January 30, 2012

Tatiana's New year report


New Years in Japan is different from New Years at home. In Japan it is a holiday when families get together to celebrate, while in France most families do that in Christmas, and prefer to spend the New Year’s eve with their friends.

Since I don’t have my own family or a host family in Japan, I met some friends from France and we had a small party at their house. At midnight, we went to Meiji Jingu Shrine for hatsumode, the first visit of the year. France is not a Buddhist or Shinto country, so no-one does that at home.


We were at the shrine early but we still had to wait one hour in the cold weather to finally accede to the main part of the shrine where people can make their prayers. The waiting line was neatly organized, in a very Japanese fashion, with policemen holding signs that said “Walk” and “Stop” to control the crowd and avoid having everyone rushing to the front gates. Afterwards, we went to buy some omikuji; fortunes for the year. I got a “very lucky” one, so I hope I will have a very good year! 

On the next day, the 1st of January, I received some New Years cards. These are also something we don’t have back at home, but we send Christmas cards, which are basically the same except we send them a week earlier.

January 30, 2012

Pop's first Japanese winter holiday!


My New Year’s holiday in Japan was wonderful! I went to various places in Kansai and Kanto. In the beginning of the holiday I went to Ninomiya station with Tatiana, just to find some country side but then I found that it is also on the coast. Then I went to Kamakura to see the Daibutsu (Big Buddha), which was so beautiful and big. I also found that Kamakura is on the coast too.

In the middle of my holiday, around December 28th, I went snowboarding in Niigata. That was my first time ever because there’s no snow in Thailand so I couldn’t try it before. I found that it is harder than I expected. I fell down many times! It hurt but was still fun.The next day I was in so much pain that I slept all day!

20120125popskiing.jpg    20120125popskiingfall.jpg

On the New Year’s Eve, my host mother had to work so there was no party at my home. That was quite sad. I always have New Year party at my home in Thailand. But everything got better after I watched The NHK Uta Gassen because I had wanted to watch it for a long time!

From January 4th – 7th, I went to Kyoto to meet my friend and sleep over. We went to many places in Kansai. At first day we stayed in Kyoto, the second in Osaka, the third in Nara, the fourth day in Kyoto again and then I went back to Tokyo. The Kansai trip was fun, there are a lot of places to visit in Kansai area, and it’s great! I love Kansai! The next day I went to Tochigi to see the strawberry orchard, it was cool! I love everywhere in Japan. I am happy that I spent my holiday in so many places of Japan. This was the best holiday ever!

January 30, 2012

Nick's New Year experience


My Japanese New Years was very different compared to a Danish New Year’s Eve, since in Japan New Year’s Eve is considered as the main event of the holiday.

This holiday I was together with my host family and two of their friends, when the friends arrived at our house we started the preparation of our dinner, Sukiyaki and homemade Onigiri. After dinner we talked and played Wii. Just before midnight we went to some friends living nearby so we could “jump” into the New Year together. Afterwe all said “Happy New Year” and drank all of our champagne we went to the local shrine、to pray for a good year. However my uncle must be careful because the shrine’s fortune telling told him that he is going to have a bad year again!


The Japanese New Year is very different to the Danish because in Denmark usually young people celebrate New Year’s together with their friends at a party instead of sitting together with their family, but the reason of this is that in Denmark Christmas is the day where you are together with your family and New Years you are together with friends, and this is other way around in Japan where Christmas eve is considered as a Date night and New Years is the day you spent together with your family.

January 30, 2012

Jessica's Japanese Christmas


The holidays here in Japan are definitely different from in Australia.

One of the main differences is that Australia has a Christian culture, and they believe that Christmas is more important that New Years, compared to Japan which believes that New Years is more important than Christmas.

Another difference was the seasons, from December to February it is summer in Australia and we usually enjoy the Christmas season by singing Christmas carols, going to church, exchanging presents with loved ones and gathering together to have lunch with our families, which includes having barbeques. Occasionally there is the danger of bush fires, since most people live so close to nature reserves, but I’ve been lucky enough to avoid them.


Even the Christmas cake is different from Japan. Our Christmas cake is a very dark coloured cake, which is full of alcohol and dried fruit. I was very surprised when I saw Christmas in Japan, after seeing all the decorations hung up I first thought that everyone here celebrated it, but I was wrong. In Japan Christmas is treated as a romantic date night, instead of a time to spend with their families. My friends told me that they went to Tokyo tower to see the illuminations, which they expected to be in red and green, the traditional colours of Christmas. Instead they saw pink hearts on the tower, which made them think of Valentine’s Day.

When I think about it, the holidays are reversed from what they are back at home. Compared to in Australia, where Christmas is a family holiday and New Years being a time to hang out with friends, Japan is the opposite, where they go out with friends on Christmas and spend time with their families on New Years.


At midnight this year, my home stay family took me to some nearby shrines, where we clapped our hands and rang the bell at the front. The first shrine only had a few people, but at the second shrine we had to wait in line for almost an hour! Some other Japanese New Year customs are that people eat very fancy Japanese styled breakfasts, such as mochi (a squishy type of food made out of rice) and fish. They also send out special postcards that arrive exactly on New Year’s Day.


It was very interesting being able to see the differences and similarities in our cultures.

January 30, 2012

How was New Year for you, Gabu?

I celebrated New Years in Tochigi prefecture with my host family. I made mochi (rice cakes) and had a great time. The New Year in Japan is a lot different from Sweden because it’s more important; in Sweden we just go outside at midnight and look at fireworks and then go back inside again. But in Japan there is more traditional things to do as for mochi making and a lot of food to eat. It is also more religious than in Sweden when you go to the temple and pray and so on.


I prefer the Japanese New Years over the Swedish one because you actually do something instead for sitting and playing on the computer with your friends all night ,which I do still enjoy but not as much as this!



about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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