Monday, December 31, 2007

Music Festival “ Koh Haku Uta Gassen on Omisoka - December 31

We call December 31 “Omisoka” in Japanese. There is a big TV program in NHK that almost 40 % Japanese people see in “Omisoka” every year. (Please see the subject about NHK on October 29.) This is “Koh Haku Uta Gassen”.
Female and male singers are separated to two group, red (female) and white (male). Koh and Haku means red (Aka) and white (Shiro). They sing turn and turn about at the concert hall. After that all performances end, the audience at the hall and several judges decide which performance is better.
This event is popular and all generation can enjoy it .We can see a lot of singers in same time. Our interested topic every year is who can perform this year. These singers are very popular in the year or very veteran singers who has aged fan. Koh Haku is for Japanese families, children, young and aged people.
Entertainment was few before several decades in Japan. So almost of people have watched this TV program in Omisoka .However, now situation is changed. The rating is lower and other TV program is more popular.
Japanese who live abroad is waiting for this program. Because they feel nostalgic for Japan. “Koh Haku Uta Gassen” is just Japanese type of program.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nenga-jo (New Year Greeting Postcard)

We, Japanese have a traditional culture for new year greeting card. Almost of Japanese write greeting new year postcard, "Nenga-jo" for our friend or relatives.
"Akemashi te Omedeto Gozaimasu" is typical first phrase of greeting. We can use this greeting when we meet friends or relatives first time in the year.
There are some numbers under the postcard. This is a lottery for receivers. The number for winner is announced on January 15. The stamp is printed in the post card and design of stamp is an animal of Eto. Eto means the twelve zodiac signs. The animal of next year is mouse and first animal of Eto.
It is important to reach the postcard on first day in new year. This is an etiquette for Japanese. Recently e-mail is popular among young people. However, it is precious time to write message for receivers for me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Osouji - Cleanup

What are you doing in the end of the year ? In Japan we almost clean up (Osouji) my house before new year.Souji as Japanese means cleanup.There is a traditional custom that priest cleans up Shrine or Temple around there on December 13. This event, "Susuharai", is for greeting gods in new year and cleaning up dust of whole year.
Cleanup is most important thing to do in the end of year in our house.Osouji is a traditional event for Japanese people,too.Since we eliminate dust that accumulates for one year, we can feel refresh. Because the end of the year in Japan is very cold , Osouji is a hard work.However, Osouji is an event to draw a line between this year and next year for me.We wait for only happy new year after Osouji.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Kotatsu is a Japanese traditional electrical appliance for winter. I love it.
Kotatsu can’t heat whole room. It is a table and covered with large quilt or thin blanket. It is installed an electric heater under the table. We sit on the floor and put in our legs. Inside of Kotatsu is warm and very comfortable. In old Japanese style house, another Kotatu is used. This is “Hori-Gotatsu”. The floor under the table is dug and we can sit like on a chair.
It is useful for Japanese as a heater, because Japanese house is tiny and Japanese is small compared to Western people. I think Kotatsu is symbol for family ties. Family gathers around Kotatsu in order to talk about their daily life. And they eat Japanese small orange “Mican” or watch TV. Since each one is very close, we feel affinity and can take good communication with each member.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Yutampo is very useful and good tool for environment issue.It is foot warmer that is made by tin or plastic, when we sleep in cold winter.

The shape is ellipse.We put hot water in the Yutampo. After that it is put in cloths bag. Since we put Yutampo under the blanket before bedtime, the mat of bed (Futon) becomes warm.We can feel comfortable warmth and sleep well until morning.

Yutampo don't consume electricity. Therefore it is very convenient and effective for environment issue.I have used electrical blanket . However, it is unhealthy because our body becomes dry.Although Yutampo is old and simple tool, Yutampo is marvellous for our body and the earth.

Now many Yutampos are sold well this year. Especially it is popular for women and comes into fashion.I have used it for about 20 years. I can sleep well during winter for Yutampo.

I'd like to introduce Yutampo for everybody in the world.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Announcement in the public vehicles

When we get on train or bus, we can reach the destination without worrying. Because the conductor definitely announces next station. In the case of train, not only the destination but also next transfer or the number of platform for transfer is announced each time the train is approaching next station. I think that this service is only Japan. Besides, the conductor explains the manner in the vehicle.
And we can hear the announcement for the arrival of the train at the platform.
Is it polite? You might think that the service isn’t necessary. But this service is convenient for passengers. Because there are a lot of lines ands train in especially Tokyo is very complicated, we need these instructions.