春分の日 ・ Spring Equinox Day

March 21st is Spring Equinox Day (春分の日, “Shunbun no hi”). In Japan, it is designated as a public holiday dedicated to the veneration of nature and all living things. Shunbun no hi also falls on the main day of a seven-day Buddhist memorial service called “Haru no higan”, when many Japanese people visit and clean up their family graves, as it is believed to be the day when the other world nears ours, allowing us to “get in touch” with our ancestors’ spirits for a short time.

ホワイトデー ・ White Day

Remember St. Valentine’s Day? That’s a thing of the past. Now it’s time for White Day! On White Day, men are supposed to give “return gifts” to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Because of the name of the day, white chocolate is often preferred over its dark counterpart. Flowers, candies and other gifts are also popular gifts. Department stores will start advertising for the day well in advance (sometimes as early as February 15), so you don’t have an excuse to “forget” about that chocolate you received a month ago. Did you happen to forget? Well, thank LYNX for reminding you now!!

雛祭り・Doll Festival

March 3 is the Doll Festival (“Hina Matsuri”, 雛祭り), also celebrated as Girls’ Day. During the festival – which was introduced during the Heian Period (794-1192) – families set up a special step-altar covered with a scarlet cloth, on which they arrange “hina” dolls to represent the Heian Imperial Court, with the Emperor and Empress dolls placed on the upper tier (see pictures). Families with young daughters are particularly motivated to observe the holiday: by displaying dolls on this day, the parents wish for their daughters’ long and healthy life, hence the alternative name “Girls’ Day”. On the day of Hinamatsuri, families get together and enjoy delicious traditional dishes such […]

What’s St.Valentine’s Day like in Japan?

You probably heard that chocolate–not flowers–is master on this day, but here are the top 3 differences with Western countries. 1. in Japan, it’s women who do the gift giving on Valentine’s Day. Men reciprocate a month later (March 14) on White Day–although sometimes they won’t. 2. Valentine’s Day chocolate is not limited to husbands or boyfriends. Women also buy what they call “giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), which is meant to be given to colleagues, bosses, and close male friends with no romance involved. On the other hand, “honmei-choco” (true feeling chocolate) is given to a boyfriend, lover, or husband. 3. Japanese women often prepare the honmei-choco by themselves, as many […]

建国記念の日・National Foundation Day

February 11 is National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi, 建国記念の日) in Japan. This day honors the first emperor of Japan, Emperor Jinmu (Jinmu-tennō, 神武天皇), successor of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Legend has it, Emperor Jinmu ascended to the throne and founded the imperial line on this day, giving birth to the country of Japan. It was celebrated as “the day of origin” (Kigensetsu, 紀元節), until the end of World War II, and it was designated a public holiday in 1967. Every year, the Japanese celebrate their National Foundation Day displaying the flag, and organizing festivals and parades.

What’s Christmas like in Japan?

Here are the top 3 differences with Western countries. 1) NO RELIGION As there are relatively few Christians in Japan, none of the religious connotations associated with Christmas were brought over from the West, and the day is not a national holiday. However, many of the things that traditionally appear on the strees on Christmas—festive trees in the shopping malls, Christmas markets, LED lights—make an appearance immediately after Halloween. 2) NO FAMILY Christmas Eve is often celebrated more than Christmas Day, and it’s thought of as a romantic day in which couples go for walks to look at the Christmas lights—generally referred to simply as “illuminations”—and havea romantic meal in […]

Osaka has bid to host the prestigious quinquennial event World Expo in 2025

While Tokyo is getting ready for the 2020 Olympics, Osaka has bid to host the prestigious quinquennial event World Expo in 2025. An estimated 70 million visitors from all around the world will be landing during the two events combined. On top of that, with the number of foreign tourists in Japan doubling in the last decade and reaching the incredible number of 26 million visitors in 2017, it comes to no surprise that overseas tourism is one of the most promising businesses in Japan. Japan is now headed for an increase of over 60,000 hotel rooms by 2020, so to marginate or solve the current problems represented by lack […]

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