Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Year in Japan


Once again it`s that time of year in Japan.  It always seems to get noticeably colder and the sun sets dimmer, leaving a sense of quiet sadness.

It is no wonder this time of year is a time where most Japanese return home to be with their families, extended families, and other relatives from their hometowns.

Oshougatsu, as it is called in Japanese, is equivalent to Christmas time in the U.S. or in other Western nations.  While the holiday has religious roots, most people celebrate it as a time to be with family and forget the bad, say goodbye to the past, and welcome the new year with family.

Like Christmas, Japanese children and young adults receive gifts for the New Years` Celebration.  However, Otoshidama, as it is called, is strictly money!  So no complaining about unwanted gifts, children get money from parents, grandparents, and other relatives.  Some children can receive $$$ hundreds of dollars and then go buy whatever they want.  Though somewhat extravagant for some families, it is quite practical seeing that the "New Year" will require clothes, school supplies, and other necessities.   However, Oshougatsu is void of the mystical excitement that revolves Christmas for children. 

I guess that is what makes Christmas so popular in Japan these days! Oh and don`t forget KFC, SEE MY OTHER POST on CHRISTMAS

So as I get ready to witness another new year begin in Japan, I am reminded that no matter the country, spending time with family warms the heart in the cold of winter.  It gets our minds thinking about the days to come, what we want to accomplish and what we want to change.  It gets us thinking about the needs of the future, and about the potential on the road that lies ahead. 

May your mind be clear and may the path you walk be made straight this coming year.

Blessings from Japan,
Happy New Year!
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