February 2018

What is Ema, or picture tablet?

Ema are wooden votive picture tablets which are found in shrines or temples in Japan. People write their wishes and dreams on the back of “Ema” and hang them in the designated area in the precincts of shrines or temples. People originally donated living horses.        Front of Ema has picture.           Back of Ema.   Ema literally means “picture of horse” and many Ema have horse pictures on them. This is because people originally donated living horses in the old days, but later it became so difficult that people started donating wooden stable-shaped tablets on which the horse pictures were written. Horses have […]

Valentine’s Day in Japan

How it goes with Valentine’s Day in Japan ? Saint Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14th is cerebrated around the world. Each country has its own custom how to cerebrate this day. How it goes in Japan? The day for women give Chocolates to men. Rather than couples exchanging cards or gifts each other, only women give gifts on Valentine’s Day in Japan. Normally the gift is chocolate. It has no religious meaning in Japanese Valentine. There are 2 types of chocolates. One is so called “Girl-choko” which is given by women to male friends, co-workers and bosses as a thanks gift. Girl-choco is translated to “Obligation-choco”. Women “have to” spend some […]

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum(江戸東京たてもの園 Edo-Tokyo Tatemono-en)is located in Koganei park in Koganei-city, Tokyo. Although it’s not very center of Tokyo, it’s not too difficult to visit because the nearest station is just 20 minutes from Shinjuku station. Exhibition of reconstructed valuable historical building This is a very unique open-air museum which shows many old valuable Japanese buildings in its seven-hectare park area. There are 30 buildings and the others exhibited at present. All of them are the historical buildings of great cultural values which were relocated from the original place when they became impossible to preserve at their actual places as time goes by.   What […]

National Foundation Day in Feb. 11th

February 11th is cerebrated as National Foundation Day. It is a National Holiday in Japan.   Based on Nihon-shoki (the oldest chronicles of Japan), the first Emperor of Japan, Jinmu(神武), ascended to the throne on this day. In Japanese, 神(Jin)means God and 武(Mu)means martial arts. It is said that the present Imperial family are the descendants of the first Emperor Jinmu, which means Japan has had the longest lineage in the world for some 2,678 years. It had been cerebrated as Empire Day called “Kigen-setsu” until the end of World War II. It once discontinued after the war due to political purposes. In 1966, however, it was designated as a […]

Setsubun festival in Feb 3rd. Eat Eho-maki!

Setsubun Festival   “Demons out! Happiness in!” February 3rd is “Setsubun” festival in Japan. (The date is different on each year, but mostly around Feb.3rd) It’s kind of a funny holiday in Japan. “Setusbun” literally means “splitting the seasons”.  It is the day before the first day of spring, so Setsubun splits between winter and spring. Although it is not designated as a national holiday, the special bean throwing events called “Mame-maki” are held widely to cerebrate Setsubun day. “Mame” means “beans” and “maki” means “scattering”. At home, people throw and scatter roasted soy beans inside and outside their houses while saying, “Demons OUT!  Happiness IN!” (“Oni-wa-soto, Fuku-wa-uchi” in Japanese.) Usually one or […]