Tag Archives: Solstice

Winter solstice

22 Dec

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


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).


“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!






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.


You can balance an egg today

23 Sep

Last Monday was a holiday in Japan, called 「敬老の日」 (“Respect For The Elderly Day“). On this day, people often give gifts to their elderly parents or grandparents. Many kindergartens invite grandparents to have lunch at the school with their grandchildren.

Shoulder massages are common "gifts" to grandparents on this day.

Today is another holiday in Japan…「秋分の日」 (“Autumn Equinox“).  On this day in Japan, and on the 「春分の日」 (“Spring Equinox“) in March, it is common for people to visit their family graves to pay respects.  This custom is called 「彼岸の中日」 (“Higan-no-chuu-nichi“).

The actual date of 「春分の日」 (Spring Equinox) and 「秋分の日」 (Autumn Equinox) varies slightly. Spring Equinox is around March 20 or 21 and Autumn Equinox is usually September 22 or 23. I read online that in 1931, the Autumn Equinox occurred on September 24 and the next time it will occur on that date will be in the year 2303.

But in Japan, 「春分の日」 (Spring Equinox) is always celebrated on March 20th and 「秋分の日」 (Autumn Equinox) is always on September 23rd. The only time the dates change is when one of those dates fall on a Sunday…then the holiday is observed the next day.

「敬老の日」 (“Respect For The Elderly Day“) is celebrated on the third Monday of September. Last year that holiday and 「秋分の日」 (Autumn Equinox) were only one day apart, so the Japanese government made the day between them a one-time temporary holiday so that most people in Japan could have a five-day holiday period that was called “Silver Week“.
(I wrote a post about last year’s “Silver Week” here.)

Yesterday someone asked me if the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes were holidays in America like they are in Japan, and how they’re observed in America.

I know that Spring and Autumn Equinox, as well as Summer and Winter Solstice in June and December, aren’t legal holidays in America. But they’re considered the date that the seasons change. Americans say that the first day of Winter is around December 21, the first day of Spring is around March 20, the first day of Summer is around June 21 and the first day of Autumn is around September 23.
So, in America, today is the first day of Autumn.

In Japan, the first day of every three months is considered to be the beginning of the next season.
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn each start on December 1st, March 1st, June 1st and September 1st, respectively.

But maybe the American dates are more accurate. Because yesterday was a very hot and sunny day in Tokyo. It was about 33°C.
But today is a bit cold and rainy. The temperature dropped down to 23°C! And tomorrow is forecast to be even colder…20°C.

Another thing that is said about the equinoxes in America is that they are the only days of the year that you can balance on egg upright.

I don’t know where that came from. But it’s an American urban legend that eggs can be easily balanced on the day of an equinox.

How is Autumn Equinox (and Spring Equinox) celebrated in your country?

(Also, if you want to know more about Japanese holidays, read my F.A.Q.).