20 December, 2010

New Year's Celebration in Japan

For this week’s blog, I want to introduce the way people celebrate New Year’s in Japan.

  Let me start off by talking about Hatsumode. Hatsumode, literally translated means a first visit, and is where people visit the shrine for the first time in the new year to pray for good fortune. Some shrines offer amazake, a sweet Japanese sake, and drinking it is said to protect you from the bad luck.
At the temple, priests ring a large bell called joya-no-kane on the night of New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day. The bell is rung 108 times because it is believed to help release the 108 Bonno, a Buddhist word for negative thoughts or pain that clouds one’s mind.
Although people in Japan don’t wear kimono on a regular basis, this is one of the few events where many people wear them and celebrate the start of a new year. 

          Torii (A traditional Japanese Gate)              Japanese Shrine

10 December, 2010

The movie “Norwegian Wood” and Tonomine Highlands

  Norwegian Wood, a best-selling book written by Haruki Murakami, was made into a movie. The film will be released on December 11 (Saturday) in Japan.  As filming locations for this highly anticipated film, Hyogo prefecture’s Mineyama and Tonomine Highlands in Kamikawa-cho were chosen..
Mineyama Highland                    Tonomine Highland