Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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New Year's Eve!
Just a note to say this will be my last post of 2005.

I will return on the 2nd, and will have the Emperor's Cup Final (Urawa Reds vs Shimizu S-Pulse) report. As well as anything else that comes up.

One of my favorite aspects of the Japanese New Year is the ringing of the temple bell, called Joya no Kane. The ringing is started at midnight. Ringing the bell at a temple on New Year's Eve is a Buddhist tradition. Bells are rung 108 times in that according to Buddhism it is said that man has 108 troublesome desires, and by hearing the bells toll 108 times people can cleanse themselves of such desires at the end of the year. Instead of screaming and making loud noise, the typical Japanese New Year's is more hushed and characterized by the deep bong bong bong of the temple bell as it is slowly rung.

>>Click to hear what the bell sounds like

Of course, being the "Land of the Rising Sun", getting a glimpse of the First Dawn is also a beautiful way to start the year.

If you are a kid, you also luck out by receiving little decorated envelopes of cash called otoshidama. Depending on how old you are, and how generous the people giving the envelopes to you are, the amount is up to the giver (the best givers are of course grandparents)... and can vary greatly. As a child it was quite the thing to look forward to and a great motivator of visiting older relatives. Of course, now as an adult I am in the position of having to give them out!

This e-greeting card (has sound) shows an illustration of what traditional Japanese New Year's food looks like. Customarily, you cook everything ahead of time and place them in numerous lacquered boxes, and have the food available throughout New Year's day. This way whoever is in charge of cooking in the household doesn't have to run around on NY's but can sit and chat with people who drop by to visit and convey their NY's greetings. You also have to eat sticky rice, noodles, etc... there is no stop to the eating. (Heaven!)


Happy New Year!!

See you in 2006...


P.S. Year of the Dog.
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