Archive for the ‘Japaneseness’ Category

Vernal Equinox

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

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Today is the vernal equinox, one of Japan’s national holidays. In Japanese, it is called “shunbun”, and corresponds to one of 24 solar terms found in most East-Asian traditions. On this day, most Japanese go visit their family grave, and hold family reunions.

As for me, well, this is just another day off, which I needed on account that I was at the 4th party of the month last night. Yep, the end of the school year calls for lots, and lots of parties – still three or four to go (I’m losing count, here)…

Moon Watching

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Tonight is the Mid-Autumn Festival, an event celebrated in many Asian countries and known as Tsukimi here in Japan. It is usually held on the full moon of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, and is an opportunity for Japanese people to show their gratitude for good harvests. Many Japanese people make an arrangement of wild autumn plants and flowers, and along with a plate of dango leave it on a window sill, from which the full moon is visible. Unfortunately, it is a tradition that is slowly disappearing, as parents tend not to teach it to their children…

Interestingly enough, the Japanese don’t see a “Man in the moon”, but rather a rabbit making mochi.

Hachiman Shrine’s Reitaisai

Monday, September 17th, 2007

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Yesterday I went to see the Hachiman Shrine’s Reitaisai. It is a yearly festival, and the most important one for any Shinto shrine in Japan. I made an album showing the procession, and I uploaded clips on YouTube showing people carrying the famous “Mikoshi“, and performing the equally famous “Suzume Odori”(Sparrow Dance). Enjoy.

April

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

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April! A new beginning awaits most of the people here in Japan, as it is the start of the fiscal and school years. New positions for most employed people, i.e. lots and lots of welcome parties, and of course, the long awaited month of the cherry blossoms. As for me, I was lucky enough not to change positions, i.e. I’m still an assistant homeroom teacher for the same grade, which now became the 3rd grade, I’m still in the General Affairs department, and still in charge of the language club. I’m very happy about that, since I won’t have to learn a new tasks from scratch, again. And oh, bonus: my new desk is next to a window, which means I can use the space in between freely – something all my Japanese colleagues are drooling over! Ha! The jury is still out on my yearly wheelin’ and dealin’ about a raise and more paid leave, so I’m crossing my fingers. Wish me luck. If you direct your attention to the top of my side bar, you will see a map of Japan during this month, indicating the progression of the “Sakura Front” advancing from South to North, which is essential to organize any Hanami Party. Indeed, cherry blossoms start blooming in March down in Kyuushuu, and end in May up in Hokkaidou. So as usual, my April theme will be the most famous flower in Japan: the sakura.

April’s header and wall paper.

Vernal Equinox

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

vernalequinox.jpg

Today is the vernal equinox, one of Japan’s national holidays. In Japanese, it is called “shunbun”, and corresponds to one of 24 solar terms found in most East-Asian traditions. On this day, most Japanese go visit their familial grave, and hold family reunions.

As for me, well, this is a day off I was looking forward to, since we had the official school year closing ceremony yesterday. I should know my new affectation within the school by the end of the week, and I’ll finally be able to clean up my desk a bit. But the truth is, I’m sort of fed up with baby sitting Japanese teenagers. I’ve had this on my mind for a while, so I’ll probably start looking for something new during what could be my last year as a high school teacher…

(Taking another sip of coffee, pondering whether I should play CIV IV, watch the final episode of Stargate Season 7, or just go back to bed).