The Move to Japan
December 1, 2009 - Time off posting on
this site - The last post on this site was on August
31, 2009 at which time I realized the only way to get us all
to Japan was to stay off the computer and focus on the move.
After 3 months of sorting and packing, I was able to fit
everything I own into a very small storage area. Leaving for Japan
- I always find it kind of funny but no matter how much time
I give myself for packing, it usually seems I need to rush
at the last minute. This trip was certainly no exception, um
except with a few additional challenges. The day before
leaving I threw out my hip and loosened a filling in one of
my teeth while
eating Japanese seaweed....go figure. This meant packing and
staying up the whole night before leaving with a messed up
leg and a nagging headache. Anyway, I was able to get
night before leaving - We were really happy Valerie
came to see us off and she brought a very cute stuffed
animal, a lion for her brother, which she purchased at the
zoo. We got the chance to talk for awhile and worked out a few
issues. Hopefully she will come and stay with us in Japan
for a long time.
to the airport - We were up the whole night doing
last minute things before leaving for the airport. Ayumi
spent the night since she was one of the drivers and Chris,
long time friend who stays at our place, was the the other driver.
the airport - We got to the airport at 5:15 am, which
turned out to be plenty of time even though our flight was
at 7:15 am. The women at United who checked us in were very
nice and did not charge us for an extra bag and for one bag
which was overweight. They did need to charge us $25 for one
bag which was too much over the limit. We ended up with 5
Diego to San Francisco - Everything went fairly
smoothly with Shai only upset for a short time, mostly due
to wanting to be held and walked around which we were unable
to do once the plane began to taxi down the runway. The
flight took about 1.5 hours and was pretty smooth. We got
juice but no bag of peanuts or any type of snack. When did
they discontinue doing this?
Francisco to Tokyo - The 12 hour flight turned out to
be pretty good considering all the challenges of traveling
with a 4-month-old baby. We were able to reserve seats with
more leg room in the front and a baby basinet which attached
to the wall. We flew on All Nippon Airways for this leg of
the trip. The service was excellent, no surprise as this is
a Japanese company. The food was really good and they served
a really nice Cabernet Sauvignon. The only yukky point was
the movie selection, most of which were pretty old. Ended up
watching Transporter 3 even though I already
saw it. Aside from that, the flight went fairly quickly with Shai only screaming a few times, and only for the usual
reasons, hungry, diaper, etc. Happily he adjusted to plane
issues in Tokyo - We arrived in Tokyo where some of our
family was waiting to meet us and to see the baby for the
first time. An aunt and her daughter, the one we spent time
with in SF showed up with lots of gifts for the baby. We
needed to get all our bags for customs and immigration and
then recheck them in for the last leg of the trip. We were
flying on ANA again from Tokyo to Osaka and unlike United,
they wanted to charge us for the extra bag. I decided to
take one of the send though bags with us as a carry-on. We
were sure they would say something and Akiko said to speak
only English and they might let us through security with 6
bags. It worked perfectly and although it was a hassle we
managed it. The Japanese workers kept running up to us to
help with the extra bags as we got on and off the plane. The
service in Japan continues to be the best in the world.
Japan illegally - Many of our friends reading this
know I was entering Japan illegally. Since I was entering
the country on a tourist visa, I was supposed to show a
round trip ticket with a departure date from Japan. Akiko
had found information on the Japanese immigration site which
said you can change your status once on Japanese soil. It took only 5 minutes and NO
MONEY for me to be legal in Japan. They did not even ask for
a marriage certificate or anything. It took months and over
$3,000 for Akiko to change her status in the same way in the
to Osaka - Really not much to talk about. The flight
was about 1.5 hours, about the same as SD to SF, and was
very smooth. We were all pretty exhausted by this time and
slept most of the way.
the family - We arrived in Osaka at about 7:15 pm.
Akiko and I met her parents at the airport after not seeing
them for almost 3 years. Although we chatted online and kept
in contact, the relationship with everyone was strained due
to house and Buraku issues in Japan, which many of you already know
about. Although people generally do not hug in Japan, we
hugged her parents which instantly made all the issues go
away, at least for the moment. Her mom cried when she saw
the baby and her Dad was really happy. We needed to sent 4
of our bags from the airport to the house. Everything else
was able to fit in the company car her Dad used to pick us
at the house - We arrived at the house and unloaded
all our stuff. We ate oden, drank beer and talked. My
Japanese is still pretty good considering the limited about
of time spent speaking the language over the last 3 years.
