when and where to see fall foliage (Japanese version only):

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New year

New Year's card

Happy New Year!

May the New Year bring many good things to you.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the year of the Horse. Each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs  is related to a characteristic animal.

New Year's card

The deity of the year bringing a good harvest goes down from the sky to New Year pine decorations.

During the New Year holidays, boys used to enjoy kite-flying or top-spinning. Girls used to enjoy Hanetsuki which is a game similar to badminton. It is played with a wooden battledore and a hard black seed with feathers like a shuttlecock.
It is said the play started to wish to protect children from mosquito bites at New Year's.

Mochibana(餅花) is a decoration made of small-cut rice cake or dango (sweet rice dumpling) on a branch of Japanese sumac, hackberry, or willow tree for New Year's Holidays.

pine, bamboo, and ume(plum)

New Year's card

People have believed their fortunes are told in the dream, so they slept after placing a picture of the ship of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune called takarabune(宝船) under their pillows to have a good dream.

New Year's card

Cranes and turtles are considered as a symbol of longevity.

"午" means the horse.

New Year's card

People visit a shrine or temple and dedicate an ema(a votive horse tablet) after writing wishes and intentions on it.

New Year's card

Ready-made New Year's dishes

We don't cook for three days so that 'the deity of the kichen range(竈の神様)' can take three days off. We prepare preservable New Year's dish.

Ready-made New Year's dishes

Ready-made New Year's dishes including many untraditional ingredients are set in three-tiered boxes.

Ready-made New Year's dishes

ozoni in Tottori

We eat soup containing vegetables and rice cakes for New Year's Day called ozoni(お雑煮). There are different varieties of zoni soups from region to region.

In Tottori Prefecture and Shimane Prefecture, it is common to eat zoni containing rice cakes and sweetened adzuki beans on the New Year's Day.

Torii gate on Ukinuno Pond (浮布池, Ukinuno-no-ike) at the western foot of Mount Sanbe(三瓶山, Sanbesan) in Shimane Prefecture

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