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Do you make an effort to join in or observe New Year traditions and activities in Japan?

8 Comments

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Sure do.

Wouldn't be living here if that kind of thing didn't interest me :-)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, we do. It is pretty hard, but we do all- the big cleaning,decorations, o-sechi, tai, special sake. We go to first temple visit , draw mikuji, eat o-zoni. I think it is important to try to follow and respect host country’s traditions in order to understand their culture and values.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I make a point to avoid it

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Not really. By the time New Year comes around the fridge is still full of Christmas leftovers and the stomach is too overworked to manage all the heavily-flavoured o-sechi stuff. Apart from a bowl of o-zoni on gantan and a bit of kuru kinton cos I like it, and the bowl of rice gruel with 7 herbs on the 7th January, we don't do the food thing at all.

We do send out nengajo, because we like to receive them and it's nice to keep in touch with old acquaintances, but I don't think I have ever had them in the post in time for delivery on the 1st - again, Christmas gets in the way and has priority.

When the kids were little we used to do the walk-to-the-local-temple-at-midnight thing with the in-laws, until I figured out it was being in the middle of the teeming sneezing and sniffling hordes in the freezing cold that laid me low with a chest infection every New Year's. Now we stay warm at home with a glass of Scotch and welcome in Hogmanay instead.

Happy New Year, everyone!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course. Often, my close Japanese friends invite me to their families home town to stay with their family. I am treated as one of the family.

The only thing I don't do with them is go to the shrine, as I am not a Buddhist, but nobody ever minds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only thing I don't do with them is go to the shrine, as I am not a Buddhist, but nobody ever minds.

Shrines tend to be Shinto, though, afaik? I don't think anyone minds if you're not a practitioner of the religion, be it Buddhist or Shinto.

As an atheist, I'm still fascinated by religions, and there's something quite refreshing visiting the shrine at New Year. Out with the old, in with the new kind of thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I generally join in with all the new years traditions with my family. We usually make a midnight trip to the local shrine just up the street, then we go to the local 浅間神社 (せんげんじんじゃ - sengenjinja) within the first few days of the year for 初詣 (はつもうで hatsumoude). We also eat 年越しそば (としこしそば toshikoshisoba) after midnight, and then have family feasts with the relatives on the first and second. One thing I find interesting is that my Mother-in-law brings out fresh chopsticks every year on the 31st, and we write our names on them, and that's what we use for the three days when we have our meals.

I like NYE in Japan. It's a really nice family time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Much to agree with in the above posts. Sort of hit and miss here. My wife makes an effort to cook and prepare osechi-ryori in cold stacking Ju-bako, but I find myself wanting other (hot) foods pretty quickly! She also pulls down the Christmas bits pretty damn quick and replaces them with traditional Japanese New Year decorations.

Naturally I try to stop and bow and wish people a happy new year in either language.

Recently I have made a point of climbing the 260 steps to the local shrine on New Year's Day to throw my coin and do the requisite numbers of rings, claps and bows (wishing an internal warm fuzz to all around. Perhaps I should be more greedy and ask for a lottery hit once in a while, though.) The village headman and shrine supporters seem to appreciate this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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