Her parents set up a really nice room for Shai. All things
considered, the trip to Japan went very smoothly. We were
only charged an extra $25 for our bags and I was able to
enter the country and immediately change status with no
problem. From now until the New Year, Akiko and I need to do
many things to prepare for our next few years together with
the baby in Japan.
December 2, 2009 -
and settling in - Our first full day in Japan was
uneventful but definitely relaxing. We all slept really
well, especially Shai who was sleeping much of the day.
Akiko and I spent the day setting up the Internet on our
computers, Akiko finished up some laundry and I spent a few
hours cleaning the refrigerator and the bathroom sink. All
of you who know me, know I like to work around the house.
Except for hanging laundry out on the veranda and putting my
bike outside, we stayed in today. The temperature was in the
sixties today and the laundry dried quickly. People do not
use dryers in Japan and need to take advantage of sunny days
to dry the clothes. Her Mom went out on a job interview and
was able to get the job which is at a Japanese temple and
also a World Heritage site. We all ate dinner together which
consisted of rice, gobo, cabbage and koroke which are
basically fried potato balls with a small amount of beef.
The picture is of us eating our first breakfast in Japan.
sleep - It could be Japanese houses, maybe the
incredibly comfortable blankets, or maybe most of my worries
stay behind in the US but for some reason, sleeping in Japan
for me is very deep. It seems to be the same for Shai too
who slept an unbelievable amount of hours today. Akiko is
able to sleep anytime, anywhere. The picture is of Shai
crying until we gave him the orange to play with.
Going pee -
Japanese houses are not centrally heated, at least not the
older homes. Individual rooms are kept warm with electric
space heating units while an oil stove is used in the
kitchen which can also be used as a cooking stove. Since
only rooms which are being used are warmed up, the bathroom
is excluded since it is used only intermittently. If you
need to pee at night, this means going downstairs into the
freezing cold bathroom and doing your duty. Kinda sucks but
a small price to pay for all the other benefits of being in
December 3, 2009 - A bit more getting settled and
stuff - Pretty much spent much of today straightening
out the bedroom in preparation for our at least month and a
half in this house, assuming we purchase a home within the
next week. The room is really comfortable and pretty much
fit all of our stuff and us.
stuff - Pretty much spent much of today straightening out the bedroom in
preparation for our at least month and a half in this house, assuming we
purchase a home within the next week. The room is really comfortable and pretty
much fit all of our stuff and us.
rain - Today it rained most of the day which was
wonderful after the long dry spell in San Diego. Rain in
Japan is much like I was used to growing up in Kenmore, New
York. Sometimes it rains really hard and finishes and
sometimes it rains for days. This time of year it can be
either. Today was pretty much a steady rain which is
supposed to be over tomorrow.
screaming - Shai has not screamed at all since
arriving in Japan. He was completely good with all the
family members. I really think babies are very perceptive
and Shai can sense all the good feeling in the house at this
time. He is sleeping really well, laughing, and seems to be enjoying himself.
December 4, 2009 -
Japan got colder - After the rain, the temperatures
were hovering around the upper thirties to low forties.
Today was basically better but still cool and partly cloudy.
This weekend will be rainy with over an inch expected.
Caught a cold - Due to the cooler temperatures, and
being really worn out from the trip, I caught a cold which
seems to be getting worse. Bought a couple bottles of
California wine at the grocery store today and plan on
drinking away the cold.
a walk - Akiko and I went out with the baby after
being in the house for a couple days getting settled. We
went to the government office and finished up the paperwork
for registering with the city and signing up for our
benefits. Akiko thought Shai would be registered as Japanese
but the government would not allow it since he entered Japan
with a passport from the United States. This means both me
and Shai are registered as foreign permanent residents. This
picture is in front of the house where we are staying now.
house - Today we finally were able to see the house
we became interested in months ago. We looked at a couple of
other houses in the same price range which were both pieces
of crap. The house we were sent information about back in
June 2009 turned out to be really nice. Yup, this property
is a fixer but basically structurally sound. This property
is located in the countryside but is only 1 mile away from
the closest grocery store and only 1.4 miles away from the
closest train station. There is a nice yard and parking and
a wonderful view of the mountains from the second floor. We
decided to go ahead with the purchase. You can click the
following link to see more pictures of the house.
