Tag Archives: Valentine Day

Valentine Pizza

14 Feb

Today is Valentines Day.

Japan celebrates Valentines Day too…but not the same way as in America and other western countries.

Also, Japan has an “original” holiday one month later that is more similar to America’s Valentines Day.

Click here to read a post that I wrote three years ago that explains Valentines Day and White Day in Japan.

In addition to what I wrote in that post, Dominos Pizza in Japan offers a heart-shaped pizza for Valentines Day.

valentine-pizza

White Day

14 Mar

Today is 「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day).
(Click here to read my F.A.Q. about 「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day)).

「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day) is the day the men give gifts to the women who gave them chocolate on 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day)…so I gave chocolate to my wife and daughters today.

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Yesterday was Friday The 13th. Just last month, the 13th was on the Friday too…and I wrote a post about it. (Click here to read it.)

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In Osaka, fans of the Japanese baseball team The Hanshin Tigers are quite zealous.
When their team wins, many fans jump into a nearby river. It’s a Hanshin Tigers tradition.

In 1985, the Hanshin Tigers won the Japan Baseball Championship for the first time.
Many fans, of course, jumped into the river…and one fan took the Colonel Sanders statue* from the front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and threw it into the river.

(*In Japan, KFC restaurants have lifesize statues of Colonel Sanders out front.)

The Hanshin Tigers have never won the Japan Baseball Championship pendant again.

An urban legend developed that the Tigers‘ bad luck since 1985 was due to the 「カーネルサンダースの呪い」 (“Curse Of Colonel Sanders“)!
And the curse wouldn’t be lifted, and the Hanshin Tigers bad luck end, until the statue was retrieved from the river.

(I wrote a comment on another post about this “curse”. Click here to read it).

Well…last Tuesday, the statue of Colonel Sanders was found by divers in the river.

colonel

As you might expect, the statue’s not in the best condition after sitting on the riverbed for 24 years…but I guess the 「カーネルサンダースの呪い」 (“Curse Of Colonel Sanders“) has ended.
So, the Hanshin Tigers have no excuse if the continue to lose!

湯島天神

2 Feb

Yesterday we went to 湯島天神 (Yushima-Tenjin Shrine) in 上野 (Ueno, Tokyo).

The 梅の花 (Plum blossoms) were beginning to bloom. (They had posters up advertising their annual 梅の祭 (Plum Festival) that they will hold beginning next week.)

It’s a beautiful shrine…especially when the plum blossoms are in bloom.

At the shrine, my wife and I each bought a cup of 甘酒 (a hot, sweet fermented rice drink. (lit. sweet sake)). It’s often sold at Japanese shrines in the winter.
It was good.

Here are a few photos I took yesterday:

Booth selling "Daruma".

Booth selling "Daruma".

千羽鶴 ("1000 Paper Cranes") for luck.

千羽鶴 ("1000 Paper Cranes") for luck.

Plum blossom

Plum blossom

From the shrine, we went to a nearby department store (I have a wife and three teenage daughters. Of course, they love to shop!).

The floor selling make-up and women’s clothes also had a display of Valentine’s chocolates (I mentioned in a previous post that women give hand-made chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day in Japan. Click here to read it.)

「ハートチョコ」 (♥-shaped chocolate) and 「ハートせんべい」 (♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートチョコ」 (♥-shaped chocolate) and 「ハートせんべい」 (♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートせんべい」 ( ♥-shaped rice crackers)

「ハートせんべい」 ( ♥-shaped rice crackers)

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By the way, those visitors to my site who are in Japan…did you feel that 地震 (earthquake) at about 6:30AM yesterday?

February in Japan

29 Jan

Next Tuesday (February 3, 2009) will be 節分 (Setsubun).

I wrote a little bit about it on my site’s FAQ page. (Click here to read it).

You can buy 節分 (Setsubun) beans and 鬼 (demon) masks at stores in Japan this time of year. On this holiday, the father in homes with children wears the demon mask (it’s not a scary demon) and the children throw the beans at him while shouting 「鬼は外、福は内!」 (“Out with the bad luck, in with the good!” (lit. “Demon out, Fortune in!”)).

setsubun

Setsubun sets at a store in Tokyo.

After the kids throw the beans, the 鬼 (demon) runs away. The children have banished bad luck from the home for the year!
Then everyone in the family picks the beans off the floor and eats them (floors in Japanese homes are clean because noone wears shoes indoors). You’re supposed to eat the number of beans that corresponds to your age.

Another thing that is popular on 節分 (Setsubun) is to visit a major temple (for example, 浅草寺 (Sensou-ji Temple) in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo)) for their 節分 (Setsubun) event.
If you have a chance, you should see it. I have to work on Tuesday, so I can’t go…but I’ve been to 節分 (Setsubun) events many times.
At these events, a famous sumo wrestler or celebrity who was born in the same Chinese zodiac sign as the current year will throw 節分 (Setsubun) beans at the crowd.

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February 11 is 建国記念日 (National Foundation Day).
Click here to read my short FAQ about it.

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Just as it is in Western countries, February 14 is 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day).
But it’s celebrated differently here. In Western countries, men give chocolate or gifts to women on 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day)…but in Japan, women give chocolate to men on this day.

Not just any chocolate. And not just one man. She makes homemade chocolate for her boyfriend (or husband and sons), and also gives 義理チョコ (Obligation Chocolate) to male co-workers, boss, brother-in-law, etc.

(Click here to read my FAQ about it.)

Then one month later, on March 14, it’s 「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day). This day is closer to Western-style Valentine’s Day, because men give chocolate or gifts to every women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. The most expensive for his girlfriend (or wife and daughters).

(Click here to read my FAQ about “White Day“.)

A store's Valentine gifts for young kids.

A store's Valentine gifts for young kids.

The Valentines gift that I want!

The Valentines gift that I want!

Well, this year, Japan’s biggest chocolate company, 「森永」 (Morinaga), is offering a series of chocolates this 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day) aimed at couples who would like to do 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day) the “Western style” (men give chocolate to women).

They packaged these chocolates with all the writing backwards because that’s what Western-style 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day) is in Japan. Backwards.

All of the writing is backwards.

All of the writing is backwards.

"Morinaga"'s line-up of reverse chocolates.

"Morinaga"'s line-up of 「逆チョコ」 ("Reverse Chocolates").

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Last year, the Japan Tourism Board tried a “Yokoso! Japan Weeks” campaign to lure visitors to Japan…and I guess it worked, because right now until February 28, 2009 is “Yokoso! Japan Weeks 2009“.

(「ようこそ」 (Yokoso (or “youkoso”)) means “Welcome” in Japanese.)

During this campaign, there are many specials and sales to help foreign visitors enjoy Japan.

If you plan to visit Japan, the official “Yokoso! Japan Weeks 2009” website has information that will be helpful. And if you visit during by February 28, 2009, there’s a coupon on the site that you can print out and use a stores listed on the website.
(Click here to visit the official “Yokoso! Japan Weeks 2009” website).

Also, if you’re planning to visit Japan (or you’re already here), and you have any questions…feel free to ask me via comment on this blog (or Email) and I’ll try to help.