Japanese introduction

1.New Year’s event

‘Shogatsu’ means New Year’s and it’s the most important holiday season for Japanese people. We usually take time off between the end of December and the beginning of January.

1.1 Osechi-ryori

‘Osechi-ryori’ is traditional food at Japanese New Year’s. Japanese people eat Osechi-ryori, specially arranged boxed meals at New Year’s. Osechi-ryori is preserved foods. It’s possible to preserve this dish for at least 7 days. The ingredients are an assortment of beans, egg, minced flesh, ham , roast chicken and so on. We eat these with rice cake.

1.2 Hatsumode

‘Hatsumode’ is the Japanese custom of visiting Shinto shrines at the beginning of the year. Shinto shrine has gates of the name ‘Torii’. Torii often has a sacred straw rope. And there are two guardian dogs to protect a shrine in this place. Before praying, people make a curtsy twice, clap hands twice and make a curtsy once again. Many people get ‘paper fortune for this year’ after praying.

1.3 The end of Shogatsu

It’s called ‘Matsu-no-uchi’ during Shogatsu. Shogatsu ends on January 7. Japanese eats ‘Nanakusa-Kayu’ on January 7 ‘the day is the end of Shogatsu’. It is old Japanese habit, too. Nanakusa-Kayu is Rice gruel of seven-species herbs. It helps weak stomach function better and maintain bodily functions. Seven-species herbs is green shoot most first by a new year. These are leaf of radish and other leaves . In Japanese, these called ‘gogyo, hakobera, hotokenoza, suzuka, suzushiro, seri, nazuna’. We eat this and wish health for one year. It’s called ‘Mubyou-sokusai’ to go healthily for one year.

1.4 Dezome-shiki

Dezome-shiki is also New Year’s Japanese ceremony. Every area’s Japanese fire dept. is sponsorship. The ceremony  performed from the Edo Period. Practice started to be performed because there were very much fires in Edo in the Edo Period. This practice is related to this ceremony.