December 5, 2009 - Our New Pets and Our View.
Pets? - Today it is raining again and everyone is
home. Nothing much happening until tonight when we are all
going to eat nabe and drink. With nothing much going on I
decided to write about our new pets. The house we are buying
is considered to be in the countryside, even though it is
only a little over a mile from the train station. The house
is pretty much surrounded by small farms. As such, there is
a wide variety of little critters and insects....some of
which are not little at all. The front yard of the house is
loaded with these spiders. Nephila
clavata, also known as the Jorō Spider (ジョロウグモ（女郎蜘蛛、上臈蜘蛛）is
a member of the golden orb-web spider group. The spider can
be found throughout Japan except Hokkaidō. The female's body size is 17-25 mm (3/4 - 1 inch
in length), while the male's is 7-10 mm (1/4 - 1/2 inch in
length). Including the legs, the female can reach up to 4 inches in total length. You can read more
about these spiders on the following pages.
More information about the spider - wikipedia
More information about the spider - private site
View - In addition to all the nice "pets", there is a
really good view of the mountains from all the second floor
rooms including the veranda where this picture was taken.
Since two of the rooms are South facing, we will be able to
see the sun rising and setting over the mountains. The North
facing master bedroom has a nice view of the mountains too.
The house should close, the Japanese equivalent of escrow,
this month if the offer is accepted.
December 6, 2009 - Memories, House Offer, and
- Today we met the real estate agent at Royal Host, a family
chain restaurant in the Kansai area of Japan. Normally
nothing special except this is the place where me and Akiko
would sneak away to when we were dating about 6 years ago.
After retiring, I went to Japan a few times to learn the
language, we met in the local library, and the next time I
went back we became a couple. I was staying with friends and
the Royal Host was the only place we could really meet. It
was also the place I met her parents for the first time and
they told me to quit dating their daughter. Everything has
come a long way since then. Marriage, a baby, and now
possibly a house and a new business. It brought back a lot
of memories being back there again. Kinda funny the way
everything has come full circle.
Offer - Yup, we put in a full price cash offer on the
house I was drooling over for the last few months. Believe
it or not, the full price offer was for $39,500. Pretty
incredible for a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house with a family
room, nice yard and parking. We are purchasing the house at
less than half the actual value if this property were
located in another area. This is all due to the condition of
the property which is a cosmetic fixer and due to the Buraku
or Caste System in Japan.
The picture is of Abesan, our real estate agent.
Small - After meeting the real estate agent we went
shopping for food, diapers, and cough syrup for me. Akiko
and I were in the United States for about two and a half
years and obviously forgot many things. For example in Japan
the service is incredible but you need to bag your own
groceries. Go figure. In addition, these are the standard
shopping, um baskets in Japan. They certainly cannot get
December 7, 2009 -
Back to Work.
Last night the family all ate sukiyaki
together and drank beer. It was a really nice evening. Now
almost a week in Japan and time to get back to business.
Beginning today I really need to get back to updating the
sites and planning the school, assuming we get the house.
This blog will continue to updated for those of you who are
interested in our Japan adventure.
December 8, 2009 - Transportation.
train - We took Shai out for a walk today in order to take advantage of the
sunny day. We took a walk on the streets behind the house to see if they connect
to the road I need to use when riding the bike to the new house. The roads do
connect but go over a few train tracks. During the walk Shai was able to see his
of bikes - Transportation in Japan is considerably different than in the United
States. Many people do not own cars and instead ride bikes to the train
stations, park their bikes for the day, and then ride the trains. This is one of
the bike parking areas at the local train station. Thought this might be an
interesting post for some of you.
December 9, 2009 - Picnic at the river.
- It was unseasonably warm again today and is supposed to be
even warmer the next few days although it is supposed to
rain. We took some time to relax for a picnic next to the
river. We ate bentoo consisting of rice, salmon, chicken,
and vegetables. We drank green tea and ate shuu cream for
desert. Tomorrow I plan to take the mountain bike out for a
ride to the new house. The bike is the equivalent of my
4Runner in Japan. I planned out a route to the house which
follows the Yamato River.
- Today was spent shopping, going to the bank, and going out
for a picnic at one of the many local rivers. This picture
shows the walking trail which goes all the way along the
river until you get to a bridge and then the trail continues
on the other side. The total distance all the way around is
probably about a mile but this could not be verified. The
last couple days I went walking at night. The river is
located about five minutes from where we are staying now.
