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.
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.
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 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.
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)
It’s that time of year again, when Japan explodes with vibrant pink cherry blossom for 2 short weeks while the whole country takes a well-earned time to slow down. The weather has been a little warmer than usual this year, so cherry blossoms are expected to start blooming towards the end of March and into early April for most of the country.
The atmosphere at this time of year is infectious, with parks packed to the seams with groups of people enjoying barbeques, bento boxes and group activities amongst the beautiful backdrop of slowly falling pink petals.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Japan during this season, make sure to get yourself to a hanami party in a nearby park during your time. Even during weekdays you’ll find many young and old folk enjoying the view together.
Some of the best places to view the blossoms are Ueno Park in Tokyo (above), Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto or pretty much anywhere near Nara. Although don’t let that put you off, you can see sights of incredible beauty almost anywhere in Japan at this time of year.
Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. The event takes place on February 3rd every year. According to the Japanese lunar calendar, this is the last day before spring starts (although it’s still very cold in most parts!). On this day, it is said that the spirit world is the closest to the real world, and as such strange events and “demons” may appear.
To ward against such evil, families throw soy beans at one family member who wears a demon mask to scare them away. People also eat their age in soy beans plus one for good luck, and eat a long uncut maki sushi rolls wrapped in seaweed while facing a certain direction. While throwing the beans, people will say “oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!” – “demon out, happiness in!”
Happy Setsubun from Japan!
All of you from the Northern Hemisphere are more than aware that winter is here right now! S why not celebrate?
The most northern island of Japan (Hokkaido) is covered with snow for longer periods of time during winter and its main city of Sapporo hosts annual snow festival: the world’s greatest winter wonderland.
This year the festival will be held from Thursday, 31st January (today!) to Monday, 11th February and boasts wonderful ice and snow sculptures from artists from around the world.
More than 2 million people flock north to attend the festival every year and possibly catch some skiing or snowboarding nearby in what is considered one of the best places in the world for the sports.
Hokkaido is a A truly amazing experience!
Boxes were sent out yesterday and here’s this months’ exclusive snack write-up for those of you receiving your boxes in the next few weeks!
As usual, use the password from the included newsletter to access a whole bunch of interesting information regarding the included snacks at the link below.
Read on and enjoy!
Malc & Rich