Tag Archives: monk

“New” Kanji of the Year

25 Dec

Every December a kanji character is chosen in Japan that represents the year that coming to an end, and the character is written in traditional 習字 (calligraphy) by the head monk at a temple in Kyoto and presented in a ceremony to the public.

Last year (2008), the character 「変」 (“change“) was chosen. Click here to read my post from last year to see why that character was chosen.

It was decided that since the U.S. elected a historic new President, Japan elected a Prime Minister from a new party, and also because of the global epidemic of “Swine Flu” which is called 「新型インフルエンザ」 (“New Flu”) in Japan…that the kanji character for 2009 is 「新」, which means “new“.

The 2009 Kanji of the year is the character for "New"

Here’s a picture of the head monk writing the character 「新」 (“new”) in traditional Japanese calligraphy:


30 Mar

Today we went to a park not far from our house for 花見 (“Cherry Blossom Viewing”).

Cherry Blossom Viewing has been a Japanese tradition for centuries. The Cherry Blossom (or 桜 (“Sakura”) as it’s known in Japanese) is as Japanese as Apple Pie is American.

Every Spring, when the Sakura bloom, Japanese people have picnics under the Sakura trees (as I mentioned in the “Sakura” post below).

We had sandwiches, takoyaki, fried squid, and beer (of course, the kids had juice) under the trees. They were very beautiful. I took a few pictures and attached some to this post.

Before we got to the park, we passed a gas station and noticed a Buddist priest pumping gas into his car.

This caught my attention, not only because you don’t often see Buddist priests at gas stations, but also because “Self-serve” gas stations are new to Tokyo. They all used to be “full-serve”…with four or five attendants pumping your gas, checking your oil and tires, and washing your wind shield. Then helping direct you back into traffic.

So I took this picture:

Buddist priest puming gas.

At the Sakura festival, there was a stage that had some people doing a tradional Japanese festival dance. I took a short video of it and uploaded it to YouTube.

It’s the first time I’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube.

Are you able to watch the video? Let me know.

Here are some of the photos I took:

sakura1.jpg sakura2.jpg

sakura3.jpg sakura4.jpg