December 10, 2009 - Walmart and Bike Ride to the House.
- I was last in Japan about three years ago. They were
building a shopping center in the town of Oji where we are
staying which was supposed to include a Walmart. Although
the store we went to today is called Seiyu, it is basically
Walmart with all the same brands the stores in the US carry.
The prices are about the same too. Pretty cool to be able to
pick up Japanese food at Walmart prices.
ride to the house - I went on a practice run bike
ride to the house today to see if the route I picked out
would be any good. The roads to the house basically follow
the local rivers and overall the ride was pretty nice. I
printed out a map using Google and was able to find the
house without getting too lost. Keep in mind the streets in
Japan are unnamed except in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. The
only way to find a place is to print out a map or to
remember where to turn based on buildings and other
landmarks. This picture was taken close to the house and
shows a rice field. Notice the brown rows. This is rice
which has already been picked and is being set out to dry.
Bike ride route on Google maps -
December 11, 2009 - Rainy Day and Chanukah.
Rainy Day - It was raining like crazy today. We
stayed in and I was finally able to spend some time updating
my sites. For those of you unfamiliar with my work, you can
check out all the sites if you go to the My Projects section
on the side bar at the top of this page. We received a call
from our real estate agent. He wanted to meet us again at
the royal host restaurant to go over the purchase agreement
he wrote up based on our requests from. The meeting and
explanation of the purchase agreement took about three
hours. Pretty incredible for a basic cash transaction with
almost no contingencies.
- Today was the first night of Chanukah. Good luck finding a
menorah or Chanukah candles in Japan. We went to the hundred
yen store and I bought a soup dish which coincidentally had
9 holes, the same as a standard menorah. We bought candles
which are used for religious purposes in Japan. A little
tape and a bit of aluminum foil and voila, a make shift
December 12, 2009 - We Actually Got the House.
took six months and a lot of effort but we finally got the house. We took the
train to the office of the real estate agent for the seller. We met our agent
outside the train station and then took the two minute walk to the office. Even
for this house the meeting was very formal. Akiko and I sat at a table with our
agent and someone who I thought was the listing agent. It turned out this guy
has a special license for reading and explaining purchase agreements. He very
formally introduced himself, bowed and placed his license card on the table on
top of his card holder. The meeting began at 6:00 pm with this guy reading
through the majority of the agreement. The owner of the property arrived at
about 6:20 and eventually joined us at the table at 6:30 pm. The meeting became
even more formal at that point with plenty of bowing and formal conversation in
Japanese. Now the actual listing agent came out and replaced the purchase
agreement reading guy. The listing agent read through many papers, also out
loud, and then everyone began signing (and using their hankos - family ink
stamp) the purchase agreement. Once everything was signed, the meeting became a
little more relaxed with everyone making small talk. The owner, who is an older
Japanese man, seemed happy we were getting the house. The meeting actaully ended
at about 7:45 pm. After the meeting our agent took us home. Me and Akiko went to
the grocery store and bought wine, cheese, and dessert to celebrate getting the
house. We are scheduled to do a walk through inspection of the house on 12/22/09
and then the house should go through on 1/14/10. Much more about the house and
the purchase agreement in upcoming posts.
December 13, 2009 - Getting Colder.
change - It seems Japanese baby formula has a strange
affect on the hands of babies. After a week of drinking the
Meiji brand of formula, the hands of our cute little Shai
almost doubled in size. Kidding. Actually we took a walk
around the river today. It was noticeably cooler and we
forgot to bring mittens for Shai. The forecast is calling
for snow this weekend with temperatures dipping to 32
degrees or lower. Hey Dorothy, we are not in San Diego
December 14, 2009 - Meeting a Friend and Eating Sushi.
a friend - Today my long time friend and former
Japanese teacher Nobumitsusan took me and Akiko out for
lunch. I met Nobumitsusan about six years ago when I stayed
in Japan for three months during the Summer with the family
of a friend in San Diego. This was the same Summer I met
Akiko. During the stay I was told of a free school where I
could learn Japanese. Nobumitsusan was one of the volunteer
teachers. When I returned to San Diego we continued to keep
and contact over the years and met every time I returned to
Japan. It was very nice to see him again.
Sushi - Nobumitsusan took me and Akiko to a kuru kuru
sushi restaurant which is the name I use for it.
