Shichi-go-san and the Japanese Crane

Does anyone remember ‘Mameshiba’?

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Their cute catchphrase was ‘ねぇ知っている?’ (ne shittiru?)  or ‘hey, did you know?’….
Maybe you don’t know the link between shichi-go-san,

  • Chitose Ame (千歳飴), literally “thousand year candy”, is given to children on Shichi-Go-San.
  • Chitose Ame is long, thin, red and white candy, which symbolizes healthy growth and longevity.
  • It is given in a bag decorated with a crane and a turtle, which represent long life in Japan.

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  • The Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago.
  • In origami, it is said that a thousand folded paper cranes, one for each year of its life, makes a wish come true.
  • The Japanese Crane, which stands almost five feet tall, with a wing span of more than six feet is possibly the most majestic of all cranes.
  • November 15th is considered the luckiest day of the year, not only according to the traditional Japanese calendar, but also according to yin and yang.

Shichi-go-san – November 15th

Shichigosan, literally “7-5-3”, is a rite of passage in Japan for children. It’s celebrated in November at different ages for boys and girls: Boys – 3 & 5 years of age, Girls – 3 & 7 years of age.

Three common explanations are given for why these ages are celebrated. The first is that these numbers are simply considered lucky years according to Japanese numerology.

The second is that these were traditionally the ages that children were given a kimono. Kimono are expensive and buying one for a child was considered a milestone on the road to adulthood.

The third explanation is that children were once expected to have their heads shaven until the age of three. Shichigosan was a day to celebrate the day a child could begin to grow their hair.

In modern times, most parents in Japan consider Shichigosan a generally auspicious day for children. It’s a day to wish for their health and happiness. Children are given good luck charms and a special type of candy that symbolizes health, growth and longevity. It’s also common for families to have their photo taken at a photo studio around this time.

Happy Pocky Day 2019!

Happy Pocky Day everyone!

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What is Pocky Day?

Pocky & Pretz Day (ポッキー&プリッツの日) is a Japanese marketing event that occurs on November 11th each year.

The Glico products Pocky and Pretz, which are both long, thin biscuits, are used to represent the repeated number 1 in the numerical date (i.e. the 11th day of the 11th month).

Glico has deployed an advertising campaign surrounding the date each year since 1999 and have even set multiple world records in the process.

It’s that time of the year again! Has it already been one year?

Happy Sardines Day everyone!

Is celebrating Sardines really made into a special day in Japan? Well, not quite. It is not a massively important day, but it is a relatively new and fun reason to eat Sardines. We love them!

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The lads.

For those who don’t speak Japanese, it is quite an interesting language which offers itself up for a lot of wordplay. This may be due to the limited sounds and multiple words with the same meaning, we’re not quite sure but it’s fun anyway.

Sardines Day is celebrated on October 4th because in Japanese 1 is i(chi)0 is waand 4 is shi. Sardines are called iwashi in Japanese, so a new celebration was born!

O-Bon (お盆) – Festival of the Dead

O-Bon 2019 is currently underway after starting this morning. It officially starts today (August, 13th) and will run until the 15th.

This is a very traditional festival that is usually held in August. It is observed nationwide and a very important time of the year in Japan.

Buddhist tradition dictates this is the day the dead return to earth to visit their relatives.

Lanterns are hung outside homes and offerings to the spirits are made. In the evening, people float the lanterns on the river to help guide the deceased back to their resting place.

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Common practice also sees Japanese families visit graveyards across the country to visit family graves. This serves two purposes – firstly to honour their ancestors and secondly to also do some cleaning around the graves which is important for the living members of each family.

Welcome to Winnie the Pooh’s favourite Day!

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Happy Honey Day everyone!

Honey Day is celebrated in Japan on August 3rd every year. Although it is not a big nor famous event, some people do partake, even if it is just putting honey on their toast in the morning!

In the Japanese language (8 is hachi, 3 is mitsu, and hachimitsu means “honey”), so obviously an event had to be created!

Why don’t you celebrate by devouring a spoonful of honey!?

Happy International Sushi Day!

Happy Sushi Day everyone!

June, 18th 2019 marks the day that this great dish is celebrated around the world! Why not go out and grab some from your local supermarket or try to make your own – it is not actually that difficult – Trust us!

Fun Fact (we also didn’t know) – Apparently, the first sushi wasn’t invented by the Japanese as everyone believes, it actually originated in Southeast Asia.

Locals developed the a type of sushi, which consisted of fish wrapped in souring, fermenting rice. The dish then spread northwards to southern China before heading across the East China Sea  before reaching its final destination of Japan.

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Vocabulary to remember:

Sushi (寿司 – Sushi)
Fish (魚 – Sakana)
Japan (日本 – Nihon)
Southeast Asia (東南アジア -Tounan Ajia)
China (中国 – Chuugoku)
East China Sea (東シナ海 – Higashi Shinakai)