Friday, December 3, 2010
the preparations for New Year and Christmas
The preparations for New Year's festivities are started on December 8th in Tokyo, December 13th in Kyoto.
On this day, ancient people cut down the woods for New Year's festivities such as firewoods and pine decorations(門松, kadomatsu) to which the deity goes down from the sky.
At Gion in Kyoto, Geiko and maiko pay their devoirs to their masters with kagami-mochi (a round rice-cake offered to the deity) and make courtesy visits to ochaya where they entertain customers on December 13th.
A kitchen knife and a daikon radish(大根) are placed on a cutting board.
There are a carrot(人参, ninjin), Welsh onion(葱, negi), red turnip(赤蕪, akakabu), Chinese cabbage(白菜, hakusai) in a basket for winnowing rice.
Narcissus(水仙) is protected from snow by a straw shelter or a woven mat.
Trees are wrapped with straws or woven mats to protect them from snow or chilliness in many parts of Japan.
photos: Nihon-rettou Okuni Jiman (Japanese version only)
People used to pound rice with a pestle(杵, kine) in a mortar(臼, usu) at home at the end of a year, but few people do it now.
We see rabbit pounding steamed rice on the moon surface.
Some people says a confectionery package maker started selling paper Christmas boots that contained candies around 1947.
We sometimes have snow in Tokyo around the end of December, but there isn't enough snow yet to make a snowman.
In the past, butter cakes were popular and whipped cream cakes were less common.