Conveyor belt sushi (回転寿司, kaiten-zushi) (also called
sushi-go-round (くるくる寿司, kuru kuru sushi), mainly by
foreigners living in Japan or "yasu-zushi"), is the popular
English translation for Japanese fast-food sushi. In
Australia, it is also known as sushi train (as the sushi
goes around a track on a train, rather than a conveyor
is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are
placed on a rotating conveyor belt that winds through the
restaurant and moves past every table and counter seat.
Customers may place special orders, but most simply pick
their selections from a steady stream of fresh sushi moving
along the conveyor belt. The final bill is based on the
number and type of plates of the consumed sushi. Some
restaurants use a fancier presentation such as miniature
wooden "sushi boats" traveling small canals or miniature
most remarkable feature of conveyor belt sushi is the stream
of plates winding through the restaurant.
If customers cannot find their desired sushi, they can make
The bill is calculated by counting the number and type of
plates of the consumed sushi. Plates with different colors,
patterns, or shapes have different prices, usually ranging
from 100 yen to 500 yen. The cost of the different plates is
shown on signboards or posters in the restaurant. In
general, cheap items come on plain plates, and the level of
plate decoration is related to the price. The most expensive
items tend to come on gold colored plates.
December 15, 2009 - Train, Friend, Nara
Park, Temples, Train.
first train ride for Shai - Today was a pretty busy
and fun day for us. Shai got to ride on his first train from
Oji, the town where we are staying, to Nara, a very historic
city in Japan. After arriving at Nara station, we walked to
Nara park and ate the lunch we bought at Seiyu (Walmart)
while still in Oji. Shai got to see his first deer which run
wild in the park.
another friend - Today me, Akiko, and Shai went
to visit my friend Nakatasan. A
few years ago Nobumitsusan, the friend who took us out for
sushi (December 14, 2009 post below), knew someone who
wanted to learn English in order to open a bed and breakfast
in Nara. Nobumitsusan introduced me through email to
Nakatasan and I stayed with him and his family for awhile
and taught him English. We became good friends and he ended
up opening his bed and breakfast hotel five minutes walk
from Nara park.
Park - After visiting our friend, we headed back to
Nara Park this time to see a couple of famous temples
located in the park. We saw lots more deer and plenty of
people even though this was a weekday. Within the park, many
yatai were set up. A yatai (屋台?) is a small, mobile food
stall in Japan typically selling ramen or other hot food.
The name literally means "shop stand." Many of them were
selling hot sweet potatoes and senbei which is a snack you
can feed to the deer. Nara Park (奈良公園, Nara Kōen) is a
public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot
of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1880. The over 1,200 wild
sika deer (シカ or 鹿 shika) freely roaming around in the park
are classified as a "Natural Monument." The park is also
home to the Nara National Museum and Todai-ji, where the
largest wooden building in the world houses a 50' tall
statue of Buddha.
Temple - We visited the two most famous temples in
the park. The first temple is called Kōfuku-ji. Kōfuku-ji
(興福寺, Kōfuku-ji) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Nara,
in Nara prefecture, Japan. Kōfuku-ji, along with several
Buddhist temples, and other sites in Nara, received the
distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site
under the name: "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara." The
picture is of the five story pagoda.
Temple - Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Tōdai-ji, Eastern Great
Temple), is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of
Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden), the
largest wooden building in the world, houses the world's
largest statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese
simply as Daibutsu (大仏). The temple is a listed UNESCO World
Heritage Site as "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara",
together with seven other sites including temples, shrines
and places in the city of Nara. Sika deer, regarded as
messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the
grounds freely. You can see the temple in the back of the
on the train - After leaving the park we got back on
the train and went back to Oji. Shai really seemed to like
the train. Lots of new sounds and things to look at.
Snow - The forecast is calling for snow every night
this week beginning on Wednesday. The amount, if it snows,
will not even be close to Buffalo norms. Most likely a
dusting which will quickly melt.
December 16, 2009 - Pretty Normal Day. I went running in the morning and then went
out with Akiko and the baby in the afternoon. It was time
for his first check up in Japan. They said he is doing
really good. Then we went to the bank and then came home.
December 17, 2009 - Cold and Windy.
