (such as Daruma), go to the Imperial Palace to hear the Emperor’s New Year message (the public is allowed inside the Palace grounds only twice a year: お正月 (New Years) and 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor’s birthday)), or go shopping (many stores have New Years sales…and 福袋 (Lucky Bag)).

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(Click here to read my other recent post about お正月 (Japanese New Years), in that post I explain some of the Japanese New Year particulars…including 福袋 (Lucky Bag)).

天皇誕生日

23 Dec

Today is the 天皇誕生日 (The Emperor of Japan’s birthday).

He’s 75 years old today.

Today is one of the two times of the year that the Japanese Emperor greets the public at the Imperial Palace (the other day is New Years).
(Click here to read my short FAQ about 天皇誕生日 (The Emperor of Japan’s birthday)).

It has been announced that the Emperor is currently suffering stress-related illness.

Here’s a picture of the Emperor Of Japan greeting the public at the Imperial Palace today:

emperor

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Yesterday, I went to a 忘年会 (End Of The Year Party).
(The literal translation of 忘年会 would be Forget The Year Meeting…but I think End Of The Year Party is a more accurate translation).

It was at a nice restaurant. We had 刺身 (sashimi), シャブシャブ (Shabu-shabu), and 飲み放題 (All-you-can-drink alcohol)!

In Japan, many people do 忘年会 (End Of The Year Party) in December and/or 新年会 (New Year’s Party) in January.

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