Today was really cold and windy. We went to
the post office and then shopping at Seiyu again. I went and
completed the daily run around the river and finished the 8
kilometers in 52 minutes. Not quite a speed record but good
enough considering the temperature was in the mid forties
and the winds were about 25 miles per hour sustained with
gusts over 40 miles per hour. This was the first time for
Shai to visit the post office in Japan.
December 18, 2009 - Last Day of Chanukah, Colder and
day of Chanukah - Today was the last day of Chanukah
and Shai received a few more presents from us bringing the
total up to eight presents. He received mostly small toys
and a few necessities such as mittens. In this picture he is
checking out his new training cup.
and windier - Today was even colder and windier. The
high was in the low forties and should dip into the low
thirties tonight. Me, Akiko, and Shai went out for a long
walk and shopping. I needed to purchase a hanko (ink name
stamp) to be used for purchasing the house and any other
official business in Japan. Today Shai laughed for the first
time as a result of something he saw on the television. Soon
after, he fell asleep while watching.
December 19, 2009 - A Really Quiet Weekend. I went out for my 8 kilometer run and then
came back and took a shower. Another cold and windy day. We
plan to pretty much stay in for the weekend and eat nabe and
drink wine. We found a really good imported wine at Seiyu
for about $3.70 a bottle.
December 20, 2009 - Snow and Shopping
I went out for my 8 kilometer run as usual
but today was a little different. It actually snowed.
Actually it was only flurries which pretty much melted on
contact. We needed to go shopping in the afternoon and this
was the first time to put Shai in the baby backpack. I
turned him around in order for him to see everything and
then stuffed him and everything into my coat. We got looks from
pretty much everyone as we walked through the train station
and the grocery store.
December 25, 2009 - Holidays in Japan. I received quite a few emails from friends
back in the states asking about the holidays this month in
Japan. In answer to all your questions, the holidays are
celebrated in Japan put pretty much a joke. The stores play
Christmas music and decorate the aisles and some people
decorate their homes. The holidays are for fun and totally
commercialized with no religious meaning for the people. In
fact, on the 26th the day after, all the decorations come
down in favor of New Years decorations. New Years is the
most important holiday for Japanese.
December 28, 2009 - Nabe Party.
Today a couple of friends came over who
Akiko knew all the way back to elementary school. We ate nabe which is really the best meal to serve for an intimate
kind of dinner. Both girls went out with me and Akiko to a
restaurant in Japan a few years ago. From left to right:
Me, Taeko, Okaachan, Shai, Chika, Akiko.
December 29, 2009 - Toast Your Hot Sand.
if hot sand is not hot enough. Now YOU can toast YOUR hot
sand in YOUR very own HOT SAND TOASTER. All
this for only 970 yen, the equivalent of about 10 bucks.
Confused???? Japanese people call sandwiches, sando or sand.
For example, a chicken sandwich might be called a chicken
sand. Anyway this caught my attention and thought yall might
December 30, 2009 - Mochi Party.
Today we walked about 20 minutes to visit
cousins for a mochi making party. The actual term is
Mochitsuki. They used a machine to make the mochi as opposed
to the more traditional way but it was still really good.
The family remodeled the house a few years ago resulting in
a really nice place. The family is really nice. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Click to learn more about Mochitsuki
December 31, 2009 - Japanese New Year.
we went shopping and for a walk along the river. We made it to New Years Eve after a month
of difficulties in Japan. Although there were many happy
moments, the month was filled with tension among family
members. As a new year is about to begin, I continue to be
hopeful for good changes and a year filled with happiness.
In a few hours our traditional New Years celebration will
begin. Akiko is making Osechi-ryōri. Osechi-ryōri (御節料理 or
お節料理) are traditional Japanese New Year foods. The tradition
started in the Heian Period (794-1185). The next few days
will basically consist of eating different foods, hanging
around doing pretty much nothing and consuming large amounts
of alcohol. The Japanese celebrate New Year's Day on January
1 each year on the Gregorian Calendar. Before 1873, the date
of the Japanese New Year (正月, shōgatsu) was based on the
Chinese lunar calendar and celebrated at the beginning of
spring, just as the contemporary Chinese, Korean and
Vietnamese New Years are celebrated to this day. However, in
1873, five years after the Meiji Restoration, Japan adopted
the Gregorian calendar, so the first day of January is the
official New Year's Day in modern Japan. It is considered by
most Japanese to be one of the most important annual
festivals and has been celebrated for centuries with its own
Click to learn more about the Japanese New Year
Click to learn more about Japanese New Years food